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Mobile World Congress Liveblog

Intel Booth

Welcome to LISNR’s liveblog for MWC 2016!

Mobile World Congress runs Feb 22 through Feb 25, and we’ll be talking about the coolest announcements, tech, and presentations here every day.  Updates will come from Dori Gurwitz, LISNR’s VP of Business of Development, who is at the show in person.  Check back here starting on Feb 22 to get the inside scoop!

LISNR will be at the conference in Intel’s booth with a world exclusive hands-on experience.  This will be the first time developers have complete access to LISNR’s portal at a trade show, and there are no limits to what they’ll be able to create right there on the show floor!

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

LISNR Chosen as Finalist for SXSW Music & Audio Innovation Award

We have big news! Last week, SXSW named LISNR as a finalist for the SXSW Music & Audio Innovation Award.

The award honors innovation that changes and improves the way people enjoy music. LISNR was nominated specifically for our work with the Budweiser Made in America Music Festival. (Read more about the project or watch our short video below.)

The Made in America Festival app, powered by LISNR, provided real-time information, proximity-based marketing messages and context-driven promotional offers to fans despite the limited connectivity that is common at large festivals.

LISNR was launched at SXSW, and the music industry has always been part of our lifeblood. We’re thrilled to be a finalist for the award, and we have high hopes of taking it home come March.

The idea for LISNR was forged on StartupBus 2012, a pitch competition where entrepreneurs develop a business idea on the drive to SXSW and pitch it upon arrival. Since then, LISNR has grown exponentially, winning a Cannes Lion for Mobile Innovation, being named to the CNBC Disruptor 50, and raising $10 million in Series B funding led by Intel Capital. We’re proud to work with clients like AEG, Visa, and Budweiser.

LISNR is the world’s first and only data-over-audio solution. It creates high frequency, inaudible Smart Tones that can be played by any speaker and picked up by any microphone. This effectively turns any speaker — be it a stadium PA system or the TV in your living room — into a beacon that can trigger second-screen experiences on any device. Unlike Bluetooth, iBeacons, or NFC, LISNR is not dependent on hardware or connectivity, meaning that wherever sound can be played, connections can be made.

The awards ceremony will be held March 15. Other finalists for the award include DELQA, Pulse Solo, Trackd, and the Here Active Listening System. We’re excited to join them in Austin next month.

Stay in touch with the LISNR team by following us @LISNR.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

2015 Review and 2016 Momentum

2015 was a remarkable year for LISNR. This year was about focus, growth and establishing our place as the leader in data over audio and the internet of sound.  We’ve captured our incredible strides–from raising Series B funding to winning a Cannes Gold Lion–in the below video, and are proud to share it with you.

With an amazing 2015 behind us, we’re diving into 2016 with incredible momentum, and it all starts at CES.  If you’ll be there, we invite you to do any and all of the following!

After CES you’ll find us leading the thinking at SXSW and other major conferences, but what we’re MOST excited about in 2016 is the incredible pipeline of work that will start to go live in the market.  Some of it is already live, but most of it is yet to be unveiled to the public.  Keep your eye on this blog, as you can be sure we’ll be telling you more as soon as we can!

Thank you for all your support.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

Team Spotlight: The Penguins Use 2nd Screen To Enhance The Fan Experience

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There’s a dirty secret in sports: the number of empty seats is steadily increasing.  Rather than go to live sporting events, fans are compensating (cough) with giant entertainment systems in the comfort of their own home.  In fact—for the first time ever—PwC is projecting that media rights will surpass gate revenue as the industry’s largest segment.  Now more than ever, sporting venues need to go above and beyond to justify the additional cost and hassle of attending an event in person.

In light of these challenges, the Pittsburgh Penguins are upping their game with an unlikely tool: proximity-based beacons within the stadium.

Proximity-based marketing at sports venues is nothing new, but to date it’s functioned largely as a glorified coupon dispenser.  The most common uses have been offering seat upgrades to fans in the nosebleeds, or discounts on those 5000 calorie pretzels calling your name as you walk past concessions.  Those are both perfectly legitimate uses of proximity marketing, and should absolutely continue, but the real power that Pittsburgh is starting to unlock lies in these beacons’ ability to enhance the fan experience.

It all starts when fans enter the stadium and are given a custom welcome message; the first signal that they are about to be a part of something special.  The beacons turn phones into a digital companion for the physical event: helping fans find their seat, providing updated rosters and stats as they happen, and (of course) offering discounts on concessions and merchandise.    There’s even an exclusive interactive experience that launches when fans approach the Mario Lemieux statue.  These enhanced experiences aren’t available anywhere else, and make fans feel like they’re getting an extra something special for attending in person.  

