SmartFocus launches virtual beacon as part of context-based communication suite

Proprietary virtual beacon technology uses all the sensors in mobile phones with no additional hardware required to achieve fast and accurate customer localisation information, which can then be harnessed for digital marketing

SmartFocus launches virtual beacon as part of context-based communication suite

SmartFocus has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first virtual beacon as part of a new context-based marketing and communications offering called The Message Cloud. The company, which specialises in intelligent, omni-channel marketing, says the solution will redefine context-driven marketing.

The Message Cloud processes unstructured customer data to automatically personalise and contextualise all customer communications. Using a host of factors including location, weather, customer age and gender, favourite brands and products, web browsing history, past buying behaviour and abandoned carts, The Message Cloud listens to and learns from a brand’s customers.

SmartFocus’s best-of-breed Message Cloud technology gives brand marketers a holistic view of their customers and enables them to deliver even more personalised marketing interactions that increase brand engagement and sales.

Virtual beacons
As part of The Message Cloud, SmartFocus will be offering the world’s first virtual beacons, which it says will render current beacon technology redundant. Virtual beacons will enable brands to benefit from proximity technology without the constraints of complex hardware integration or maintenance, whilst still being able to trigger micro location messaging to enable a contextual experience. No other indoor mapping technology can do this using just a floor plan.

Indoor tracking and navigation is a fundamental requirement for context-aware smartphone applications. SmartFocus notes that although indoor maps are becoming increasingly available, there is no practical and reliable indoor mapping solution available at present.

SmartFocus virtual beacons are designed to overcome this problem by creating a responsive indoor mapping system that is extremely fast and highly accurate. The solution pinpoints the position of a user from accelerometer and magnetometer measurements only, so it does not need beacons, equipment or Wi-Fi - the only information that is required is a floorplan.

This energy and cost efficient approach to indoor mapping will enable always-on background localisation, enabling a new era of location-aware applications to be developed, SmartFocus asserts. It claims that this is true proximity marketing, as the solution achieves hyper-contextualisation through hyper-localisation.

Rob Mullen, CEO at SmartFocus, said: “Every customer is on their own unique journey. Motivations to try, buy or stay loyal change depending on the individual making the choice. A brand marketer can ‘own’ that moment by using our Message Cloud technology to harvest and interpret data and create contextualised campaigns that are triggered by customer behaviour; not by their best guess.

“We all know it’s all about mobile and, whether it’s personalised content on a webpage, a mobile push message, a proximity alert or an optimised email, it is now more and more likely to be received and viewed on a smartphone. Brands need to react to that and SmartFocus can help. Mobile has the power of 24/7 access to the ‘remote control’ of your customer’s life and the ability to enable location-based personalised marketing messages better than any other medium.”

Customer example
One large brand using SmartFocus’s Message Cloud is the UK’s largest toy retailer, the Entertainer. Phil Geary, chief marketing officer for the Entertainer, commented: “We're experts in what children love, and our winning combination of fair prices and excellent customer service, means we're a favourite with mums and dads too. I’m delighted that we can ensure that our proud tradition continues online and across all of our marketing channels, by partnering with SmartFocus.

“SmartFocus helps to make our customer experience be the best it can be, irrespective of what channel we’re using, and the SmartFocus Message Cloud ensures that my team and I can offer perfect user experience every time. Replicating our in-store experience when each and every one of our customers visits our website or receives one of our marketing messages is critical to us. The SmartFocus solution offered us all of the capabilities we needed in a single, comprehensive platform.”

Today’s announcement follows SmartFocus delivering the first view of virtual beacons at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona earlier this month. 

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