Ad revenues expected to boost with proximity sensors

Large U.S. airports like LAX, JFK or DFW have started to deploy proximity sensors that determines the movement of people travelling through airports. These airports are among the 84% of the world’s airports that see this technology as an opportunity to create new ways to make money off advertising. The data from these sensors can tell the patterns that people move in, where their devices came from and other location-based data.

The total location data sensors installed in every part of the world have grown to 3.5 million as of the third quarter of this year. This means the number of such sensors has grown by 42% or a total of 11.8 million since April of this year. These data are provided by Unacast, a tech firm-partnered proximity sensing company. Unacast partners with companies to use location information for ad revenues.

Proximity sensors detects people’s movements across different areas and acquires digital data from these movements. The data can be used by advertising agencies to determine the tendencies of people and create ads that tailor-fit such tendencies. The accuracy and effectiveness of such data depends on how many proximity sensors are installed in a given area. The number of proximity sensors installed all over the world now totals 6.2 million as of the first quarter of 2016.

Unacast uses a directory named Proxbook as well as related reports to compile data reported by companies that install sensors in different locations. With the increasing number of installed proximity sensors, Unacast is expected to welcome more reports from more companies.

Unacast reports that 49% of all the airports around the world are planning to contact passengers directly through their mobile phones over the next three years. “This means that airports are taking a personal approach. Within the next three years they want to be able to deliver specific information relevant to an individual based on their location directly on their smartphone,” said Unacast CEO and co-founder Thomas Walle. Advertisements will be based on the passenger’s proximity. Adds Mr. Walle: “This is a completely new revenue stream for the airport which hasn’t been possible before. It is already happening, as some airports that have deployed sensors enable concessioners, advertisers and sponsors to tap into the infrastructure.”

According to Rick Belliotti, San Diego International Airport head of technology, and quoted in the Proxbook, their airport deployed around 300 beacons. Mr. Belliotti said that concessioners based in the airport can also use their own apps or the airport’s own app to advertise their products based on the data provided by the proximity sensors.

According to Mr. Belliotti in the above mentioned report: “We have a limited scope of what value our data and the app can provide, so the reason we wanted to develop it is to prove how we can use beacons in an airport and to see what kind of data we have has value. The data generated has immense value, and so we want to figure out how we can manage and leverage that data to help partners, passengers and to grow more revenue for the airport.”

Not all proximity sensors used by Unacast’s technology are beacons although majority of it are. Beacons number to 7 million, while Wi-Fi and NFC number to 2.7 million and 2.1 million respectively.

Retail stores and sports arenas are other customers that use Unacast’s technology. Location trackers are deployed to 93% of Major League Baseball parks, 47% of National Football League stadiums and 53% of National Basketball Association arenas according to a report released by the company last July.

More information can be found at: AdvertisingAge.

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