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Checkpoint Systems brings bulk-encoding solution to Inditex's Zara DCs ••• Gimbal, Urban Airship partner to provide "in the moment" mobile engagement ••• Reteneo offers Bluetooth beacons as a subscription service ••• Two hotels adopt InvoTech's RFID-enabled uniform-management solution ••• Ibotta to deliver rebate offers via Roximity Bluetooth beacons ••• HID Global intros HID Mobile Access, enabling smartphone-based access control.
By Beth Bacheldor

Reteneo Offers Bluetooth Beacons as a Subscription Service

Canadian startup Reteneo is offering Bluetooth beacons as a part of a subscription service. The company's Puck beacon is made with Nordic Semiconductor's RF51822 System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the beacon's Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)—also called Bluetooth Smart—wireless functionality. The Puck is designed to allow multiple retailers and merchants to offer beacon-based services to consumers via a single app—the Reteneo Life app—instead of having to download a separate app for each beacon.

A Reteneo Puck
Reteneo Pucks continuously advertise their presence to any passing iOS or Android Bluetooth Smart Ready smartphone within a range of up to 100 meters (330 ft.). Reteneo is making its Pucks available for a monthly subscription as low as $15 per month, to be delivered ready-to-use beyond a simple set-up and programming procedure. Customers can halt the service at any time, and an opt-in approach enables Reteneo to create custom feeds if a customer wants a private or restricted beacon platform. In addition, no personal information is collected or shared, nor is the user's location tracked via geo-tagging.

With Puck, customers can create content, such as coupons or advertisements, from any computer. That content is stored on Reteneo's cloud-based servers. When a phone with the Reteneo Life app comes within proximity of a Puck, the app sends a request to the cloud servers. The servers can then push any associated content that also matches the end user's stated in-app preferences, in order to determine if the offer is something in which the end-user has expressed an interest. If it is, the user will be immediately alerted of the offer via the app.

All Pucks are remotely maintained by Reteneo as part of the subscription service, and are replaced as required (for example, when their batteries are about to expire). That feature is enabled by identification and battery-level monitoring technology running on the nRF51822's embedded ARM Cortex M0 MCU that anonymously supplies this data. According to Jean-Christophe Titus, Reteneo's president, the beacons do not communicate maintenance and battery information; instead, that data is relayed to Reteneo's servers via the phones and apps as they communicate with the Pucks and request content from the servers. "We monitor the battery level," Titus explains, "in order to be able to send a replacement one to two months before the batteries are depleted."

Reteneo's CEO, Cesar Rego, says he can foresee a day when every retailer or merchant has beacons, but not when consumers are willing to have hundreds of different beacon-compatible apps on their smartphones. What's more, he says, some consumers are already complaining that they have too many apps on their phones. For that reason, his company has designed its beacon platform to work with a single app built to be relevant to all retailers and merchants within a particular locality.

The Puck beacon, the size of a regular hockey puck, contains an nRF51822 SoC, an antenna and two watch batteries. Reteneo chose the nRF51822, Nordic notes, because its ultra-low-power operating characteristics enable the puck to run for an average of two years in continuous operation. In the future, Nordic adds, Reteneo plans to include the nRF51822 SoC feature that lets companies perform firmware updates over the air.

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