Beacon Deployments In Retail Grew 20% In Last Quarter; 1M More Expected In US Stores In 2017

April 21, 2016 by Dave Haynes


I’ve had some interesting conversations with senior people lately about the shiny object nature of emerging technology, and how the latest one – beacons – hasn’t really gone anywhere. I wasn’t sure that was true, but suggested it was going to take time – and getting away from a dependancy on specific phone apps – to take off.

New research suggests beacons and other types of proximity sensors actually are taking hold in public spaces like retail, with the numbers out there growing by 20% in the last quarter.

A company called Unacast – which has technology that connects retailers and their proximity solution providers with ad networks – has started keeping something called the Proxbook, which tracks proximity marketing campaigns and deployment figures.

Says a news release:

Covering over 90% of the global market and data from all major players, this quarter the report also features a focus on retail as the most important vertical in proximity marketing. With little shared information on ROI, it has been challenging for brands and retailers to allocate marketing budget for proximity technology.  

The report also says:

“Proximity marketing is about to explode,” suggests Unacast CEO Thomas Walle. “Across our 100 use cases in Proxbook, we are now seeing deployments go straight to commercial launch, skipping the pilot phase. The results they’re getting, alongside developments in technology and a maturing industry, are fuelling strong growth.”

He has a vested interest in suggesting boom times are ahead, but the numbers make it pretty clear beacons are far from being old news. The connection to the signage industry has always been a little elusive, but we’re seeing signs of companies like BroadSign bundling screen and phone content in distributed ad and messaging campaigns that can be initiated by beacons, and other companies doing work that drives beacon awareness, uses beacons to track and map audience movements and numbers, and help location-based mapping that starts on directories.

  1. John Wang says:

    IAdea has combined beacons and digital signage media players into one, adding the benefit that the code emitted via the beacon radio changes to correspond to the content shown on the screen.

    The technology effectively allows the screen to send an invisible QR code–so to speak–to anyone using the standard Google Chrome browser on an iPhone. More information including the API is available at

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