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Swrve, a mobile-first marketing automation platform, is now adding a new dimension to its app-targeted campaigns.


Using technology announced by Apple last summer, iBeacons are Bluetooth Low Energy-based transmitters in physical stores that direct location-based messaging to nearby iOS or Android mobile devices. Although Apple’s implementation is getting a lot of attention, the underlying technology is open source. Special offers, shopping reminders, digital articles relating to the event you’re attending, even ticketing — these are all possibilities for iBeacons.

Standard GPS-based location-aware services “is a gross location service [that], in order to get good granularity to deliver the signal, draws power,” Swrve CEO Christopher Dean told VentureBeat.

By contrast, he said, iBeacon technology “is a location service based on low power, [so that] when your phone gets within a meter or two [of the iBeacon], it lights up.”

This low-powered granularity represents a new frontier of micro-location targeting.

“You’re next to a 60-inch Samsung TV,” Dean envisioned, and “product info gets posted to you” on your smartphone.

Imagine “you’re in a casino,” he said, and a nearby iBeacon “wants to help you with navigation,” or you’re a smartphone-carrying McDonald’s worker, who, instead of punching in a time card, simply walks past a iBeacon. Because they’re communicating with your apps, iBeacons can also provide coupons, information, or check-ins that have been tailored to your past behavior.

Swrve’s platform works with native apps that use its software development kit (SDK). Although the company does not yet have any SDK-enabled apps that a customer might use in a retail environment, its support of iBeacons points toward another major differentiator for mobile marketing campaigns.

Dean is bullish on iBeacons, saying they are more likely to reach a near-future of physical micro-targeting than, say, near field communication (NFC), which has spent a long time in the “coming soon” phase.

And the iBeacon could light the way to a new kind of mobile-infused retailing.

Brick-and-mortars have been struggling to match offers found online, a battle that is now being accelerated with such mobile product-recognition/matching as Amazon Fire Phone’s Firefly tech.

But iBeacon-enhanced mobile campaigns can offer unique experiences that only happen at the intersection of you, your app, your history, and the specific spot where you’re standing in a particular Target store.

That’s an intersection you can’t find online.

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