Imagine the possibilities if every stadium took an experience-first approach to proximity marketing.  Replays from alternate angles could be given to fans based on where they are in the stadium, long restroom lines could be avoided and seat upgrades (to VIP areas) could be instantly delivered.  

The fan experience is just one of the reasons LISNR SmartTones work so well when paired with physical beacons in stadiums and arenas.  We work with a number of professional sports teams that are using LISNR technology to deliver fan experiences in “moments that matter” – like when a goal is scored or a team wins the game.  This is an area where physical beacons can’t deliver.  Additionally, because LISNR SmartTones are audio-based – fans do not have to be connected to wifi – or have an app open on their phone to participate in the experience.  

We’re excited to see teams like the Penguins using proximity solutions to enhance the fan experience.  Undoubtedly, more teams are not far behind.  

LISNR is the creator of SmartTones, a new technology that sends data over audio. LISNR uses an inaudible digital sound file to turn any device into a beacon. LISNR gives brands and content creators a platform that delivers second-screen experiences and proximity-based messaging. Clients include Budweiser, Roc Nation, Shakira and Sony. For more information, visit www.lisnr.com.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

 

LISNR Making Waves in Cisco’s Entrepreneurs in Residence Program

Cisco EIR

Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) is a unique 6-month startup program that supports entrepreneurs working on the next big ideas in the Internet of Everything (IoE), Smart Cities, Big Data/analytics and other transformational opportunities strategic to Cisco.

I’m pumped to share LISNR has been selected into this elite program – joining the ranks of more than two dozen companies hand-picked by Cisco to develop ground-breaking innovations.

LISNR had to undergo a rigorous multi-phase selection process, which included evaluating the viability of our business plan, the merits and competitive differentiation of our technology, the strength of our teams and overall alignment with Cisco’s strategic focus. The process culminated with LISNR CEO Rodney Williams presenting to a panel of Cisco executives and technology experts.

Disruptive Technology

Cisco EIR was founded to “build relationships with early-stage innovators who are about to reshape our industry’s future through truly disruptive technologies.”

With the ability to send data over audio, LISNR’s SmartTones are redefining “right place, right time” messaging.

Unlike other wireless data communications, LISNR’s SmartTones deliver data over inaudible sound waves to mobile apps. Because these audio tones are delivered through existing speaker infrastructure, no new hardware or other costly implementations are needed to turn any audio speaker into a beacon capable of sending video, data and messages.

This means all infrastructures outfitted with speaker or microphone equipment – stadiums, indoor or outdoor venues, and even TVs – can transmit SmartTones, creating opportunities for live events, sports venues and broadcasters to create new engagement opportunities with fans.

Next Steps for LISNR

Over the next six months, LISNR will participate in multiple Cisco EIR  events and have the opportunity to work with Cisco product and engineer teams. Additionally, LISNR will be paired with a Cisco executive who will serve as a mentor/advocate, helping drive market validation and assisting LISNR in getting traction for this new technology.

“LISNR has gained momentum in the entertainment space through working with professional sports teams, brands and retailers and major music festivals,” says LISNR CEO Rodney Williams. “Now we’re looking at wider opportunities. Our collaboration with Cisco helps us continue on the path toward having a dominant presence across industries. LISNR will be the world’s leading communication protocol, connecting devices and overcoming communication challenges between devices everywhere.”

Cisco EIR has incubated 17 companies to date. We are thrilled to join this group. The program represents everything we believe is possible with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and ground-breaking innovation.

To keep up with other news and other data over sound applications, follow @LISNR.

LISNR is the creator of SmartTones, a new technology that sends data over audio. LISNR uses an inaudible digital sound file to turn any device into a beacon. LISNR gives brands and content creators a platform that delivers second-screen experiences and proximity-based messaging. Clients include Budweiser, Roc Nation, Shakira and Sony. For more information, visit www.lisnr.com.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence: Spotlight on Simularity

Cisco-simularity

Recently, we learned LISNR was selected to the Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) program. This is a unique 6-month startup initiative supporting entrepreneurs working on the next big ideas in the Internet of Everything (IoE) and other transformational opportunities strategic to Cisco.

5 companies joined this latest round, selected specifically by Cisco to develop ground-breaking innovations.

LISNR was selected because our disruptive approach in sending data over inaudible sound waves redefines “right place, right time” messaging. Unlike other wireless data communications, LISNR’s SmartTones are delivered through existing speaker infrastructure. No new hardware or other costly implementations are needed to turn any audio speaker into a beacon capable of sending video, data and messages.

