Gimbal, Urban Airship combine beacon, messaging expertise

Touting the motto that two great things go great together, Urban Airship and Gimbal are teaming up in what they're calling a preferred partnership designed to accelerate "in the moment" mobile engagement.

The idea behind combining the two is to deliver the right message at the right time, so that it's specific to a particular consumer at a given time. The partnership came after the two companies started running into each other at customer implementations, according to Brent Hieggelke, chief marketing officer at Urban Airship. Rather than having their customers make the connection, they decided to simplify matters and bring their solutions together in one place to save customers' some leg work.

From a technology standpoint, Urban Airship pioneered the push messaging space and Gimbal led the way in beacon technology, so bringing the two together just made sense, he told FierceWirelessTech.

Marketers can use the combined solution to automate personalized messaging experiences based on where the customer is in their shopping experience. Conditional automation rules and any combination of segmentation attributes, such as user preferences, in-app behaviors and clicks to push action buttons, can be incorporated.

The companies say that together, they offer the only solution that provides both real-time and historical location data to spark rich mobile messaging experiences for spaces "as big as continents" to geofenced stores down to aisle end-caps with a proximity beacon. Marketers also will get access to location history targeting for insight into where consumers have been, offering more opportunities to leverage location data in mobile engagement efforts and fast-tracking marketers' efforts, according to a press release.

Hieggelke points to an example involving the US Open. A representative for the US Open was in the audience at a Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) event at South by Southwest and got inspired to pursue beacon technology. That session was in March, and by the time the US Open rolled around, he had the Gimbal/Urban Airship offering in place--and that was before the two companies formally announced a partnership.

Of course, privacy and security are two hot issues in beacon technology. Kevin Hunter, Gimbal's COO, said Gimbal's developers took a "very conservative" approach to ensure it was an opt-in proposition and that consumers would have the ability to change their minds later and fully opt out if they didn't want their locations identified.

The timing of the partnership ultimately could work in their favor. With the holidays approaching, a lot of retailers go into lockdown mode and they're not looking to deploy new technology that might disrupt business. But because they're in lockdown, their digital teams often have more time to review new technologies and consider major future initiatives, Hieggelke said.

The partnership comes as news surfaced recently that SK Telecom agreed to acquire Shopkick, which also has been working with retailers to deploy its beacons, for $200 million.

For more:
- see this release
- see this MediaPost article

Related articles:
Bluetooth Smart, Wi-Fi raise the hackles of privacy advocates
Qualcomm says 3GPP is studying beacon technology for indoor positioning
Qualcomm spins off Gimbal beacon technology into a separate company

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