T-Mobile to Cover the Czech Republic with SIGFOX Network

T-Mobile and its partner SimpleCell Networks have decided to jointly cover the Czech Republic with a SigFox network for the Internet of Things.

The decision was made on the basis of a successful pilot operation that was conducted from June to August this year.

The company said that coverage of the entire Czech Republic (78,866 km2) can be achieved with a minimal number of 350 base stations by the end of 2016.

In the first half of next year, both partners intend to launch SIGFOX in selected regions and start selling solutions that do not require full nation-wide coverage.

This partnership is the nineth country to be covered by Sigfox technology after France, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, and Luxembourg.

This annoucement was made last week as the French startup is apparently in discussion for another round of funding after raising €100 million in February (read here).

Gimbal Beacons Complement Outdoor Advertising

Bluetooth Beacon vendor Gimbal has announced last week two deals with outdoor advertising providers that highlight the role of beacons as a digital add-on to traditional OOH campaigns.

The first deal is with Vector Media, a OOH company, specializing in large-format transit advertising, and traditional out-of-home media. The initial agreement will outfit 500 buses in Vector’s nationwide network with Gimbal beacons that will engage both riders and passersby within a 50-meter radius of the selected vehicles.

The Gimbal solution will give Vector’s advertisers the ability to push relevant offers, discounts and messages to users within that radius who have opted in to Gimbal’s mobile application publisher ecosystem.

The second partner of Gimbal is do it outdoors media, a national mobile billboard and field marketing company. As part of the partnership, beacons will be placed in the company’s mobile billboard units, which are all owned and operated by do it outdoors, along with placement on Segways, jet packs, brand ambassador teams and other field marketing activation sites.

When a consumer enters the beacon zone, effective from up to 50-meters to mere inches away from the beacon-enabled media asset, rich content will be delivered via a push notification within an advertiser’s own mobile app or by partnering with a third party mobile app that introduces the brand to new audiences.

“Gimbal has established the largest nationwide proximity network and through partners like do it outdoors media, our secure beacon technology is enabling out-of-home networks to connect digitally with smartphone users,â€? said Kevin Hunter, COO of Gimbal.

“Complimenting mobile billboards with a beacon-triggered digital engagement is an attractive solution for advertisers looking to deliver more targeted and personalized experiences to their key audiences. Further, Gimbal’s back-end data analytics provide the ability to measure specific proximity-based attribution, enabling these networks to show the value derived from a particular location,â€? he added.

Learn more

Download below a whitepaper commissioned by Gimbal about beacons and OOH advertising.

Yelp Revenue Up 51% in Q2 2015

Yelp yesterday announced a revenue of $133.9 million in the second quarter of 2015 reflecting 51% growth over the previous year.

Adjusted EBITDA for the second quarter of 2015 was $22.7 million, reflecting a 32% increase over the second quarter of 2014.

"We expect local advertising will continue to be our primary driver of growth as we work towards our goal of generating one billion dollars of revenue in 2017,“ commented Rob Krolik, Yelp’s chief financial officer.

During the quarter the number of mobile visitors surpassed Desktop for the first time, growing to approximately 83 million compared to approximately 79 million (unique) Desktop visitors.

Local advertising leading revenue segments

The local advertising business totaled $107.9 million in the quarter, representing 43% growth over the second quarter of 2014.

The “Transactions“ revenue, which was previously included in “Other revenue“ totaled $11.3 million, compared to $1.2 million in the second quarter of 2014. This growth is primarily due to the acquisition of Eat24 in the first quarter of 2015. Transactions revenue are now comprised of Eat24, Platform transactions, Yelp Deals and Gift Certificates.

In comparison Brand advertising revenue totaled $8.3 million, representing an 8% decrease compared to the second quarter of 2014 and the company announced the discontinuation of this product. “As of today, Yelp is announcing that it plans to phase out its brand advertising product by the end of 2015 to continue its focus on the consumer experience and its native, local advertising products,“ the company stated

Other revenue (mostly from partnership arrangements) totaled $6.4 million, representing 128% growth over the same quarter of the previous year.

See the earnings slides below:

78% Marketers Use Location-Based Mobile Advertising

A new study from xAd that polled more than 500 marketers in 11 countries show that 78 percent of them use location targeting in their mobile advertising campaigns.

Another sign of the market maturation is that of the 78% of marketers using location targeting for their mobile ad campaigns, the top strategy they use is audience targeting, designed to reach a specific group of people. This surpasses the use of proximity targeting, trying to reach people at or nearby specific businesses and points of interest.