Through the Cisco program, I met the team behind Simularity, an artificial intelligence startup. I sat down with Peter Koning, vice president of sales, to learn how they’re using artificial intelligence that learns over time to become a cost-effective predictive analytics solution.

How did the idea for Simularity originate?

Peter Koning: Simularity’s co-founders, CEO Liz Derr and CTO Ray Richardson, have deep experience as technology executives and programmers. After building a recommendation engine for Alibris, a leading ecommerce site, they realized the more relevant information you have, the better predictions you can make. These analytics and intelligence became the heart of Simularity.

What are some of the most interesting applications?

PK: Simularity works by looking at large volumes of data and learning what’s normal. The more data it observes, the smarter it gets.It also learns to detect what isn’t normal, and it can predict when something might happen – like a system failure.

Especially in the IoT space, the applications are limitless. Let’s say you’re an industrial company with many facilities filled with expensive equipment. With sensors placed on every piece of equipment, our software analyzes thousands of data readings per minute in real-time to learn what’s normal.

That data can then be used to identify maintenance for the equipment before it’s needed. So instead of scheduling maintenance every two months, the data recognizes the pattern of a pump before it actually fails. The data tells you to make repairs before it’s necessary – helping avoid post-failure clean-up, which usually costs significantly more time, money and resources.

Why is this concept so disruptive for “big data”?

PK: Usually, data scientists apply statistical modeling to make sense of big data. But that entire process is time consuming and expensive, and data scientists are in short supply. Simularity shortcuts the whole process so organizations can quickly deploy a more cost-effective solution – which by the way, also learns over time.

Plus, our software is more dynamic and flexible. So if you want to add in other data, you can. In the current model, you’d have to start from scratch – an expensive and time-consuming process.

What’s does being selected to Cisco EIR mean for Simularity?

PK: Joining the Cisco EIR program provides validation that what we created can bring value to the world. For example, we just won first place at the Meeting of the Minds. We proposed a mobile sensor and analysis system that attaches to vehicles to help cities get a better handle on air quality.

We’re also raising a seed round of investments. And collaborating with Cisco EIR in the IoT space will allow us to engage with new partners and customers.

Stay up-to-date with developments in the IoT space by following @LISNR.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

LISNR Named Finalist in Fast Company’s 2015 Innovation by Design Awards

Innovation By Design

For the last four years, Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards has honored designers and businesses working together to solve the problems of today and tomorrow. This year’s competition was the biggest yet, with more than 1,500 projects entered from around the world. Categories included Smart Homes, Social Good, 3-D Printing, Fashion and more.

A panel of established designers and design-minded executives judged the entries on functionality, originality, beauty, sustainability, depth of user insight, cultural impact, and business impact. As Fast Company points out, winners and finalists each “represent what’s best about design today: ‘Big ideas, meticulously thought out details, and a clear viewpoint about how we live now—and how it could be better’.”

I’m so excited to announce LISNR was named a Mobile Apps finalist — one of only 14 companies recognized in this category. And competition was extremely tough; other finalists include industry giants like Google and Instagram.

A Novel Technology

Fast Company called LISNR “a novel technology that can push anything – a song, a video, a shopping link, or an ad – to any smartphone, using soundwaves undetectable to the human ear.”

Unlike other wireless data communications, LISNR’s SmartTones deliver data over inaudible sound waves to mobile apps. Because these audio tones are delivered through existing speaker infrastructure, no new hardware or other costly implementations are needed in order for retailers, sports teams or live event venues to engage with consumers.

And with more speakers on the planet than people, this means any audio speaker can be turned into a beacon capable of sending video, data and messages – creating a whole new network capable of creating mobile engagement with audiences.

Right Place, Right Time Messaging

Today, the average person now spends more time on their phone and laptop than sleeping. Finding new ways to communicate and interact through mobile devices presents the next frontier in engagement.

In keeping with the Innovation by Design Awards vision, LISNR’s technology exemplifies how great design creates great experiences. As Fast Company notes, “Instead of having to ask users to download another app, apps that use LISNR technology can automatically download content associated with a specific place, such as a sports stadium or even a TV show.”

With sound’s ability to go where other technologies can’t – through walls and even across entire fields or stadiums – branded apps powered by LISNR technology deliver right time, right place messaging through mobile devices. For example:

Getting recognized with this prestigious award is a tremendous honor and gives the entire LISNR team something to cheer about. But more importantly, we’re most passionate about continuing to design mobile technology that creates meaningful – and delightful – engagement opportunities.

