Imagine walking through Park Plaza Mall in Little Rock and receiving an alert on your smart phone. It seems the shirt you were wanting at the Gap is on sale. The message tells you to visit in the next 15 minutes for 30% off. That is smart shopping.
This is the kind of shopping Little Rock-based bfonics is helping to facilitate with their iBeacon technology platform. Proximity marketing is marketing to individuals based on their proximity to the retailer and bfonics is working to be a leader in the field.
bfonics launched in late 2014 according to founder Unni Peroth, and the concept began earlier that year. Talk Business & Politics profiled Peroth earlier this year. The company leverages the use of Apple’s iBeacon technology to provide customer engagement for retail and other industries. According to the company’s website:
“bfonics is an enterprise class proximity marketing platform. Our vision is to enable retail providers to effectively engage with their customers and create meaningful shopping experiences for them.
“Our products & solutions help retailers to leverage cost-effective mobile technology to connect with their customers and offer customized deals. Our end-to-end, proximity-based mobile marketing solution uses the ‘iBeacon’ Technology from Apple to seamlessly integrate digital and physical worlds.
“We offer ‘Smart beacons’ along with mobile solutions to provide you with the best of value. But we are also flexible to integrate our solutions to your existing beacons as well.”
Talk Business & Politics recently quizzed Peroth about progress at the company.
TB&P: When was the bfonics launch date?
Peroth: We started working on the concept in the second quarter of 2014. We officially launched bfonics in the fourth quarter of 2014. bfonics is an Arkansas-based C corp, based out of Little Rock, but has offices and/or a presence in Europe (Ireland and UK) and Asia (Middle East, South East Asia and India).
TB&P: What kind of problems are you solving?
Peroth: Real time consumer engagement for brands and organizations is challenging and expensive. Brands struggle to maximize the sales potential of existing customers after considerable time and money was spent acquiring and driving them to the store.
Cities across the globe fail to communicate and engage the public in real time, which is one of the major challenges faced by cities in their journey towards becoming ‘smart cities.’
We help brands and organizations to create real time consumer engagement using beacon and WiFi technologies. We help to provide the best urban experience by providing the technologies and tools to create real time public engagement.
TB&P: What have been some of the biggest obstacles thus far?
Peroth: Beacon Technology is fairly new. Brands and organizations still need awareness. Less than 20% of the major brands and (retail) businesses have a clear mobile strategy defined.
Cities do not have a mobile communication strategy. We are yet to have WiFi access throughout cities. Data is still expensive in most parts of the world.
Beacon technology requires the smart phone users to download a mobile app and enable bluetooth. Finding the right start up talent … is a challenge.
TB&P: bfonics will be successful if …
Peroth: We believe we already are successful and with the right team, right product and with a fairly open target market, we are here to make a difference.
TB&P: What was the ultimate “milestone” moment for bfonics?
Peroth: Our ultimate milestone moment was once we realized that we have a great product that is capable of solving a problem. Another milestone moment will be when we begin getting more traction from international markets.
TB&P: Where do you hope to be in the next five years?
Peroth: We want to build bfonics as one of the major players in the selected markets (U.S. and Global) in the real time consumer/public engagement tool provider. (We want to) build beacon networks throughout the public areas, across all the major urban areas and play a major role in building future, smart cities.