Research Predicts Huge Growth in Local Search & Data Discovery Apps

Recently published Juniper Research predicted that the amount of revenue generated by found Local Search & Discovery apps will increase dramatically from last year’s figure of $13 billion to over $44 billion by 2020. The predicted huge increase in app advertising and location targeting is likely to happen because of the emergence and refinement of proximal wireless technologies.

What Does This Mean?

The kinds of Local Search and Search & Discovery apps and the technology highlighted by the research are e.g. the deployment of Bluetooth beacons in indoor retail settings in order to develop proximity marketing services.

A Bluetooth beacon installed in a shop in a shopping centre for example can broadcast signals to apps on smart devices e.g. smartphones, or web browsers that are nearby. This means that someone entering or passing close to the shop can be sent contextually relevant content and marketing messages (proximity marketing services). These can be combined for example with ‘asset tracking technology’ which uses tracking, barcodes, GPS, or RFID (that broadcasts location) to track physical assets.

This allows the retailer to use personalised offers based on their real-time stock levels. The potential marketing value of this new combination of technologies has led Juniper to predict that retailers could be spending as much as $2.4 billion annually on beacons and asset tracking in 2020.

Technology Drivers

The drivers of this predicted growth are a variety of rapidly improving technologies such as LTE-Direct (a device-to-device technology that can discover other devices and their services in close proximity), Bluetooth, Ultra-Wide Band / UWB (a radio technology for short-range, high-bandwidth communications over a large portion of the radio spectrum), and Wi-Fi FTM (Fine Timing Measurement).

Engaging Customers in New Way

The Juniper Research also highlights how the commercialisation of LTE-Direct will provide new possibilities for vendors and end-users. For example proximal discovery technology such as listening devices could receive offers, news or be notified of events within the vicinity, thereby increasing the scope for proximity communications.

Potential in Other Industries

The research also sees scope for the increased use of these technologies in other industries such as agriculture. Juniper highlights how falling costs for precise positioning technology could drive growth in the precision agriculture industry to help with efficiency. Although there are opportunities for data analytics services to use location data in agriculture it is thought that companies lack the expertise to maximise its potential at the present time.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

At present there are still many opportunities to be discovered about how and where these technologies can be deployed.

Most obviously though, if you are a retailer in / near a busy retail environment e.g. shopping centre or mall, you have the opportunity to conduct smarter, more targeted, context specific marketing and to present offers to nearby potential customers that link directly to the stock that you have available in that specific location / outlet.

Smarter marketing, tighter targeting, and the ability to get information from and communicate with customers via their mobile devices nearby or in your controlled retail setting could translate into more sales and greater awareness of your brand and services.