To keep up with other news and other data over sound applications, follow @LISNR.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

Owning Moments that Matter

If you’re like me, there’s probably an iconic sports moment permanently etched in your brain. Maybe Michael Jordan’s switch-hand layup against the Lakers. Kerri Strug’s one-foot vault landing at the Olympics. Rulon Gardner’s underdog win over a 13-year undefeated wrestling champion.

My strongest sports memory was when I was 7. I watched Doug Flutie throw a “Hail Mary” touchdown pass as the clock ticked to zero to lift Boston College over the University of Miami in an amazing win. To this day, I still see in my mind and remember everything about that moment — how Doug scrambled in the pocket, how the announcers sounded calling the touchdown, and even how the entire team piled on each other to celebrate.

What exactly does this memory have to do with marketing and making meaningful connections with fans and customers?

Actually, a lot.

Making Brand Memories

Right now, my memory of Doug Flutie’s “Miracle in Miami” is tied just to him and the sport. But what if a brand capitalized on that moment in a meaningful way? Rather than just being a memory, that moment in time could become an incredible brand connection, too.

This is what gets me pumped. With mobile technology, marketers and brands have a huge (and right now, untapped) opportunity to own these moments that matter. By own, I mean create a hyper-targeted connection that benefits both fans and brands.

The Business Case for Owning Moments

Let’s stick with sports, although there are plenty of similar applications for live events, broadcast and retail. For this example, we’ll use the Cleveland Cavaliers from my home state of Ohio.

  • They host a max of 20,052 fans per home game.
  • They will play 41 home games in 2015-2016.
  • Let’s estimate 40 percent of fans have downloaded the Cav’s official mobile app.

Using these numbers, during home games, the Cavs have an opportunity to engage with almost 333,000 fans through their official mobile app.

Let’s go a step further and talk about specific moments that matter. In basketball, slam dunks are a perennial fan favorite. What if a brand were to take ownership each time Timofey Mozgov dunks? Thanks to data over sound technology, for example, an athletic shoe company could sponsor each instant replay broadcast to a fan’s mobile device through the Cav’s official app.

Let’s just see how much potential exists.

  • According to 82games.com, on average there are 6.56 dunks per game, so I’ll even go a little more conservative and use the number five.
  • Let’s estimate 75 percent of the Cav’s app users opt in to receive these special notifications.

Over 1 million premium in-stadium impressions could be generated for the shoe company (which doesn’t even take into account viewers watching from home). More than just a billboard or ad, using owned moments to connect and engage with fans all the way down to their seats has the potential to generate impressive ROI.

Keeping Owned Moments Meaningful

There are a couple caveats to owning moments that matter.

  • First, the connection between the owned moment and the brand story needs to be authentic for fans.
  • Second, to stay meaningful, not every single moment can be owned. It can quickly become overwhelming or irrelevant to fans if a brand takes ownership of a moment that happens too frequently, like three-point shots.
  • Third, look for ways to naturally extend owned moments. If a fan experiences a meaningful moment watching branded replays of slam dunks via their mobile device in-stadium, how does that connection continue for the fan at home during the next game?

Brands, fans and teams alike stand to benefit with meaningful connections in these moments that matter. So what’s going to be the next memorable moment? And who will own it?

Discover how to capitalize on moments that matter by following @LISNR.  

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

Live Event Spotlight: Budweiser Made in America 2015

BMIA Banner

Over Labor Day weekend, more than 140,000 fans converged on Philadelphia for the latest installment of the Budweiser Made in America Festival. Now in its fourth year, the event features an eclectic mix of artists personally curated by hip-hop mogul Jay Z.

Set at the base of the city’s famous “Rocky” steps and spread out across five stages on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the event featured performers including Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Death Cab for Cutie, Nick Jonas, and almost 60 other rap, rock, EDM and R&B artists.

LISNR was at the event for the third year in a row, powering the official Budweiser Made in America mobile app. The goal? Deliver “right place, right time” messaging for a rockin’ fan experience.

The Challenges

We’ve all been there —trying to get a WiFi or data signal with thousands of others at a large outdoor music event. Keeping up-to-date with schedule changes takes forever. Forget about posting a selfie to Facebook or Instagram.

Budweiser recognized just how important it was to create a positive fan experience. From keeping guests up-to-date about set changes and artists next up on the schedule, to helping fans get home safely, our team was charged with facilitating relevant engagement and notifications through the mobile app.

Since LISNR uses SmartTones® to deliver data over inaudible sound waves to mobile apps, any challenges associated with WiFi or data coverage were immediately off the table. These audio tones are delivered through existing speaker infrastructure – meaning the festival was already “wired” and no additional or special hardware or other technology was needed.

