Traveltech Lab profile: Beaconia creates platform for proximity communications and marketing

Traveltech Lab profile: Beaconia creates platform for proximity communications and marketing

The co-founder of start-up Beaconia and a founding member of the first London Traveltech Lab incubator was part of a team that invented Bluetooth.

Martin Hudson worked for Eriksson when the wireless technology data standard for transmitting information short distances from computers to mobiles was first created in 1994.

The word Bluetooth derives from the Norse for King Harald Bluetooth, reflecting the Danish heritage of the firm that invented it.

Hudson’s new firm, Beaconia, is one of 13 that has taken up residency in the offices of London & Partners, next door to the Mayor’s City Hall headquarters.

It is exploiting new Beacon technology by creating a platform for developers to create apps that can help companies push promotions, offers and content to mobile phones based on clients’ proximity.

Fast-emerging Beacon technology is relatively cheap, more accurate than GPS-based geo-location mobile phone technology and, crucially, can also be used inside.

The Beaconia app enters the App Store at the end of this month, while it hopes to go live with its first customer, Hackney Museum, in six weeks time.

The London Borough of Hackney commemorates its 50th anniversary this year. The Hackney Museum will install beacons within its premises and visitors with the app able to access content about the exhibition as they move around the museum.

The technology means the museum can adapt, change and curate its content constantly, this is then communicated through the Beacons as and when visitors come within range.

Hudson said the borough will also install beacons outside the museum in places of local interest associated with the exhibit.

Visitors, therefore, will be able to discover for themselves where some of the key historic figures in the borough lived and worked.

“Talking to curators of museums we learned that have very little budget but they have tonnes of content,” said Hudson.

“Depending on the location, the whole look and feel of the app changes. The organiser or business just has to input the content and it changes chameleon-like.”

Beaconia says it has also been talking to football clubs about an idea to offer away fans a different programme on their mobiles to home fans.

The potential applications are limitless, with airports already looking to use beacon technology to enhance the customer experience as well as high street retailers.

To date Beaconia has been privately funded, Hudson said he hopes the Traveltech Lab will be a platform to talk to the travel and tourism industry about its application.

The Traveltech Lab opened officially on Tuesday. It is an initiative from the London Mayor’s official promotional company London & Partners and is being supported by Gatwick Airport.

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