The verticals where location-based advertising is used varies by region: North America and Western Europe use location heavily for Retail, while APAC and Latin America are focused on Banking and Finance.

Results are from an online survey administered by xAd to 172 ad agency leaders and 402 marketing decision makers across North America, Western Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America in May 2015.

See the complete report below:

Google Takes on iBeacon with Eddystone Open Spec

Google announced yesterday Eddystone, an open protocol specification that defines a Bluetooth low energy (BLE) message format for proximity beacon messages.

The specification describes several different frame types that may be used individually or in combinations to create beacons that can be used for a variety of applications.

Eddystone supports multiple frame types for different use cases, and it supports versioning to make introducing new functionality easier. Eddystone is supporting Android, iOS or any platform that supports BLE beacons. Eddystone is available on GitHub under the open-source Apache v2.0 license, for everyone to use and help improve.

Google has also built inside Eddystone a feature called Ephemeral Identifiers (EIDs) which change frequently, and allow only authorized clients to decode them.

Leading beacons vendors such as Bkon, bluvision, estimote, kontakt.io, Radius Networks and Signal360 have already integrated Eddystone.

Sagemcom: “We Will Enable Location on LoRa IoT Networks“

As the market for low cost, low power Internet of Things (IoT) networks is heating up (SigFox, LoRa, etc), the location and tracking of the sensors and devices connected to these networks is coming up as a significant use case.

However location often means GPS that comes with both a significant bill of material and power consumption.

But what is not very well known is that the LoRaWAN specification offers to use the network as a mean of location.

The French broadband technology supplier Sagemcom is at the forefront of this opportunity with their LoRa technology offering announced two weeks ago.

Similar to what it does on the broadband market, with LoRa Sagemcom positions itself as a technology supplier to telecom operators.

The company supplies an end to end network with a core network, a cloud for applications, antenna/gateway down to radio modules for sensors in the field. 

One of the reasons why Sagemcom selected LoRa was the fact it is an open standard supported by many wireless operators and having geo-location as a feature.

“Geolocation is a must have for IoT and it is part of the LoRa Standard,“ explained Thierry Lestable, Technology and Innovation Manager at the CTO Office of Sagemcom. “what we want to do at Sagemcom is to make the most out of it.“

LoRa well suited for Network-based Geolocation
Unlike some other IoT network technologies, LoRa is well suited for geolocation.

“At the physical layer the radio signal used by LoRa is somewhat closed to a radar signal, thanks to its Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS) technology. The antenna Gateway can very precisely detect the arrival of the signal emitted from the device,“ explained  Thierry Lestable.

“based on that we use a technology called DTOA (difference time of arrival) very similar to existing technologies in the cellular world: each base station records the time of arrival of the signal from the device and a position is calculated from that.“

So far the location precision announced by Semtech (LoRa silicon vendor) in its 3GPP standard contributions is between 10 and 100 meters. But Sagemcom is confident on the fact it could be improved depending on wireless conditions and density of network.

“Unlike in a cellular network where a device “talks“ to a limited number of antennas, in a dense LoRa network each device signal is received on average by 12 and up to 20 antennas. Obviously each additional antenna adds precision to the location of the object,“ added Lestable.


Dive into Location Accuracy in Mobile Advertising with PlaceIQ Chief Scientist

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) produced this week an interesting webinar featuring Jonathan Lenaghan, Chief Scientist at PlaceIQ. In this webinar he explained in details what are the challenges of location accuracy in mobile advertising.

Lenaghan clearly explains how the location data is generated by the phone, how it is made available to the app, and how this is finally passed to ad networks, detailing the problems that can happen at each stage.

Lenaghan is then pointing out how these inaccuracies can be mitigated and how his company is also fighting fraudulent data that has also become a large part of inaccuracies.

Watch the webinar below:

Technology Helps Wireless Operators Compete in Beacon, Retail Intelligence Market

ip.access, a UK-based provider of small cell technology has entered the market of micro-location and retail intelligence with presenceCell, a solution to be implemented by wireless operators.

Instead of relying on “over-the-top“ smartphone technologies such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, presenceCell leverages the SIM card data of mobile phone to identify the presence of consumers at a specific place.

“Unlike other solutions on the market presenCell doesn’t require visitors to have bluetooth or Wi-Fi switched on, or an app, or even to have a smartphone,“ explained Gavin Ray, senior vice president of product and marketing at ip.access in a discussion with GPS Business News at the Location Based Services Conference recently held in London.

