January 30, 2012
The future of mobile notifications is here.
Scenario: You’re running Coachella – a wildly popular indie, hip hop, and electronica music festival based out of Indio, California. You want to step up your user experience this year, and because of its ubiquity, you know that mobile devices are right route to make this happen.
However, you quickly discover that there are two problems. One: data, whether delivered through 3G or wifi, has a tendency to get backed up when 75,000 people pile into the relatively confined space. Two: Indio is located in the desert, not exactly a cell and data hub.
You know that you can add value to your festival by delivering time and location-specific advertising to thirsty, hungry, and intoxicated (that deadmau5 shirt makes more sense under the influence) concert goers, but alas the technology to make this happen just isn’t there yet.
Actually, it is.
SonicNotify is the first mobile notification system that doesn’t require Internet connectivity to deliver its content.
“SonicNotify delivers content through soundwaves. Not everyone has wifi. Not everyone with wifi has it turned on. The same can be said for bluetooth. By definition, every single phone has a microphone. We wanted to find the medium that everything responds to. That’s what we have built,” says SonicNotify Founder, Jonathan Glanz.
So, now you, the Coachella organizer, using SonicNotify’s technology, have the ability to deliver notifications to concert goers for a variety of purposes.
Around 2:00 pm, when temperatures are creeping toward triple digits, you send a message via speaker system that of course no one hears through the ambient chaos. The microphone in your iPhone, however, does pick up the soundwaves. You feel the vibration in your pocket. There’s a reminder from Aquafina to stay hydrated because the Black Keys are still a long ways from going on stage and you need to stay on your feet until that time.
Or, around 9:00 pm, when Miike Snow is on stage playing his new single “Paddling Out,” you get another notification. It’s a coupon to save 10% when purchasing his new album, Happy to You, from iTunes. Act now, because the offer is only good for the next half hour.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. SonicNotify is not only targeting concerts and festivals, they’re targeting large-retailers, movies, and most of all, television. “The big money for us is in scale and scale is in television,” says Glanz.
And any television show would be missing a big opportunity to not at least hear Glanz’s pitch. SonicNotify doesn’t compete with existing ad channels or programming; instead it adds a whole new, highly targeted, interactive dimension on top of it.
“Take an hour long show for example. Forty two minutes and seventeen seconds of that goes to the show. The advertiser gets the rest. We’re not taking from either allotment. All we’re doing is delivering additional ads in different ways and different situations. We’re creating an entirely new revenue source,” adds Glanz. SonicNotify will be demonstrating this potential in partnering with the upcoming Made Fashion Week whereby the viewers’ mobile devices will be alerted with specific details of the model’s garb when they come on stage.
Technology such as SonicNotify’s has large implications in terms of bridging the gap between advertisement and viewer activity. Imagine watching a commercial for the latest Derrick Rose adiZero Adidas shoe during half time of the Chicago Bulls game. By watching Rose curiously dodge matadors and dunk a basketball in front of a crowd of rowdy Spanish bullfighting fans (?), you can’t help but be drawn to the shoe. But before you can get to your iPad to further investigate, the next Taco Bell commercial comes on, reminding you that you haven’t eaten lunch yet, and your stomach has gained full control of your brain. Adidas’ window just shut very quickly.
If Adidas used SonicNotify’s technology in their application, however, as soon as your phone heard the commercial, a notification would appear and remind you of the shoe. Even after returning from the kitchen, overstuffed sandwich in hand, Adidas’ message would still be there waiting for you – offering you more of the shoe’s specs and a coupon to buy now. Adidas’ window has just reopened.
To be clear, SonicNotify isn’t a mobile app. It’s a platform that integrates with your company’s preexisting mobile app.
Whereby an application like Shopkick incentivizes users for entering into a store, interacting with products, and making purchases, the user experience is still tied to the Shopkick platform. With SonicNotify, a retailer such as Best Buy would have complete control over the content being delivered (including a variety of formats), but with this, they would also have the responsibility for customizing and creating these messages. In essence, businesses have to weigh control and responsibility. If you want the former, you get the latter as well.
That’s why SonicNotify’s primary target is those who have the most to gain, the arenas where ad dollars flow most freely. As Glanz puts it, “We’re busting into the entertainment space.” And there’s plenty of weight to back up his claim. By getting the SonicNotify technology involved in 200 television episodes, four festivals, 180 concerts, and 1,000 stores, their first full year of business would land eight figures of revenue.
Seem a tad optimistic? “We’re currently on pace to exceed all of those numbers, and are in talks with many more interested clients,” adds Glanz.
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