Creating a Smart City with Mobile Proximity Marketing Technology

Case study


A smart city calls for innovative solutions to very real world problems, be it resourcing, staffing, logistics, communications and technology. Since 2014 Norwich has been emerging as a smart city, responding to a desire to re-imagine the high street and using communications and technology to combat issues such as falling footfall, failing loyalty and offering genuinely new and attractive shopping, service and leisure experiences.

Norwich has cemented its inclusion in the smart city category by deploying a functional mobile solution across retail, QSR, transport and tourist sectors. Bringing the city back to life and enriching the lives of both locals and tourists through proximity marketing technology: an iBeacon network using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Near Field Communication (NFC) and QR codes. This application allows a city and all its sectors to engage with its customers in a contextual, relevant and real time way, accommodating through proximity for those in both high dwell and low dwell environments.


In 2014 Loka was developed, supported by the Business Improvement District (BID) and under a 6 month grant from Grant Innovate (formally known as the Technology Strategy Board) to validate the need for these services – we facilitated Norwich with new ways to attract people back to the high street

Loka is a mobile application that enables the high street to utilise Bluetooth beacon technology by delivering promotions and information as they pass by their stores or via our bus and taxi network as people travel into the city. Using Bluetooth technology, the beacon and the app ‘talk’ to one another delivering contextually relevant, real-time promotions to the customer. Supporting this we ran an integrated campaign with NFC and QR codes on the bus network to prompt downloads in an environment where people would be dwelling for longer periods and to track marketing acquisition.

Socialising has been encouraged, prompting consumers to share the service via Facebook and Twitter – further enhancing Norwich’s’ smart city status within the communication and technology sphere.

The project utilises our TapPoint® platform for the creation and management of all promotional experiences. Using TapPoint ensured promotional content was optimised for all smartphone devices and provides high street merchants with detailed interaction analytics for all interactive content.

Push marketing techniques

  • iBeacons: to trigger promotional content information and offers to consumers engaging with the network.

Pull marketing techniques

  • Near Field Communication (NFC) and QR code enabled smart-posters to encourage visitors to download the app from participating locations and the transport network

Outcome to date

  • Over 5,000 app downloads
  • 70 merchants on board, including Tier 1 brands
  • 461,237 unique app interactions
  • 3,153,186 unique beacon interactions
  • 14% Average Click Through Rate from receipt of notification
  • 21% consistent ‘active’ engagement
  • An average of 2.15 activities per user
  • Twitter continues to be the most popular social sharing channel
  • The busiest time of engagement is midday


Merchant brands include: