It's the beginning of Samsung's Developer Conference in San Francisco and the company has decided to start with a bang, with the introduction of a number of new ideas and platforms and the launch of a website promoting its new Proximity service. You might've accidentally (because you're an avid Android fan) heard of Apple's iBeacon, which is an indoor proximity system that allows a smartphone or tablet to perform certain actions when in proximity to an iBeacon. Users install apps on their smart device and receive push notifications from retail stores. It allows users to receive offers and messages from certain retailers. Proximity is a mobile marketing platform similar to Apple's iBeacon, leveraging Bluetooth LE technology.
Despite some similarities between the two rival companies' proximity systems, there are distinct and notable differences. iBeacon is used as a communication protocol, which relies on third party developer support. However, Samsung's Proximity is built on a suite of services, which includes on-site management tools and web consoles for marketers. While iBeacon relies on third party apps from the retailers to provide the user with the point of interface, Samsung is building its own platform-wide Proximity Service app for all retailers to use.
Of course, Samsung's approach will be a benefit to retailers by allowing them to provide offers and targeted marking campaigns to in-store customers who may not have downloaded the store app. However, there is the potential for Samsung users to feel swamped with coupon notifications each time they enter a store – but who doesn't like coupons, right?
Proximity will operate with a variety of low-power Bluetooth LTE beacons and retailers can sign up for Samsung's partner program to enable users to receive their messages. It's as easy as having your Bluetooth turned on while you shop and you can receive coupons, discounts, and advice on which shirt will match those trousers through in-store transmitters. It's not just for retail shops though, as it will provide mobile tours for exhibitions at the museum, provide users with flight information at the airport, and help you make your way around a mall or outdoor complex. It sounds very tempting and we can't wait to get our fingers on Samsung's Proximity!