Bluetooth beacons are a growing trend in location-based advertising, with major companies like Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. investing in the technology. Beacons are also becoming an increasingly important tool for gathering data related to local trends and foot traffic, as they can track where the crowds are.
Now CultureMap, an online news and review publication with multiple localizations, has announced that it will be deploying several thousand iBeacons to restaurants and businesses around the country. The data from these beacons will provide CultureMap’s mobile app users with keen insights into local trends.
“The people who read CultureMap are interested in where to shop, where to eat and what to do,” Alexander Muse, co-founder of CultureMap’s Dallas-based parent company,, told the Dallas Business Journal. “That was the impetus behind this.”
CultureMap’s beacons will roll out to over 200,000 to restaurants and retail locations throughout the U.S., with around 9,000 being first deployed in Dallas, Austin, and Houston. The first 1000 beacons in each city will be installed free of cost for businesses, and while the first locations will be carefully chosen, CultureMap is also open to other businesses that would like to take part in the program.
Aside from providing users with real-time data about local trends and events, CultureMap also hopes to eventually manipulate traffic by offering deals or other incentives that would draw crowds to specific locales. For example, the app could be used to host bar crawls in certain areas that could award participants with prizes.
CultureMap’s app is not currently available, but it will be released to users in Texas once the first 3,000 beacons are deployed later this month.