We've been keenly following the progress of Apple's iBeacon BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology -- and especially as it pertains to in-store use -- for some time now.
Qualcomm is now looking to cash in on the new technology with its new Gimbal beacon platform, which "enables brands, retailers and venues to engage customers with relevant, timely and personalized content to their mobile devices which can drive customer engagement, sales and loyalty," it said on its site. "At the same time Gimbal is designed to respect consumer privacy."
In its initial promo material, Gimbal tackles the iBeacon privacy issue head on.
And to make Gimbal adoption even easier for retailers and developers, Qualcomm is selling Gimbal beacons for a rock bottom price of $5 per beacon.
Below is the Gimbal promo video. The video is well produced, and explains the technology in a clear manner. It also talks a bit about privacy, which is going to be a hot topic when these beacons start hitting the mainstream.
At an incredible $5 per beacon, Qualcomm has clearly priced this device for mass adoption. There are several other companies that sell iBeacon technology. Estimote sells their beacons for $99 each, while others like Roximity are licensing their beacons for $10 per beacon, per month. Besides Gimbal, the lowest price I can find for iBeacon technology is from Kontakt.io at around $30 each -- but they are only pre-ordering dev kits at the moment, and who knows what the final price will be, or at what quantities they will be able to produce them at.
At $5 per beacon, Qualcomm is going for mass adoption.
Not only is does Gimbal have rock bottom pricing, from a huge trusted player like Qualcomm, it also has a nice framework behind the scenes that will let:
- retailers set up alerts based on geofences, and view analytics around customer entry, exit and dwell times, for free (from what I can tell). Retailers that have mobile apps compatible with Gimbal technology will be able to also send out targeted advertisements to their customers, exactly when they need it -- when they enter the store.
- customers (who are using this technology through compatible mobile applications) have unique experiences inside of physical places, unlike anything they have ever experienced. Outside of the obvious "pushing out promotions" use case, there is unlimited potential to create totally unique customer experiences in-store -- like allowing a customer to change the music playing in the store, or basically anything else you can dream up.
As far as drawbacks go, I don't know that there are any. Until we get our hands on some to test them out, I'm going to say it's "perfect." As with everything, that probably isn't going to be the case, but from here, it looks good.