An assortment of beacons from (starting upper left) Gimbal, Kontakt.io, Estimote, Radius Networks, GPShopper, Aruba
Consumers’ smartphones can be tracked by GPS coordinates and other techniques, but those are largely broad-brush. Beacons are devices that are designed to support very granular targeting, such as sending a coupon for red sneakers while you’re standing in front of the rack with red sneakers.
In this installment of MarTech Today’s MarTech Landscape Series, we explain what beacons are and how marketers can use them.
A standard beacon, as its name suggests, is essentially a lighthouse.
But, instead of a beam of light showing ships where the shoreline is, the small device — mounted on a retailer’s ceiling, wall or counter — broadcasts its location ID again and again to a supported app in nearby consumers’ phones. Standard beacons usually conform to Apple’s iBeacon specs, introduced in the summer of 2013 as the company’s implementation of the Bluetooth Low Energy standard.
About The Author
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.