Bluetooth Beacon Ecosystem Profit and Risks

There’s an interesting article by Stephen Statler at StreetFightMag on Bringing Brands Into the Fold, inMarket Touts Its ‘Three-Sided’ Beacon Network. The article is based on an interview with Todd DiPaola, CEO of inMarket on How to build a profitable Beacon enabled advertising network for brands, apps and venues.

The article questions how to make money with beacons and says Todd:

joked that many of his competitors behave like “non-profits,” given the rate they are burning through cash

There are many, perhaps hundreds of, businesses in the beacon ecosystem that aren’t sustainable and are dependent on initial bootstrap funding. This raises two questions 1) What risk does this pose to their customers? and 2) How can companies in the beacon ecosystem actually make money?

As we mentioned in our article on Trigger Data and Beacon Servers, probably the largest consideration is whether some of these startups will continue to be around as long as your solution. Many retail-targeted solutions are struggling to sell beacons to retailers. Also, no one solution or beacon is good for all usecases, especially if move outside retail.

On risks, think about choosing and using platforms and beacons in such a way so they can be easily swapped out should your supplier significantly raise prices or go out of business. Have a second-sourcing strategy even if it’s only in your head.

On profit, take the lead from Todd DiPaola’s inMarket (the interviewee) or even ourselves. Avoid trying to make profits from beacons, make money from something else that uses them. InMarket make money by selling innovative contextual-based (advertising) services, that sometimes uses beacons, to brands. We make money from beacon software development. Beacons are a way of strengthening existing business models to produce more profit. It’s much more difficult to have beacons support a profitable business model in they own right.