The Sensor API is Here

May 26, 2016
Birte Steen
VP Strategic Partnerships & Business Development

According to Proxbook Q1 Report, the fragmentation of the beacon market is continuing as the number of beacons deployed grew from 4M to 5M from Q4 2015 to Q1 2016.

More than 350 different proximity and beacon providers are operating in the proximity space within a substantial amount of geographies and verticals which are further adding to the fragmentation. Unacast predicts that there will be more than 500 Proximity Solution Providers (PSPs) by the end of 2016, which according to ABI Research will share an estimated deployment of 8M beacons. This super-fragmentation will only increase as we move towards ABI Research estimated 400M beacons deployed by 2020.

A rich understanding of physical behaviour is one of the core strengths of using sensor technology like beacons, but that potential is typically not maximized. Bluntly speaking, sensors are just dumb pieces of hardware that broadcast location information. As the backend of proximity connected to 1,4M beacons through our current network of 52 PSP, we see first hand the level of sensor data quality coming from our partners. Everyone collects data in different ways which limits the ability to find matches with online behaviour and create rich audience segments that can be monetized and create incremental revenues.

The real value of beacons will come when someone attaches context to them and house all of those disparate sources in one single network - the Unacast PROX API. We have taken on the responsibility to harmonize all sensor data so that it can be easily monetized by our partners. In this blogpost, I will explain why our partners integrate all their clients’ sensors into the PROX API.

Unacast PROX API ensures optimal capture of context

In order to capture as much context as possible from the interactions with beacons Unacast has created a “Sensor Location Context Hierarchy”. This means you can connect your sensors to Venue Groups (a chain), Venues (a store), Place (a mall), Section (a department in a store) etc. All sensors in a Venue will automatically share that venues tagging context. The feedback from our partners is that this saves time because they already have a standard structure to follow that harmonizes all the data they collect, simplifies administration and ensures good context around the location of a beacon.

The best way to mass update your sensors

By integrating all sensors and structuring it according to the hierarchy in the PROX API, our partners get access to an easy to use interface where they will see all their sensors with functionality that eases the management and tagging of the sensor fleet. They will be alerted with a “Sensor Completeness Score” which informs about the extent to which their beacons are optimally structured and tagged. They will for example, be informed about shortcomings and receive suggestions on how to fix them and even improve tagging for further enrichment. Sensors can be mass updated to maximize efficiency.

Sensors are not shared with anyone

Integrating the sensors to the PROX API is completely safe and they can not be seen by others than our partner and Unacast. Our partners get a secure and personal login and Unacast puts our pride in ensuring that the data protection measures are included from the start.

Increase capturing of data beyond your own app

One of the biggest challenges in reaching scale within proximity is the need for a widely distributed application that can capture the beacon interactions. By making their sensors available in the PROX API, Unacast can match widely distributed apps’ interactions with our partners’ beacons. Thereby our partners can increase the captured audience beyond their own apps, and ensure a revenue share between the parties.

The shortest road to monetization of your data

In order to monetize proximity data it needs to be structured into specific audience segments that can be understood by advertisers and media platforms. In order to build for example a sports segments that can be presented and sold to advertisers within sports, Unacast has to understand the context of the beacons, i.e. this sensor is placed in the men’s running shoes department of this particular retailer in this geographical area. The more specific the audience segment can be, i.e. the more context, the easier it becomes for Unacast to monetize your audiences and bring revenue back to our partners.

If our partners want to collaborate on data through uNetwork by aggregating audience segments across PSPs in order to increase scale which is impossible to generate individually to attract more advertisers and revenue, all sensors need to be integrated into the PROX API. Ensuring that all sensors speak the same language is the only way data sets from different PSPs can be paired and aggregated.

One of the added benefits of being a PROX partner is that Unacast gets contacted directly by retailers and brands that want to monetize their data. For us to channel, these leads to the right partner we need to know where our partners have sensors. By integrating all sensors in the PROX, API Unacast can see where our partners have their foothold and thereby drive demand to the right partners.

Unacast maximizes the quality of your proximity data for you

Unacast PROX partners don’t need worry about how well their sensors are structured and tagged. Unacast has built a system that takes care of this so that our partners can focus on their core business and sign more customers. As soon as a new client is added to the client base, their sensors will be integrated with the PROX API. This way our partners are making sure the quality of the data is maximized and can be monetized from day one.