Geofencing and Beacons Beckon ... Wake up!

Mobile Beacons are the test-grounds for proximity marketing and the Internet of Things (IoT). 

These cheap little things "wake up" the right section of a mobile App that matches exactly where your audience is. 

Think about the value of instantly getting info on your phone about the product or service in front of you... without needing to search, tap, hunt... then being able to easily take action, opt-in, share, purchase!

It's all about the App... and how you manage content to and from them ...So, it's really all about Proximity Management. Of the many ways to engage all the truly amazing features of smartphones, Apps with GPS/Geofencing and Beacons are the best (however, we can discuss situations where WiFi, NFC, and RFID make sense). 

See a map of where the Beacons are across the US

From the Mobile Marketing Association, watch a presentation on the state of Indoor Locationing, a Year After the Beacon Buzz --

Remember ... when a customer goes to your site thru a browser on their phone, they are NOT able to easily get the cool smartphone stuff like: easy access with branded icons, instant customer service, faster info display (even when there is no wireless access), single loyalty program HQ, m-payments, camera, and of course what this article is about... active triggers like Beacons that initiate the choice to ignore or learn more about what's available right then and there 

Ask us about a demo for ideas, vendors, and lessons from our many "proximity" deployments that can help you easily use mobile to service your customers AND employees.

Here is our updated overview of Mobile Beacons:

Beacons are the answer to customer service at the right time and place while building individual customer knowledge and (only when appropriate!) increasing sales.

The goal is to use Beacon "touchpoints" of data to build a REAL profile of your customers and automatically deliver relevant value at their points-of decision.

Watch a short video from one of our vendors...

Here's the secret... with the right hardware/software platform (more here), you can deploy a mobile marcom infrastructure stack out of your laptop. Cheap. Easy. Powerful.

A simply great use is by Walgreens - Customers were forgetting that they had been saving coupons. Beacons at the front door just automatically opens their App ... Easy value! 

Beacons are the next land grab (literally) for the Internet of Things.

A Beacon can go anywhere. They do not need power because batteries last for years. They do not need internet connection since they merely transmit a signal that anonymously (!!) opens a mobile app that corresponds to that specific Beacon location. 

Each Beacon is only about $25 ... think "free" with the right partner. Imagine the many opportunities to manage employees and satisfy more partners and customers.

So... with a little box and some optional data integration, you can:
  1.  Automatically open the right section of a mobile App and engage
  2.  Provide real value with the right content at the right time and location
  3.  Help users find info so they do not need to hunt, click, and swipe for it
  4.  Deliver only relevant experiences by acknowledging user preferences
What Should You Do With Beacons?

Coupons, offers, and delivering deeper product info are all smart. But also consider the ease of facility management (what should happen where and when). Allocate Beacons for "passive data" not to interact, but only to count customers in key locations.. alert your sales associates about a customer service opportunity right now in the store!

Read how the Magic Kingdom VERY successfully tracks and loves you!
See a 1 minute overview of their RFID proximity service:

To quote GigaOm (RIP), "the best prospects for beacons in the near term may lie in venues such as amusement parks, museums, sports arenas, hotels,and mass-transit hubs. Venue operators can easily use beacons to deliver information users actually want in those kinds of scenarios, and that could pave the way for uptake of beacon-based (advertising and promotion) campaigns in retail settings."

See the Proxbook Report on Proximity Service Provider Networks HERE

Some related buzzwords: 
VIP 3.0, Micro Geo Fence, Context for communication, Proximity Profiles, Predictive Customer Service, Wiser Wayfinding, a solution to Showrooming ... Digital Delivery for Analog Aspirations!

The market opportunity for retailers is huge - now:

(No B.S.) Details:

-  Yes, you need an App to be triggered ... there is one near you (or in your near future).
-  Yes, Bluetooth must be turned on ... but if the App is valuable, users will want to turn on this surprisingly low-battery-consumption feature
-  QR codes and NFC are good - but require user to get up and touch or scan.
-  GPS and Wifi are not better. Neither can pinpont your exact location and both require much more battery power and cannot trigger your phone to take action (you must be actively viewing and swiping). 

Most U.S. smartphones are currently enabled to connect to beacons using Bluetooth BLE 
(Android 4.3 and iPhone 4S or later). As people upgrade their phones, this is expected to grow to 80% over the next 18 months 

Eddystone is Google/Android proximity platform... like Apple's iBeacon but adds:
- ability to push URL
- Beacon captures more data about it's location - telemetry, environment temp, etc.
- AND no need for App!... the phone can accept data and interact with existing Apps (lots of opportunity AND trouble ahead here)

Here is Apple's iBeacon page
See info on Google's Eddystone tech
Having Beacons are not even necessary - ByteLight uses LED lighting!

Market Details and the Challenge:

Click to enlarge this screen shot of a helpful  "Beacosystem" presentation HERE:

Get the full range of opinions from videos of the sessions at Mediapost's first IOT:Beacon conference and their second conference... to learn about real world deployments by vendors, agencies, retailers, and the Brooklyn Museum. Here is the good intro overview panel. Another recent online event with more video sessions is BeaconConf (find speaker presos here). For an updated directory of Proximity Service Providers, see here.

Growth is already happening:

(Thanks for the images Creative Commons Nitro, BII) 

The Challenge... 

Abuse of this marketing and communication channel is as likely as you see in all media.... only worse since the mobile phone is such a personal and important part of our lives. We must respect this small screen in our palms AND build listening into our deployments. We must offer valuable content so consumers opt-in, continue to engage, buy stuff, and share with their friends. 

Digital data feeds are the key. The more relevant the better. Can you deliver live, dynamic info related to a specific location? However, you can easily setup relevant content in advance that matches what you want to offer a customer in a specific location... and on their CUSTOM TOUR (I am yelling because this individualized service is what Beacons are best at).

Security and privacy are on the top of our list. We harness military-grade encryption and make sure that spoofers don't hijack anyone.


If you use the right Campaign Management System, the right data is easy to deliver to the right person at the right place. FYI, we have tested and chosen the best CMS... you are actually looking for a PSP - Proximity System Platform - learn more about these at my other post HERE.

Share this post at: