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Proximity - the new "thing" in retail

How the advent of BLE Beacons adds the final touch to contextual messaging in the retail sector.

Open Commerce

on 13 May 2014

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Transcript of Proximity - the new "thing" in retail

nearness in place, time, order, occurrence, or relation.
- Dictionary.com
What do we mean by "Proximity"?
Proximity is important in communicating the right message based on where that user is at that point in time.

Proximity based messages could include:

Welcome messages when you enter a venue
Offers relevant to your in-store location
Information about an exhibit at a museum
Why do we care about proximity?
BLE Beacons are newest location technology

BLE = Bluetooth Low Energy
AKA Bluetooth 4.0 and Bluetooth "Smart"

Apple announced "iBeacon" spec last summer
BLE Beacons appeared last fall
Apple released spec early 2014
Not all beacons are "iBeacons"
BLE Beacons
Currently, there are several technologies that can determine a user's proximity to a specific location.

The three most common ways of doing this currently are:

Self Announcement
BLE Beacons
How to determine proximity?
Proximity - the new "thing" in retail
Geofencing is based upon latitude and longitude.

The geopoint of a location
Radius around geopoint is the geofence
Crossing geofence boundary = proximity
Mobile devices monitor geofences in background, wake up apps and take action
Macro-location Proximity
5 meter accuracy at best

Self Announcement
With self-announcement, the user "checks in" to a location.

Scanning a QR Code
Location Services on the Device


People don't do it
It can be easily "spoofed"
Each beacon broadcasts a unique signal
UUID, Major, Minor, RSSI

Mobile devices "hear" signal and determine range.
Far - ~2M - ~70M
Near - ~20 CM - ~2M
Immediate - 0 CM - ~20 CM

How Beacons Work
In retail, we care about proximity, related to
where you are in the location
(the beer aisle, ladies accessories, the food court)
Like Geofences, mobile devices monitor for beacons in the background.

When signal heard, OS "wakes up" app (in iOS,
not Android
App determines range, takes an action.

Supported by:
iOS 7+
Android 4.3+
WinPho 8.1
How Beacons Work
First generation beacons are dumb.

Broadcast Only
BLE Only
No IP Support (WIFI, etc.)
No remote management
Low Frequency / Weak

This will change.
Beacons and IoT
Future beacons will be IoT "things":

Remotely managed
High Frequency / Stronger
Broadly Integrated

Beacons and IoT
The future of retail and advertising is about contextual messaging:

Where you are
Who you are
What you are doing
What you like and dislike

Proximity in the Contextual World
Retail Experience - Proximity and Context
In the beverage aisle, you get an offer for beer, your wife gets an offer for diet soda.

Entering the mall, your teenage daughter gets an offer from the music store.
Contextual Advertising Experience
Walking down the terminal at Bangalore's airport, digital signs show advertisements for English Language tours of Bangalore and Mysore and a "buy now" offer for the tour appears on my phone.
Contextual Hospitality Experience
Coming into your favorite coffee shop, you see a sign welcoming you by name, your favorite band plays on the sound system, and the barista asks if you want your usual half-caff latte.
Contextual Advertising Experience
Going down the road, the digital billboard shows a pretty woman holding a coke, because the people approaching in their cars are mostly men.
The Contextual World leverages IoT
Those mobile phones, digital signs, digital billboards, the barista's terminal at the coffee shop, even the beacons... those are all networked "things".

But something is missing...
Context Requires Intelligence
Proximity simply means that someone is somewhere.

Intelligence is needed to know who they are, what they like, and what message is relevant to them where they are.

Context Requires Orchestration
Should messages be sent to the phone or the digital signage near by or both?

When and how to communicate with the billboard CMS?

ThingZingo - A contextual hub for IoT
Provides Intelligence and

Understands Users
Understands Location
Understands Devices
Integrates Bus. Systems
Orchestrates Messages
ThingZingo - Understands Users
A 360 degree view of users based on:
Social Interests
Inferred Interests
Previous Purchases
ThingZingo - Understands Location
Supports multiple location based services:

BLE Beacons
Self Announcement
ThingZingo - Understands Devices
Multiple input/output devices

Mobile Phones
Digital Signage
Smart Kiosks
SmartGlass Showcases*
3rd Party Systems
ThingZingo - Integrates Business Systems
Can integrate with 3rd Party Systems such as:

Signage CMS
ThingZingo - Orchestrates Messages
Receives inbound device messages

Contextual routes messages to other devices / platforms (mobile devices, signage, environmental control systems, etc.)
ThingZingo - Demo
Grocery App with Proximity Based Offers
Thank You
Rich Schramm
CTO, Ascendum Retail Group

What's a SmartGlass Showcase?
We are hiring!
Local contact: Ajit.Talluri@ascendum.com
Range is determined by transmission power of the beacon.

Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) represents the signal strength measured at 1 M.

Based on this, a device can calculate its distance based on the signal strength it observes.
How Beacons Work
Beacons broadcast at 2.4 GHz.

Can be subject to interference from WIFI and other devices broadcasting at 2.4 GHz. such as cordless phones and even Microwave ovens.

Use 5.0 GHz. routers (dual band) when possible.
How Beacons Work
ThingZingo - Example Flow To Glass
ThingZingo - Example Flow Multi-Target
Full transcript