Ole Miss offering new beacon technology for sports fans
by MBJ Staff
Published: July 8,2014
Tags: app, Apple, athletics, education, Gimbal Inc., higher education, Institution of Higher Learning, Michael Thompson, Ole Miss, public university, Rebels Rewards, Spark Compass, sports, technology, Total Communicator Solution, University of Mississippi
OXFORD — The University of Mississippi has launched the first beacon technology system in collegiate sports using mobile devices and custom programming to enhance the fan experience during games and link to a rewards program.
The new system includes the precision mobile marketing platform, Spark Compass, from Total Communicator Solutions Inc., San Diego and Gimbal Inc.
Michael Thompson, Ole Miss senior associate athletics director, said the Spark Compass platform and Gimbal’s contextual aware proximity platform integrate to deliver personalized, timely and relevant messages to game attendees using more than 100 Gimbal beacons with Apple’s iBeacon technology that is strategically placed throughout athletic venues on the 1,000-acre campus.
The new system and platform will be integrated into an updated Rebel Rewards app created by Total Communicator Solutions, which provides fans, alumni and students with current scoreboard information, game schedules and personalized dashboard content. Ole Miss Athletics will use Gimbal’s industry-leading beacon technology and app to check fans into campus events and deliver relevant notifications, alerts, offers and Rebel Rewards points. Rewards will include branded game-day attire, accessories, game tickets and much more.
“The beacon technology will not only enhance engagement among our existing fans, but continue to grow our loyal fan base,” said Thompson. “The project is the first of its type in collegiate sports to link to a rewards program. We believe it will lead the way to transforming the game day experience.”
Gimbal’s proximity beacons are small transmitters that use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to exchange encrypted data with mobile phone devices. Each beacon activates the mobile phone when it becomes within range and sends a query to the Spark Compass platform. The platform then sends relevant information back to the device based on what the user has opted in for and the exact location of the user.
“Ole Miss has taken a huge technological leap forward in enhancing the fan experience,” said Erik Bjontegard, president and founder of Total Communicator Solutions. “Benefits include faster check in at sporting events, finding a seat within an unfamiliar venue and receiving relevant offers. The technology can also reduce operating costs by automating many manual procedures, such as use of scanners and QR codes. The first Ole Miss home game is Sept. 13 and we are looking forward to tracking fan reaction, analyzing how the system improved the fan experience and seeing what new features might be added.”
Recently, professional sports leagues, have begun planning to install Gimbal beacon systems in venues to drive consumer activity and engagement with teams, players and venues. Data drawn from beacon technology is also used to monitor consumer behavior and decisions, providing timely and relevant data for improving communications and marketing programs.
“Total Communication Solutions continues to bring compelling and innovative experiences to market utilizing Gimbal’s contextual awareness and proximity beacon technology in venues,” said Kevin Hunter, COO of Gimbal Inc. “We are seeing a strong demand in the professional sports world, and Ole Miss is leading the charge to bring it to the collegiate level on their campus.”
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