(DGIwire) – Strolling down the streets of St. Étienne, France may become a very different experience in the second half of 2016 than it was previously. The reason? Beacon technology. The city, located in the eastern-central part of the country and home to approximately 172,000 residents, has been completely outfitted with beacons—small, wireless devices that continuously broadcast radio signals via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to nearby devices, usually smartphones and tablets.
In May 2016, Digital Social Retail, a New York-based proximity marketing technology company, successfully deployed beacons throughout St. Étienne, with the aim of transforming it into a “smart city” for shoppers. Although the technology is yet to be fully deployed, the goal is to make individuals in the city aware of events, alerts and other noteworthy items on a regular basis and in real time, no matter where in town they happen to be—via notifications delivered to their smartphones.
The Social Retail® digital convergence platform developed by Digital Social Retail works seamlessly with mobile screen messaging triggered by Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons communicating with iOS and Android devices running Bluetooth®.
The beacons are also expected to enhance the shopping experience in St. Étienne by giving consumers information about which of their preferred stores have the best deals on any given day. Finally, thanks to its beacons, the city will have a wealth of information at its disposal that it could use to plan more efficient operations and identify patterns and trends—such as where traffic is most likely to form, which days see more people out and about, and so on.
“Beacons can provide an intimate channel through which organizations and their audience can communicate,” says Chris Stabile, Vice President of Business Development at Digital Social Retail. “That’s great when it’s just one store leveraging the technology, but at scale, the effect creates a better-connected, more efficient, smarter city. This project in St. Étienne will show our Social Retail® beacons in action and will demonstrate how the modern city may soon operate.”
The initiative in St. Étienne comes on the heels of a separate initiative undertaken by Digital Social Retail in France’s capital city. From October 7 to December 31, 2015, the Rue des Martyrs in Paris was fully equipped with the Social Retail® platform and its beacons. This offered a unique opportunity for pedestrians to stroll down the street while finding bargains, just by downloading the Social Retail® app.
“Capturing foot traffic by pushing offers, deals and discounts to the phones of passers-by makes for a more connected experience for business owners and visitors alike,” adds Stabile. “What we’ve demonstrated in Paris and are now demonstrating in St. Étienne can be expanded to transform the relationship between cities worldwide and their inhabitants.”