Airships were the first aircraft capable of controlled powered flight, and now Urban Airship is taking that same sense of innovation and control into the mobile airspace with Urban Airship Connect.
The marketing text reads: “Urban Airship Connect is the industry’s first real-time mobile data streaming service that unlocks the full potential of real-time, user-centric mobile information for every part of a business, with +50 connectors to business systems that enable marketers & data analysts to put mobile insights to work in just a few clicks”.
In layman terms this means that clients of Urban Airship can now access an increasingly bigger set of services through their existing technical integration, and from today one of those services is Unacast PROX, the world’s largest proximity network. In practice, this means that Urban Airship Connect provides individual level profile data to enrich Unacast's proximity targeting with behavioural info.
“Unacast offers a great example of how open data unlocks more value for brands and the customers that interact with them,” says Mike Musson, SVP of Strategy and Business Development, Urban Airship. “Using Unacast’s integration with Urban Airship Connect, brands can share anonymous, user-level location data to a global proximity network enabling more relevant digital advertising based on consumers’ offline behaviors.”
Urban Airship has one of the most popular mobile SDKs in the world, included in more than 30,000 (!) apps with over 2 billion (!) app installs, powering mobile engagement for more than 1400 (!) companies. These companies include Sky News, NBC Universal, Adidas, Marks & Spencer, Airbnb. And many, many more.
To put those numbers (!) into context, this make Urban Airship's mobile engagement platform 4x larger than all of its primary competitors combined.
So, Urban Airship is a major player in the mobile space, but why are they now opening up their product with Urban Airship Connect, and connecting to companies like Unacast? What does it mean, and why is this so meaningful?
What does Urban Airship Connect really mean for clients?
First of all, from a mobile industry perspective, it means that the world of mobile engagement products and analytics is becoming more open, enabling the always important client-in-charge to put together a more compelling and powerful product portfolio, fitting that particular client’s needs.
With more and more apps getting more and more bloated by SDK’s from various partners, Urban Airship points the way forward by acknowledging that getting the SDK in the app is only the first leg of the journey, and that a mobile marathon can only we won by opening up to the rapidly innovating global tech scene. Instead of maintaining the historically proven faulty, but still favorite, position of a walled garden approach, Urban Airship Connect signals that also major players increasingly see that the way to stay on top, is to invite the world in, not by keeping it out. With some clever engineering, channeled into powerful API’s, and with strategic partnerships struck, Urban Airship can “over night” provide an even more compelling product to their clients, negating the need for them to look elsewhere for future-proof solutions.
The airship they have already boarded can now easily fly them to any destination.
Secondly, and from an innovation and technology perspective, it means that clients of Urban Airship, will going forward have access to a growing proximity industry and to sensors around the world, made available through Unacast PROX.
Proximity is one of the new brave frontiers for customer communication, and it is forecasted that over 400 million beacons will be deployed by 2020, by over 500 PSPs* all over the world. Unacast operates the world’s largest network of these sensors, so that retailers, brands, advertisers, app owners and the list goes on, can access these data sets from Unacast's one API, one backend, and now also through Urban Airship Connect.
*PSP = Proximity Solition Provider, or in this particular case Urban Airship
So what is Proximity and how can you use the power of Proximity?
Proximity is in short a way of getting (literarily) closer to the physical end consumers and closer to any object or place. Compared to GPS, which is a fixed place on earth, Proximity is accurate, connected to the context (the what, why and where), compatible with indoor locations, and can easily be connected to digital channels.
Let us suggest three use cases:
- Tinder 2. You want to provide a more detailed dating app, enabling the end user to only be able to swipe left and right on potential dates within one physical location, say the night club or coffee shop you are currently in. Proximity can create these virtual chat rooms based on accurate physical closeness, and thus power the next generation of context aware apps. And Unacast PROX delivers this at scale, so you don’t have to yourself deploy millions of sensors.
- Now you see me, now you don’t. Say you operate a shopping mall, and even with sensors installed, you have no idea of what your end users are doing in the 30-day delta between visits. Did he or she mostly visit sport stores, travel or hang out at the beach? By connecting to Unacast PROX, and what we internally call the physical cookie, an aggregated anonymous insight into the physical end user profile is available. Use this insight to get end users back to your location, and to deliver relevant communication. Remember, the only difference between advertising and communication is relevance.
- Omnichannel, for real. Omnichannel is such a widely used word, that is it starting to lose meaning, but let’s forget that for a minute and focus on what it really does imply: The ability to communicate and continue to communicate with the end user no matter where he or she is. Traditionally that has meant an ambition to follow the end user from digital channel to digital channel, but you can now add physical locations and communication to that mix. Unacast PROX enables you to seamlessly jump between physical and digital domains, as the end user is already doing hundreds a times each day, to make sure the message is delivered and the desired action achieved.
So make no mistake, Urban Airship Connect is truly meaningful, and it means that the client wins. And by letting the client win, the entire industry wins. It’s no longer about owning the SDK, it’s about owning the best products.
The mobile airspace just got a lot less crowded, and that means that there is more room for innovation.
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