Making Alpacas Talk — Is There Anything Beacons Can’t Do? and Van Ons appear to be the first companies to combine proximity tech and animals.

We hear about beacons every day from people in the marketing world. Beacons can help engage with customers, beacons can drive up in-store sales, etc. But until today, no one has ever explained how beacons can make an alpaca talk.

That’s right. Thanks to beacon technology, visitors to a Dutch farm called Valleike will be able to hear the “voice” of a friendly alpaca named Cezar who will tell them interesting facts about alpacas, stories about the farm, and engage in educational games.

Cezar, wearing a beacon.
Cezar, wearing a beacon.

Proximity tech company’s Tough Beacon technology was put to use by Dutch company Van Ons and Media599 to develop an iOS app called ‘t Valleike that cooperates with a beacon placed (safely) on the alpaca’s body. When app users come within a certain range of the alpaca (or whatever other animals they use in the future) the beacon sends them a message prompting them to use the app to learn more.

“Our goal was to innovate the way of learning about farms by creating a simple tool which can be used even by children. Beacon technology was an obvious choice as it helps us to offer both a hassle-free visit and a full edutainment experience at once,” explained Bas van der Lans, Van Ons’ technical director.

“We are excited to see such a good implementation of Tough Beacons in the demanding environment that they were designed for — outdoors,” van der Lans continued. “With its resilient construction, it can be easily mounted on various surfaces. While we didn’t envision attaching a beacon to an alpaca when we designed the Tough Beacon, we think it’s a great–and surprisingly adorable–showcase of how durable they are in the real world.” said Szymon Niemczura, CEO at

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Daniel Parisi Daniel Parisi @daniel_parisi_

Daniel Parisi is a New York City-based writer and recent graduate of the University of Maryland. Daniel specializes in coverage of mobile payments, loyalty programs, and the Internet of Things.