Qualcomm Annouces Proximity Beacons

Qualcomm's new Gimbal Proxmity Beacons are using Bluetooth Smart, to enable retailers to track customers and deliver highly localized information.

Qualcomm says its new Gimbal Proxmity Beacons are using Bluetooth Smart, the low-energy protocol in Bluetooth 4.0, to enable retailers to track customers and deliver highly localized information.

Gimbal proximity beacons are empowering brands to take mobile engagement with their customers to a whole new level through micro-location.”

“Given the affordable pricing of the beacons, retailers and venue operators can install a network for customer engagement that is both more accurate and less expensive than other location-based systems,” said Rocco Fabiano, president of Qualcomm Retail Solutions.

There are two Gimbal sensors now available, a small Series 10, and the larger Series 20. Both use low-energy Bluetooth Smart for detailed micro-location data; accurate within a foot.

The idea is that retailers can add the sensors throughout a brick-and-mortar store to see where customers are. That data provides the opportunity for a hyper-personal shopping experience, says Qualcomm.

The Series 10 costs about $5 while the Series 20 costs as low as $10. Bluetooth Smart can transmit up to 50 meters.

It’s similar to Apple’s iBeacon is already tracking where you are in Apple Stores.

The new Bluetooth 4.1 specification can setup a dedicated communication channel, extending the ability of Bluetooth in the Internet of Things.

ABI Research expects Bluetooth Smart to be incorporated into wearable cameras, smart clothing, smart glasses, healthcare, sports and activity trackers, and smartphone watches.

“The sports and activity tracker segment was the first to pop, with 32 million devices shipping in 2013 alone, but we expect to see rapid growth from smart watch, smart glass, segments in 2014,” said Josh Flood, analyst with ABI Research. ABI says Bluetooth Smart will grow fastest in the smart home market, reaching over 133 million units shipped by 2018.

Written by: Luke Pensworth

Luke is the managing editor and site manager of Dailywireless. As a wireless enthusiast/consumer, he reviews a lot of services based on his own experience. Disgruntled as he may be, he tries to keep his articles as honest as possible.

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