It was recently reported that the NFL has rolled out a micro-location beacon network in New York’s Times Square and MetLife Stadium, with the transmitters set to serve up personalized ads to football fans during the Super Bowl. Speaking with the New York Times, the National Football League’s general manager of mobile Manish Jha explained that the beacon installation is an experiment to help gauge the effectiveness of micro-location ads. Jha said the following regarding the matter:
The power of this is it really is able to connect the real world, the brick-and-mortar world, with the virtual world with a level of granularity that hasn’t existed before.
Apple sparked interest in micro-location or context aware technology with iBeacon, a framework built on the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol. The location-aware iBeacons feature two-way communication, meaning the devices can advertise personalized specials to end users while tracking customer traffic information for store owners. iBeacon has seen test applications at Macy’s and all US Apple Store locations.
Other companies have jumped on board with their own systems that work in a nearly identical fashion and are usually compatible with iOS and Google’s Android. Although not specifically mentioned in the article, photographs illustrating the NFL’s beacon rollout show Qualcomm’s Gimbal product line as being deployed. The company’s inexpensive hardware, which can be purchased for as little as $5 per transmitter, is compatible with iOS, but is more limited in scope when compared to iBeacon.
While Apple’s protocol can theoretically leverage iPhones and iPads as transceiver beacons, Gimbal units can only be used on the content server and collection side. There are currently two Gimbal units available, the $10 Series 20 and the $5 Series 10. From the photos, it appears the NFL chose to go with the more powerful Series 20 device.
The NFL isn’t alone in its advertising effort either. Earlier this week it was reported that Major League Baseball will be rolling out thousands of Qualcomm beacons in 20 stadiums ahead of this year’s season.
Those of you who are attending the Super Bowl or those who will be in the area on Sunday can access the beacon network through the NFL Mobile iOS app.
Source: The New York Times