Seamless to Fans

LISNR’s embedded technology creates a seamless experience for fans who just care about “right place, right time” messaging. Through the app, fans’ mobile devices “hear” the tones and deliver instant – and most importantly – hyper-relevant notifications, even if Bluetooth and Location Services are turned off.

For example, “smart” messaging content unlocked by LISNR included:

  • A special Budweiser-branded welcome message as attendees entered the Made in America Festival.
  • Notifications about water station locations and refillable Budweiser water bottles to keep attendees hydrated.
  • Up to $20 off notices for an Uber ride as festival-goers approached exits — part of Budweiser’s commitment to get fans home safely.

LISNR notifications also drove traffic to other Budweiser-sponsored footprints within the festival.

  • Guests could visit the Budweiser Signature Room (part barber shop, flash tattoo parlor and old school arcade game) for a signature beer draft.
  • Fans were encouraged to collect Budweiser cans and return them to the Recycling Store for free t-shirts.
  • Attendees also received messages about Budweiser’s “Make a Plan to Make it Home” area where they could register to win a free bike.

An Epic Experience

There’s hardly a better way to close out summer than amazing performances from Beyoncé and The Weeknd. Key fan engagement and interaction metrics were up across the board over the previous year:

  • 58,000 interactions with LISNR tones.
  • 600,000 app sessions.
  • 5.4 million impressions through Twitter and Facebook.

What a way to turn up this year’s event. See you at #MadeInAmerica 2016!

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

How Beacons Can Connect Your App to the Outside World

How Beacons Can Connect Your App to the Outside WorldBeacon buzz has been building since Apple first introduced iBeacons just two years ago. The potential to trigger location-based content and experiences on customers’ smartphone apps holds great appeal for marketers, and additional hardware vendors have jumped on board.

It’s no wonder why:

  • Juniper Research projects retailers will spend $670 million this year related to hardware and installation costs for beacons and RFID tags. By 2020, that figure will increase fourfold to an estimated $2.5 billion (yes, “b” for billion).
  • More than 1 million physical beacons are in the market already, and they are estimated to break the 400 million mark in five years.

So what are beacons and how are they being used to connect apps to the outside world?

Beacons 101

Beacons are inexpensive pieces of hardware that use Bluetooth low energy (BLE) to broadcast signals to nearby devices. Bluetooth-enabled smartphones or tablets within about 150 to 200 feet receive those signals, enabling people to receive notifications, special offers, discounts and more. Apple’s iBeacon technology was one of the earliest to market, followed by Gimbal and Google’s Eddystone.

Part of beacons’ draw are their size (small enough to attach to walls), relatively low cost and increasing availability.

However, some say turning on Bluetooth and location services drains your battery too much. Others say it’s a hassle to continuously keep apps open. Neither of these objections are going to hold back beacons’ adoption for very long.

It’s an App Mad World

We’re in an app mad world – living more and more in our favorite apps (hello Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!) and not our browsers. Is it really a big deal to enable Bluetooth and location services? In informal poll of my officemates, 90 percent all had Bluetooth and location services on, and multiple open apps.

And specific to the battery issue, raise your hand if you’d sacrifice just a little bit of battery life for an extra 25 percent off your next purchase delivered through a store’s app. Yeah, I’m right there with you.

I’m not the only one who thinks it’s worth it. Retailers, live events, and sports venues are all investing in beacons. They recognize we’re using apps to connect to the outside world, and want to be by our side (or in our pocket) with relevant content and customized experiences.

The Next Generation of Beacons

Though retailers originally eyed beacons for applications, we could finally be at the “tipping point” as more companies adopt beacons. For example, at SXSW 2015, 1,000 proximity beacons were placed in and around hundreds of SXSW venues. As part of the official SXSW GO app, thanks to beacons attendees could view other attendees nearby, and network by sending a quick message to those with similar interests. The app also had an “Around Me” feature that used beacons to provide notifications of what bands were playing, what films were being screened, or sessions about to start. Beacons even provided real-time audience engagement via the “Session Live” feature by asking attendees to join session chats or answer real-time polls.

Sure, beacons as we know it will continue to change. They’ll get “smarter” and more frictionless. For example, LISNR has created SmartTones that send data over audio and using existing speaker infrastructures as the “beacon.” As consumers benefit and continue to have amazing experiences, beacons will be just one of the ways apps are used to connect to the outside world in amazing ways.

Follow @LISNR for meaningful ideas to engage your audience through technology.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.