The proximity detection is performed by a small device that mimics a network and identify the SIM card of subscribers. Depending on the needs the detection can be implemented in a perimeter of five to ten meters, or even a bit less.

The technology – that requires the opt-in of the mobile subscriber – can be used for various cases. First this technology might be used as a pure retail analytics solution that measures the presence in-store. The interesting thing here is that the operator managing the solution also has a wealth of data about its subscribers: demographics, home address area, etc., so the in-store analytics can be enriched with a lot of (anonymous) data about the visitorship that goes well beyond a “blind“ analytics solution.

But presenceCell can also be used as a one to one marketing tool much like iBeacon, for example sending a text message to a subscriber about a promotion when he enters the store.

Another UK company, Path Intelligence, also uses cellular signal to determine footfall at retailers, however their solution is fully independent from wireless operator, there is no possibility to get additional demographic data about this visitor or even to send an opt-in message. In working with wireless operators presenceCell can go beyond that level of intelligence.

presenCell is already used by Vodafone Turkey and two other – unnamed – operators, one in the United Kingdom and the other in Spain.

“presenceCell offers a new opportunity to wireless operators to monetize their network,“ concluded Gavin Ray.

Apple Confirms Mapping Car Fleet, Details Location of Campaigns

Apple published a new page on their website indicating that “Apple is driving vehicles around the world to collect data which will be used to improve Apple Maps. Some of this data will be published in future Apple Maps updates.“

This confirms that the Apple cars seen on the road in various U.S. States (read here) with high tech gear on the rooftop are not self-driving experiments but mapping vans.

Apple is not detailing precisely what the data collected will be used for. However the company hints at a “street view“ type of product saying: “we will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication.“

But Apple is providing detailson where the mapping cars will be driving: United States, England and Ireland (between June 15 and June 30).

Apple Global Maps?

This news obviously is a bit threatening for TomTom who is the major map data supplier to the Cupertino company.

However, this is only a long term threat. If Apple really wants to have their own maps – and this is a “if“ – they are not going to have a global coverage anytime soon.

As Google proved it takes many years when starting from scratch (even with billion of GPS probes). TomTom, by the way, just announced an extended period for its contract with Apple (read here).

Mapbox Signs up MapQuest to its Map Platform

U.S. digital map portal MapQuest yesterday announced that map design and infrastructure platform Mapbox has become its partner to power its next generation of products.

“The partnership is aimed at creating fully adaptable, fast-loading, and responsive maps for MapQuest’s world-class mapping solutions. This commercial agreement allows MapQuest to leverage Mapbox’s highly detailed and visually stunning maps tailored to meet the individual needs of its users and business-to-business clients,“ Mapquest wrote in a press release.

MapQuest announced a roadmap of upgrade until the end of the year including: “faster, more responsive MapQuest.com for mobile and desktop, new tablet experience to leverage MapQuest’s fastest growing platform“ and “new mobile experiences including enhanced features for urban users.“

While Mapbox is mostly known for using the crowdsourced, free data from Openstreetmap (OSM), the company can also play nicely with commercial map data from TomTom and Nokia HERE. “We are data agnostic,“ said Eric Gundersen, the CEO of Mapbox, in a phone call with GPS Business News.

After being a long time customer of HERE, MapQuest has been using TomTom data since they signed a multiyear partnership in June 2014 (read here) with the Dutch company. However MapQuest has also been for a long time a supporter of Openstreetmap, AOL launching in 2010 a $1 million fund to support the growth of OSM in the United States (read here).

Whether the TomTom licensing agreement will continue in the future is unknown at this point.

Mapbox on the rise

Created in 2010 in Washington D.C., Mapbox raised $10 million in a series A round in October 2013 (read here4462). Mapbox has been differentiating from the competition through customization and design and the use of Openstreetmap as the raw map data. The coverage growth and rising accuracy of Openstreetmap database, plus the decision of Google to make developers pay for Google Maps in 2012 (read here) were two significant drivers in Mapbox growth.

With Mapquest Eric Gundersen, the CEO of Mapbox, is adding one more large customer to a list that already include many well known companies such as Foursquare, Pinterest, Github, Evernote, Runkeeper or National Geographic to name just U.S. based clients. International media such as Financial Times, The Guardian, Die Zeit and Le Monde are also customers.

Mapquest is a a significant customer because it still represents 20 percent market share of the U.S. mapping platforms – according to market research firm Comscore – playing hard against massive competitors Google and Apple.

“Mapbox currently has 5,000 paying customers“ said Gundersen. “In May our solution was used by 50,000 developers.“