A OS for the Physical World (of retail)

A smartphone isn’t that smart. It can ping a server on the other side of the world to answer every question, but it has no clue what’s going on right next to it.

That will change, here’s what we need. A network of cheap, low-energy transmitters can create a new level of locational awareness, down to a few inches. Someone has to build these things. And starting with a developers kit of three plastic sensors ($99), that’s exactly the goal Estimote.

Estimote is the brainchild of Polish computer scientists Jakub Krzych and Łukasz Kostka Estimote is an attempt to build an operating system for the physical world as they say.  They focus on one specific micro-location’s potential: retail. The focus is based on their visual of real world interaction:

Future apps won’t be installed on smartphones. They will be installed on top of retail stores and other real world locations – like restaurants, bus stops, museums or parks.

Physical locations will interact seamlessly and communicate with people through convenient channels such as smartphones, in-store screens and future displays.

Schermafbeelding 2013-08-20 om 14.43.07

The rise of low-cost connected objects spark the pop up of these types of small business innovations in usually pretty dull domains, like retail. Location is the primer driver behind context-based interaction, so we can expect more products like Estimote.

And wether or not they make it big (YCombinator, Start Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, are among their investors), rethinking retail a long side other instore-analytics practices might bring shopping up to speed with online shopping from a analytics point of view.

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