Beacons Light the Way for Connecting Digital Experiences in the Physical World

31st July 2015

This month has been really interesting with some tangible advances in the use of mobile proximity technologies. I used Apple Pay for the first time, tapping a contactless payment terminal to pay for a coffee with my iPhone, using my American Express card. I can now also use my iPhone to tap in and out of the London underground. Then, Google quietly provided long awaited information about its response to Apple’s iBeacon, in the form of Eddystone.

The iBeacon was an exciting step forward for proximity marketing when it was launched late in 2013. It allowed us to engage with consumers ‘in the moment’, delivering an experience relevant to the users’ physical context without requiring any direct user action. Until then we recognised the potential of Near Field Communication (NFC) smart posters, but were frustrated by the absence of Apple’s capability to access these interaction points.

The potential of Beacons to connect mobile users with their physical environment across both iOS and Android is clear to see. Trials over the past 9 months with Proxama’s own consumer application, Loka, amongst others, have confirmed that notifications delivered in the moment using Beacon triggers outperform traditional push marketing strategies by a significant margin.

At Proxama we have had great success with Beacon technology across a range of locations including buses, retail stores, museums, stadiums and shopping malls. The potential of context sensitive digital engagement is clearly huge and our partners in the Out of Home (OOH) industry recognise this, enabling us to offer digital engagement on a bus, at the airport, in a taxi or even outside a red telephone box on the high street. This is perfect for brands with a mobile application wishing to engage their user base in moments of high dwell, but until Google’s news didn’t address the opportunity to engage where an app isn’t installed.

Google’s announcement extends the potential of Beacon enabled locations to engage with consumers even when a sponsoring mobile app is not present. By effectively giving the Beacon a URL and by association its physical location, Google is also making a very clear step towards establishing a connected world of not just devices, but now physical locations that are addressable on the web.

Beacons have grown up, very quickly. As marketers we have the opportunity to extend a digital experience into the physical world, effectively and at scale.

Exciting times, and something that we at Proxama will continue to lead with our partners to achieve value for brands and meaningful experiences for consumers.

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Jon Worley, CEO of Proxama Marketing