Qualcomm’s new Gimbal beacons, Bluetooth-powered devices that retailers can use to interact with customers in stores, are now available.
Gimbal is one of Qualcomm’s opening salvos in the war for the Internet of Things, the network of connected objects, from smartphones, to light bulbs, to bicycles that experts predict will transform our lives over the next decade.
Put simply, Gimbal is a sensor that detects the presence of smartphones and interacts with them through the low energy Bluetooth Smart standard. Retailers can place sensors throughout their stores, serving customers with info, coupons, or ads based on their location. For instance, your phone could ping you with a coupon when you check out a pair of shoes or an online deal when you stop in front of a smartphone stand. Got lost? Whip out your phone and see exactly where the pet food is.
If the concept sounds familiar, it might be because Apple just launched a similar program in its stores. Apple’s iBeacons work just like Gimbal, but they are, as you would expect, only compatible with iOS devices. High-street retailer Macy’s has also tested out Apple’s system.
For now, Gimbal sensors are compatible with iOS devices only, but Android compatibility will roll out soon. Qualcomm hopes to capture a big slice of the potentially massive market for Bluetooth sensors by offering Gimbal units for as low as $5 per sensor, bought in bulk.
With Android 4.3 and iOS7 supporting the Bluetooth Smart and the arrival of a new generation of cheap smart sensors, expect shopping – and potentially other activities – to become a more connected affair in the coming years.
SAN DIEGO – December 09, 2013 – Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Retail Solutions, Inc., has made its Gimbal™ proximity beacons commercially available as part of the Gimbal context aware, proximity platform. Gimbal proximity beacons, available in two models, areaccurate down to one foot and work indoors and outdoors.
Gimbal is a comprehensive context aware, proximity platform for brands to engage their customers’ mobile devices with highly relevant communications using a powerful combination of physical location, activity, time and personal interests. Gimbal helps increase the relevance of content delivered to end users’ devices, filtering out the irrelevant and offering more personalized experiences, thereby allowing retailers, venues, content providers and developers to send personalized high-value content to enhance their users’ mobile devices. The overall Gimbal context aware platform supports iOS® and Android™; while the new Gimbal proximity beacons support iOS today with planned support for Android.
“With the availability of Gimbal proximity beacons, we are empowering brands to take mobile engagement with their customers to a whole new level through micro-location,” said Rocco Fabiano, president of Qualcomm Retail Solutions. “Gimbal – with its proximity beacons that use low-energy Bluetooth Smart – is the complete package. 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.”
The Gimbal platform features two proximity beacon models to address a wide range of use cases: the Series 20 (95mm x 102mm x 24mm) and the Series 10 (28mm x 40mm x 5.6mm). Companies that deploy the Gimbal platform can manage Gimbal beacons using Gimbal Manager. The beacons communicate over Bluetooth® Smart for long battery life. Depending on the use cases, Series 10 beacons have a battery life of many months or up to a year; Series 20 beacons have a battery life of 1-3 years. The beacons also can be configured to longer transmission intervals, for a battery life of up to several years.
Depending on volume, Series 10 beacons are available for as little as $5 each and Series 20 beacons are available for as little as $10 each.
The Gimbal context aware, proximity platform enables brands to engage consumers with relevant, timely and personalized communications sent to their mobile devices. Use of the platform enables brands to increase sales and drive loyalty by delivering highly relevant communications while those consumers are physically present in their stores and venues. Brands using the Gimbal platform can send customized communications based on interest derived from geofence triggers and proximity triggers, all matched to inferred interests. These brands can then further refine their offerings via analytics provided by the Gimbal platform. To address user privacy requirements, the Gimbal platform has at its core user-controlled privacy settings and focuses on the secure transmission of all information.
Companies interested in Gimbal can find more information at www.qualcomm.com/gimbal.
About Qualcomm Incorporated
Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is the world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies. Qualcomm Incorporated includes Qualcomm’s licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of its patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of Qualcomm’s engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of its products and services businesses, including its semiconductor business, QCT. For more than 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other. For more information, visit Qualcomm’s website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.