Proximity marketing

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Proximity marketing is the localized wireless distribution of advertising content associated with a particular place. Transmissions can be received by individuals in that location who wish to receive them and have the necessary equipment to do so.

Distribution may be via a traditional localized broadcast, or more commonly is specifically targeted to devices known to be in a particular area.

The location of a device may be determined by:

Communications may be further targeted to specific groups within a given location, for example content in tourist hot spots may only be distributed to devices registered outside the local area.

Communications may be both time and place specific, e.g. content at a conference venue may depend on the event in progress.

Uses of proximity marketing include distribution of media at concerts, information (weblinks on local facilities), gaming and social applications, and advertising.

[edit] Bluetooth-based systems

Bluetooth, a short-range wireless system supported by many mobile devices, is one transmission medium used for proximity marketing. The process of Bluetooth based proximity marketing involves setting up Bluetooth "broadcasting" equipment at a particular location and then sending information which can be text, images, audio or video to Bluetooth enabled devices within range of the broadcast server. Other standard data exchange formats such as Vcard can also be used.

It used to be the case that due to security fears, or a desire to save battery life, many users keep their Bluetooth devices in OFF mode, or ON but not set to be 'discoverable'. Because of this, often regions where Bluetooth proximity marketing is in operation it is accompanied by advising via traditional media - such as posters, television screens or field marketing teams - suggesting people make their Bluetooth handsets 'discoverable' in order to receive free content. A 'discoverable' Bluetooth device within range of the server is automatically sent a message asking if the user would like to receive the free content.

Current mobile phones usually have bluetooth switched ON by default, and a majority of users now leave bluetooth switched on for easy connection with car kits and headsets.

Some implementations of Bluetooth proximity marketing require users to run Java applications on their phones to enable them to receive content this has the advantage that only those who to choose to will receive content. Others require no handset-side software.

The diversity of mobile phones is huge. Screen sizes and supported file formats varies greatly. To obtain the optimal user experience with Bluetooth Marketing, the Bluetooth system must be able to automatically recognize phone models and deliver the proper content automatically.

[edit] GSM-based systems

GSM 03.41 which defines the Short Message Service - Cell Broadcast (SMS-CB) allows messages (advertising, public information, etc.) to be broadcast to all mobile users in a specified geographical area. Some phones/devices have an option to turn off the receipt of such messages.

There are provisions for "welcome" messages to be sent when entering new countries introducing networks available.

There are also capabilities for messages to be sent by emergency services.

GSM localization accuracy varies depending on location.

Bluewater, a super-regional shopping centre in the UK, has a GSM based system supplied by NTL to help its GSM coverage for calls, it also allows each customer with a mobile phone to be tracked though the centre which shops they go into and for how long. The system enables special offer texts to be sent to the phone.

[edit] See also

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