Swirl a leading software platform recently released a report which mentioned that more than 13 million proximity sensors have now been deployed globally. Sensors have a wide range of application including monitoring air quality, traffic, forecasting rainfall, parking and more. Proximity sensors include beacons, wi-fi hotspots, and NFC technology. The technology has now become an essential component of a smart city with cities like New York deploying sensors to monitor air quality, traffic congestion and energy usage.

India’s proximity sensors market is expected to reach $ 0.43 billion by 2022 and is projected to grow at 9.9% between 2017 -22 as per reports from Mordor Intelligence. In India, the application of the technology has been limited to automotive and material handling applications. With the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT), we are now moving in from sensors to connected sensors. Connected sensors can help companies to get more out of physical assets by monitoring and improving performance. With the rise of a connected ecosystem of devices, the price of the product has dropped by 30% – 70%.

Sensors are now also finding a place at the marketer’s desk. Retailers are using beacons to send push notifications to store visitors. Target is already experimenting with beacons at select stores by going a step further by linking the beacon signal to check whether the customer has also installed Target app on their phones. Major League Baseball is using MEMS and Sensors to track everything that is happening on the field. In India, HDFC Ergo used beacons to create awareness for its vehicle insurance plans in movie theaters as expected the response and recall to the advertisement were higher compared to traditional mediums.

MTS also used the technology to create a ‘talking dustbin’ at NH7 Weekender. The dustbin rewards users with free wi-fi for cleaning the surroundings. When someone dumps trash into the bin it flashes users a unique code which they can use to access free wi-fi.

Putting Sensors to Work for Marketing

Beacons can enable brands to improve customer engagement, enhance indoor navigation, deliver location-based content, monitor people, access control and also monitor assets. Beacons now have been widely accepted by marketers in the retail industry followed by events and museums.

Event organizers are using beacons to enable mobile check-ins and seamless ticketing for attendees. Mobile World Congress used the technology to improve its app engagement by over 235% in 2015. Attendees can also exchange business card by just waving their phones.

Retailers can use digital local signals within the store to understand shopper behavior and provide contextually relevant content. Another scenario is where a retailer integrates offline and online channels by using offline attribution and retargeting engine to connect their mobile audience with in-store location signals.

What’s really redefining sensor story in marketing is the emergence of the Internet of Things. IoT opens new avenues for marketing as the gap between physical and digital declines further.