Gimbal’s Smaller Battery-Free Beacons Connect Directly To Cash Registers

As the proximity marketplace becomes ever more crowded, a promise of less friction is how Gimbal plans to differentiate.

The new, battery-free Gimbal Proximity Beacon U-Series 5
The new, battery-free Gimbal Proximity Beacon U-Series 5

In keeping with the location-based services version of Moore’s Law, where technologies like beacons become smaller and more powerful, Gimbal’s latest proximity marketing device is not only miniaturized further, it’s also more “plug-and-play” than many competitors’ models.

The new Gimbal Proximity Beacon U-Series 5 is the San Diego tech company’s tiniest Bluetooth-powered product to date. That’s mostly thanks to its USB connectivity, which allows the beacon to remain “battery-free.” And with the USB, this new Gimbal beacon can plug into computers, vending machines, televisions, cash registers and anything else with an accessible port.

A Gimbal rep also says that its new beacon line is easier to set-up “with virtually no maintenance involved and no data lines for device security.”

Competition Gets Bigger/Beacons Get Smaller

Proximity-based marketing will drive about $5 billion in spending by brands by 2019, according to a report this past spring by local media analyst Borrell Associates. However, despite the location marketing industry’s mania for beacons, many retailers are still unsure about the device’s efficacy to spur greater in-store sales.

For example, when Borrell asked if SMBs were already engaged with beacons (or other proximity devices), a mere 3 percent said “yes.” More than half said they weren’t, and the rest said they didn’t think beacons applied to what they do, or didn’t know one way or the other.

For the past few years, Gimbal has been working to build one of the largest beacon networks. The company’s name is related to the support system of a gyroscope, which is particularly useful for orienting a device for location and direction, and it has struck a number of high profile partnerships, including deals with PlaceWise Media, Marketo, Shazam, and Verve Mobile, after initially getting attention for installations throughout AEG’s network of concert and sports venues, including The Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Gimbal's Kevin Hunter
Gimbal’s Kevin Hunter

But despite the basic ease of use that most beacon providers can claim, Gimbal is aware that as these tools capture more attention from retailers and brands, this is no time to stand still.

“The main benefit of the USB form factor is the flexibility our customers now have to enable their existing devices with beacon functionality. Packaging it in a small, battery-free option allows for hassle-free maintenance and makes the solution additionally attractive for large deployments,” said Kevin Hunter, Gimbal’s COO. “U-Series 5 beacons provide an easy and affordable solution to engage mobile audiences and bring proximity-based technology to an even broader footprint to further bridge the digital and physical worlds.”

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.