Manufacturing and logistics giant PCH International alongside hardware incubator Highway1 have announced that Estimote, a tool for helping retail spaces interact with customers, has been chosen for Best Hardware Startup at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013.
“I was excited to see a company jump on Apple’s ibeacon technology so quickly to make a location service,” said Brady Forrest, VP of Highway1. “Estimotes are part of the new breed of hardware startups – one that uses hardware to build a unique data set & charge money for web services. We think that touring Shenzhen will help them expand their supply chain.”
Estimote is selling a small device called the Beacon. It allows customers to interact with a retail space using their smartphone and supports touchless payments and will push discounts and information to phones at the customer’s request.
The founder, Jakub Krzych, says the devices create an OS for the physical world. “The small beacons we produce broadcast venue-specific data to smartphones that are as far away as 160 feet (50 meters) and as close as 2 inches. They trigger different actions on consumer phones depending on their arrival time and distance from the product, and even precise behavior like trying on clothes or touching the product. The more beacons, the richer the experience, but even a few dozen will be enough to create great micro-location apps in the store,” he said.
The company will receive a five-day trip to Shenzhen, China where they will visit manufacturers, accelerators, and distributors.