Commentary

New Bluetooth Alliance Looks To Boost Indoor Location Targeting

Beaconing is getting a boost.

The small transmitters that can activate certain apps in smartphones have been installed by the thousands in many retail locations over the last few years.

But beacons are but one piece of Internet of Things puzzle, especially when installed in retail stores that may not have the best Wi-Fi signal or any other communication capabilities.

A new collaboration of suppliers now is attempting to resolve that by linking the capabilities of various companies together to provide a Wi-Fi and wireless store system to provide high accuracy indoor location services.

The promise of the new system is that brands and marketers will be able to more effectively reach consumers on-the-go with more targeted messages and services based on where they are.

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The Mist Bluetooth Low Energy Alliance comprises eight companies, each adding a different component to the end-to-end approach.

Any regular user of Wi-Fi in a large store or mall knows that service can be sketchy, at best. The idea here is that Mist, the company behind the alliance, would provide the basic wireless platform using high-grade Wi-Fi and BLE together and then other companies would add their particular service onto that platform.

Mist is backed by heavy-duty investors, including GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Cisco.

The technology allows the creation of virtual beacons in a store, so that a beacon signal can be sent to just about any location in that store.

Swirl, the Boston-based beacon marketing pioneer, is a member of the alliance.

“We are the marketing platform,” Rob Murphy, Swirl, vice president of marketing, told me. “This is all about the location signal.”

In addition to using battery-powered beacons in multiple locations, Swirl’s ad platform now can tap into the virtual beacons provided via the alliance.

The other companies in the alliance are Connexient, Entappia, Jibestream, Micello, Phunware, Rifiniti and RoamingAround.

The location platform also can track consumer visits, dwell time and various other location analytics.

Beaconing is growing up.

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