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9 Examples of Proximity Awareness

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Proximity awareness is a class of technology that is aware of close by machines, people and infrastructure. This can make use of both sensors and networking technologies that initiate contact when in close proximity. This is often based on automated low-power local networking with limited range. The following are illustrative examples.


A worksite where machines are aware of people and other machines. This can be used to implement safety functions such as vehicles that refuse to hit people or each other.

Asset Tracking

Tracking assets with beacons. For example, an artwork that is tracked in a museum to alert security if someone moves it.


Automated functions that make things more usable such as a secured door that automatically opens when you approach with the key.


Pervasive games that allow users to interact within the game when their devices are in close proximity.


The ability to sync data or exchange information with nearby devices. For example, exchanging contact information with someone using your mobile devices.


Communicating marketing messages to nearby customers. Proximity awareness can also be used to create apps that interact with environments such as a product showroom. For example, a retail app that highlights everything that is your size in a shop.


High speed transportation management functions such as passengers who are automatically charged as the enter or leave a train or station. This can be based on communication with either a smart card or a mobile device.


Swarm robots that communicate with each other when in close proximity to coordinate work.


Infrastructure management functions such as a drawbridge that communicates to nearby boats and cars.
Overview: Proximity Awareness
Machines that talk to nearby machines.
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