The uses of beacons are expanding considerably from their
early days not that long ago when many viewed them as a location device that could trigger an ad to a phone based on location.
Just within the last year, there have been numerous iterations of
beaconing, all of which I’ve written about here.
- Beacons have been used for CPG companies, such as in the launch of a new product by Tyson’s Hillshire Brands, using the
InMarket beaconing system with results tabulated and analyzed by BPN, part of the IPG Mediabrands global network. That was a clear success by multiple measures (Tyson will be presenting and discussing
its latest beaconing efforts at the MediaPost IoT: Beacons conference in Chicago on Tuesday).
- Hudson’s Bay and its Lord &
Taylor stores installed beacons on the Swirl beacon platform into all their stores in North America, following a successful trial in several stores. Each store ran multiple ad campaigns based on
shoppers entering certain departments or nearing specific brands.
- Beacons from Autograph were installed in about 100 stores on Regent Street in London while Iconeme in London installed them
in mannequins in store windows so mobile shoppers could purchase what the mannequin is wearing even when the store was closed.
- Macy’s moved to install 4,000 beacons from Shopkick into
all its stores while ShopX decided to give away a million beacons for free to retailers to jump start its platform.
And that was just the beginning.
Now a Michigan startup is
tapping into beacons to solve a host of problems outside traditional spaces.
The proximity marketing company Gelo targets industrial and commercial markets rather than specific companies.
I caught up with Gelo co-founder Al Juarez this week to discuss some of their beacon implementations. He provided some examples:
- A trucking and transportation company’s
front-end loaders are equipped with tablets and the gravel hauling truck has a beacon so that when the truck is in the quarry, the tablet app finds the right truck to deliver the proper load.
- A public bus transportation company publishes a mobile app for its riders and those passengers are then alerted when their appropriate stop comes. They also tell the person if they are on the
right bus. On the other side, bus operators capture passive anonymous data to improve routes, thereby optimizing fuel consumption.
- A heavy machinery company is using the beacons to detect
when the operator is there and reminds them to upload data, such as machine hours and fuel consumption. Necessary maintenance information is then routed to national dealer networks.
retail, Juarez says the company looked to address the issue of customer counts rather than messaging to shoppers.
Combined with a video traffic-counting system that tracks the number of
shoppers who enter a retail location, a beacon was installed at the store entrance to automatically count employees, who carry keychain-sized beacons.
The employees then are eliminated from
the shoppers counted entering and leaving the store.
The Gelo beacons also are being used at the Grand Rapids Public Museum to automate and replace some of the paper-based processes.
The point is that beaconing is spreading out.
Beacons are being installed in airports, transportation centers, shopping malls and ticketing outlets and the organizations deploying those
beacons are learning quite a lot of lot about how their particular customer set responds.
They are seeing what does and doesn’t work.
One thing is becoming clear: while there may
be many thousands of live beacons in the marketplace, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to beaconing.
Check out the MediaPost IoT: Beacons
conference agenda for Chicago Feb. 10.