The 411 on HotSpot's Beacon Technology

Beacons have played a major role in communication for a lot longer than we think. From lighthouses to radio signal towers, and guiders to illuminators, beacons have helped sailors find their way to shore and aircraft to a landing base. Although beacons are still used in this capacity today, they have evolved into small devices that connect people through technology.

What am I referring to? These right here:

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At HotSpot, we are using beacons to connect businesses to their downtown shoppers.

Our beacon connection happens through Bluetooth, or BLE, which is provided through our Kontakt iBeacons. With this Bluetooth connection, we're able to connect the beacons to apps on smartphones. When beacons come into contact with smartphones with these apps, some form of notification will go off on the smart phone, all depending on what app it's linked to. For users of HotSpot, it's parking validation or a notification to leave feedback after visiting a store.

With this technology, merchants or small business owners get access to a dashboard to monitor their entire customer journey and strengthen it through different engagement tools, with the ability to view the success of these efforts.

Mobile Advertisements

Our mobile ads allow businesses to reach their customers at the point of opportunity; the moment they arrive in the downtown. This service allows merchants to share updates, events and on-going promotions that are important for their customers to see. The analytics show how many customers an ad reaches and the number of store visits as a result.

Parking Validation

This technology provides businesses with the ability to provide parking validation to their customers automatically (hands-free) (left image) or by simply having the customer tap their phone to the provided beacon (right image). It’s been proven that when a customer's parking is validated, they’re likely to spend 13% more time in store.

Feedback Feature

Once the customer leaves the business, they are prompted to provide feedback and rating on a one to five star scale. These comments are provided directly back to the merchant in a private communication stream, rather than the traditional feedback services that are often made public. We prompt the best customers to export their positive feedback to Trip Advisor and Yelp, showing potential customers real reviews, from real customers.

Beyond small businesses, we also use our beacon technology for Downtown Associations and Business Improvement Districts.

This downtown-wide beacon network is connecting shoppers, merchants and the business community like they’ve never been connected before.

Through collaborating existing city parking data with data from downtown beacons, we’re able to generate real-time information in a single integrated city dashboard. By analyzing real-time sensor data, the BIA/DTA is provided with a holistic view of city wide data- such as in-store traffic heat maps and parking concentration, allowing for better planning and cost structure management. These downtown agencies are also able to promote their downtown through mobile advertising while also collecting private feedback on downtown shoppers’ experiences.

At HotSpot, beacons provide us with the communication channels to situate small businesses and downtown associations in positions of success, to find their “lighthouse” or their “landing ground”. We do this all for the purpose of giving small businesses leverage to be more competitive, which leads to the development of thriving downtowns and strong local economies.