2016 was not the year of Proximity, and 2017 will not be either. It's already around us.
Need proof? Look no further than the recent announcement from Cisco, stating that they now add Bluetooth radio alongside with Wi-Fi routers, including the ability to connect to other proximity tech vendors like Kontakt.io and Estimote via APIs - embedded and ready to go.
This coupled with our own data from Proxbook, now tracking over 370 PSPs (Proximity Solutions Providers), shows that the amount of sensors are growing fast globally, with close to 100% increase in the three first quarters of 2016 up to 11,770,500 sensors.
At Unacast we are building the Real World Graph™ on top of this quickly growing new industry, and as we are getting into proximity to 2017, I have taken a moment to look at the some of the trends, in no particular order, we see from our position as the world’s largest proximity data platform.
As the proximity space heats up, more and more companies, also from established mobile verticals, are looking to get their fair share of this new market - or at the very least not be left behind. Just recently we saw that Gimbal was acquired by The Mobile Majority and that Verve didn’t just settle with one beacon company, but bought two: Fosbury and Roximity. Expect to see more of this in 2017, as having access to proximity solution goes from nice-to-have to must-have.
Proximity has many applications, and one of the most immediate is the ability to accurately track in-store attribution, meaning how many actually came back to your venue after a previously digital served ad. In the words of Neil Sweeney at Freckle IoT: “As in-store attribution matures this year, third-party measurement of high-fidelity first-party data will quickly rise to become the default. As this takes place, all brands should be looking in the mirror and asking this question: How effective is my media in driving people into a location and what is my plan to measure it?”
Any new industry is faced with certain blockers that hinder adoption. This is also true in the proximity industry. How many has Bluetooth on? How many has the relevant app to interact with proximity tech? How can we provide privacy-friendly solutions? What about scale? I won’t go into details on these matters in this post, outside confirming that they are becoming enablers - not limitations.
"Bluetooth on" has now over 50% adoption, and growing fast due to e.g. iPhone 7’s “no jack”-solution. Google has launched Eddystone that don’t need apps. Proximity is always opt-in, and at Unacast we are investing heavily in privacy and will present industry-wide programs in 2017. And, scale… Well, that’s exactly what we are doing something about at Unacast.
As marketers, and large and small business segment, are getting more savvy in the way they employ data to drive marketing campaigns, their demand for true and verified identity and location data increases. Current data sources are often lacking either on deterministic identity or deterministic location, and proximity data is currently set to deliver on that need - as the true double-deterministic™ source.
As traditional marketing campaigns are losing its place in the spotlight, we will see new and more integrated customer-oriented solutions appearing, ranging from bots to VR - powered by machine learning and verified data. These new technology-driven customer interactions will focus on the needs of the end user, and seek to deliver real tangible value. Marketing spend has remained at a steady 1% of GDP in the US the last 100 years, and that is set to continue. The methods might change, but not the need to market and consume products. And guess what, proximity tech is set to play a big role here - as the most accurate location data available.
So, 2017 is not the year of Proximity. Proximity is already here, and undoubtedly a growing part of our lives. Let’s instead talk about how we build the best products.
Now, that’s interesting!