Gimbal Strikes Proximity Platform Partnership With Event Manager Zerista

The first test of the Gimbal/Zerista alliance is one that makes sense for beacons: connecting the 2,000 attendees at the Bluetooth World conference.

Gimbal’s beacons and geofencing systems will be powering the connections among exhibitors and the 2,000-plus attendees at this week’s Internet of Things-focused conference, Bluetooth World.

Considering that beacons are themselves powered by Bluetooth Low Energy wireless connections, getting most people to use them probably won’t be as much of a challenge as other events.

Its work with Zerista is Gimbal’s first major client since being acquired by The Mobile Majority in December. Earlier this month, Gimbal beacons were used by Zerista’s transportation industry client ISTAT America,  where over 2000 attendees attended and were greeted by over 25 strategically placed Bluetooth devices throughout four floors of San Diego’s Hyatt Convention center.

Zerista, which is owned by Jack Rabbit Systems, provides the digital backing for events’ websites and apps.  Toyota and Tesla are among the major presenters at this year’s Bluetooth World conference, which is being held at the Santa Clara Convention Center from March 28-29th.

Glass Of Half-Full Beacons

It’s been almost four years since Apple unveiled its iBeacon platform, which spurred major retailers such as Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Target to experiment with ways of sending push notifications to its app users while in-store. But even as Google’s Eddystone platform expanded the potential audience of beacons, the friction in terms of reaching more consumers remains a challenge.

In the view of Gimbal, which has pioneered the use of beacons and location technology since emerging out of Qualcomm three years ago, the current state of beacon usage is half-full.

“We are continuing to see an increase in Bluetooth turned on and an increase in location service opt-in from our app partners, which is now on average trending at more than 50 percent user opt-in and even higher for location services,” says Gimbal’s Brian Dunphy.

“We expect this trend will continue to follow the same consumer adoption curve as other mobile technologies, like how location services, and wifi adoption on smartphones,” adds Dunphy, Gimbal’s GM, Enterprise Business.

There are several factors that are helping to contribute to this adoption curve acceleration, Dunphy says, pointing to iOS keeping Bluetooth “on” by default, better batteries in smartphones, the growing use of Bluetooth accessories and IoT devices in general, as well as better in-app experiences that leverage proximity.

“Additionally, apps that require Bluetooth for proximity services are informing consumers to keep Bluetooth turned on for better in-venue experiences which helps consumers understand value proposition trade-off,” Dunphy says. “Some of the partners like the Cleveland Cavaliers have conditioned their users to keep Bluetooth turned on so they can benefit from promotional experiences at events.”

Measuring Success

Zerista plans to complement its suite of products with Gimbal beacons on many other events, roughly small 50 + meeting attendees to large conferences/expos alike.

The main appeal of using beacons in a conference setting is primarily focused on driving attendee engagement. In this sense, unlike a retail setting where experiencing the merchandise with sight and touch is first and foremost, at a conference, wayfinding and being updated on scheduling are the main necessities. And looking to a conference app is the clearest place to get that information.

At Bluetooth World, beacons will be used to point attendees to Showfloor, Specific Zones at Bluetooth World, Keynote Theater to inspire the attendees to listen to talks from featured speakers as well as providing helpful insight into sessions.

“Zerista’s partnership with Gimbal will measure its success by its constant adoption and inclusion of the Gimbal Beacons for Zerista’s customers events,”  Zerista CEO Andrew Van Luchene says. “Ensuring it successful implementation to actual launch and delivery of the Gimbal Messaging is very important to provide each attendee that feature rich experience all while driving attendee behavior.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.