I think this unit should have been designed with the ESP-WROOM 32D module instead of the ESP-WROOM 02.
The cost difference between the units is only about $1. and would have given that back in function.
Currently there is only the RN42 Bluetooth module that is out dated and lacks BLE. With the WROOM 32 that unit could have been replaced.
With the addition of Bluetooth we could connect to those speaker units and smart watches and used BLE for near communications.
While additional code would need to be developed to make that work I think there is a lot of potential here for no cost.
Even on the Badge WX instead of using IR we could have used BLE to send customer information or played music through a Bluetooth speaker.