Built with Estimote: inbeacons Launches Content Management System


inbeacons wants to give brands, retailers, tourist hot spots and other venues an easy way to deliver content based on Estimote beacons.

While the company might just be headed for direct competition with Estimote itself, I was curious to learn more about their approach and recently interviewed Stefano Martino to find out what he’s learned and the success his company has had in building services around the popular turtle-shaped beacon.

What’s clear is that there’s a demand. As we’ve written elsewhere, a beacon is just a piece of hardware attached to your wall if your user doesn’t have an app, and an app is usually a lot more useful if there’s a way to deliver and update content.

Which End of the Stack?

This is the challenge of the ‘stack’ – and I’ve proposed that we’ll see the world of iBeacons evolve in two ways:

  • Developers will build services and content management systems around the hardware. In the next week or so we expect to see Estimote launch some kind of web-based dashboard where retailers or developers can both manage their fleet of beacons but also the content that gets delivered because of them.
  • Existing services will append iBeacon to their existing platforms. A great example of this would be to imagine Square, the makers of the popular tablet cash register and credit card readers, adding iBeacon devices as part of its retail service package.

inbeacons is working from the ‘bottom of the stack’, seeing an immediate need to make it easy to publish content to apps that are connected to Estimote beacons.

The Estimote Industry

More than anything, inbeacons represents the cottage industry which has exploded around Estimote. The beacon makers claim 10,000 developer kits have been distributed.

With as many use cases as there are physical locations we can expect to see a rapid growth in apps and services built both around their Bluetooth LE beacons and other providers.

What interested me most about inbeacons was the philosophy and approach they were taking, the expected business model, and what they’ve learned in the Italian and global markets. To that end, Stefano Martino spent some time answering questions about their business:

Why did you decide to build a CMS around Estimote in particular?

Following the launch of iOS 7 and iBeacon functionality we were excited about the possibilities in the technology. In order to test and create the new ideas we had in mind we immediately started looking for beacons and while we developed hardware prototypes we also signed up for the Estimote developer program.

Estimote became such an immediate and popular hardware choice that I think most developers working with BLE devices has an Estimote kit. As we created our first apps we understood pretty soon that a CMS would be needed to easily manage files such as videos, images text and others formats. Moreover, we felt the need to have a kind of dashboard that allows you to “configure” what an application will do without needing to code all the time.

This is what we have done and this is what our first closed beta user group likes about our system: using inbeacons is like configuring your app’s behavior from a web dashboard and having the chance to decide what to do when your device is near a beacon.

Can you give examples of the types of stores that you think will use your system? 

Even though the use of iBeacon in retail is an interesting and obvious idea we are not solely focused on this direction.

Beacons in general can be used in several ways: for indoor location, payment, coupons, advertising, games, tours and much more. We are fascinated by the idea of interacting with physical objects in the real world and connecting them with people in the most natural way.

At the moment our platform is very flexible because it allows you to match beacons and content. Whatever content you have and no matter how many beacons you have you can easily configure “what has to be shown and where” through our system. Since we are focusing on a Content Management System and not on hardware we can leave it to our customers and users to imagine and experiment how use their beacons. Our commitment is to create the most flexible solution that makes these experiments possible.

So, you’re a CMS…and work only with Estimote? I think that’s a really interesting approach. Will you expand to other beacons in the future?

We have started the new year introducing inbeacons as a cloud CMS for Estimote. There are several players in the market offering hardware and software with different capabilities but everything sounds to us like a fixed package. You get this hardware and this software.

We do believe both beacons and IoT have big potential and they will grow in the next future. New players will come and new hardware will follow; wearable devices and new ideas will arrive and you’ll need flexibility in the kind of solution you may want to use.

The Road Map of Services

inbeacons represents one of the players in a cottage industry of iBeacon hardware, software and services. It will be a crowded field. But when the entire world is the new interface there’s lots of room for innovation, niche players and radical thinking about where connected experiences will take us.

Stefano’s insights into their approach were a reminder that at the birth of a new industry there’s a lot of room for businesses built on passion and discovery – a good sign for the still-nascent iBeacon industry.

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8 Responses to “Built with Estimote: inbeacons Launches Content Management System”

  1. Karan Singh

    Thanks its a awesome piece of information .Is this specific to estimote OR we can use any other BLE beacons from any manufacturers.

  2. Hi Karan,
    we have designed inbeacons to be hardware free – you can use the beacon you like the most.
    It is only required that your beacon is designed to use the uuid, major and minor values.

    Best regards,
    Stefano Martino

  3. Hello, tks for all the information you’re gathering on your blog. It’s really helpful. But, for the moment there’s a point that I don’t understand. Where’s the content ? In the app ? Or on a server in the stores and the Beacon transmit a request to the server that have to send the content to the phone ?
    For exemple : a coupon for a special event. It can’t be in the app so… That’s the point that really block my rumination.

    • Hi Valentin,
      consider the beacon as a box able to advertise its bluetooth signal; it doesn’t surf on internet.
      With iBeacon, Apple made easier interact with these boxes (beacons) in order to capture their signal and calculate the distance beetween you and the beacon.
      The calculation is done based on the signal power detected by the phone.

      Now, imagine to have an app on your phone that uses iBeacon and captures the signal of a beacon…you know you are near by the beacon, so, what to do next?
      Reading something like “….dude, there is a beacon in front of you!” is probably not so useful. The interesting thing is show something useful; content with value.
      Beacons don’t store big data inside and they are not on internet so you can proceed in two ways:
      1) you store a set of images/text in your app and you use them everytime someone is near by your beacons – add new content means open your code every time.
      2) you decide what has to be shown/done in your app outside the app, so, whatever you want to show is trasparent for your app and you don’t have to change your code every time.

      We have created inbeacons to save time. Our users can write easier apps (less code) and use a simple web interface to confgure their app’s behaviour.
      Moreover, our system has some interesting features can trigger different actions at the same time.
      I hope it helps.

  4. Yes – it can be a bit confusing! Check the “how to build an app” page and it gets into this in a bit more detail.


    But in most cases it works like this:

    – A beacon sends a signal
    – Your phone receives the signal
    – Your app is programmed to “do” something
    – The thing it does is USUALLY to pull content from a server (the ‘cloud’) and present it to the user

    So, for example, the logic works something like this on your phone:

    > Find beacon
    > If beacon found determine region
    > if region = “near” go to server and get content that matches the “near” flag

    I hope that helps! It’s the PHONE not the beacon that makes the request to the server.

  5. How does the use of a passbook differ from a real app? I have customers with very limited budgets and can’t afford to have a app built. I know passbook/ewallets can provide use a beacon but not sure to what level.? (BTW: Love Beekn.net!)

    • Hi Monte,
      I’m not sure how passbook can provide you a beacon. From our side we will release a demo app in the next future so our users can play/test the platform with no development effort. Maybe this can help you.

  6. Hi, thanks for posting all this usefull information. I’m trying to learn more about what a passbook can do, when in the range of a beacon and wnated to know if a passbook, not an app, when in the range of a beacon can open a url on the users phone? ie direct a user to a webpage with addtional information about my shop for example?


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