NextNav and Gimble Team Up for 3D Location Data

The location intelligence sector continues to morph into new shapes and sizes as it faces privacy restrictions and other headwinds. This compels leading players to counterbalance restrictions with greater location-targeting capabilities and data sources. That in turn drives lots of partnering and M&A.

The latest move comes with today’s partnership between Gimbal and NextNav. The collaboration will bring NextNav’s signature Z-axis location data to Gimbal’s location intelligence platform. This will give Gimbal’s brand and retail customers a better understanding of their customers’ movement patterns.

Vertical Challenge

As further background, most location data is based on two dimensions: X & Y. These classifications define GPS coordinates for example. As we’ve examined, NextNav adds the Z-axis (height/elevation) to the mix. This can be particularly useful in topographically-varied regions or in cities with multi-level buildings.

For example, when geo-targeting an ad or tracking a given campaign’s foot-traffic attribution, lat/long precision is critical to hit the right geo-fenced target. But how does this work in a multi-level building like a 3-story shopping mall or even a 60 story building that has commercial businesses that occupy lower floors?

Beyond a marketing context, Z-level accuracy becomes more urgent and valuable in emergency response scenarios. When someone calls 911 from the 12th floor of a 40 story building, getting a precise fix on three-dimensional location can shave off response minutes and seconds, meaning life or death.

As for Gimbal, it now benefits from this Z-level awareness. This means that it can better serve existing brand and retail customers in areas like ad targeting and attribution. But it also notably opens the door for functional expansion into new verticals and use cases such as emergency response, as noted.

Does Contact Tracing Need a Third Dimension?


One example Gimbal cites is local order pickup and delivery — a Covid-accelerated area. Gimbal’s On-the-Way SDK lets restaurants pinpoint where a customer is and when their order should be “fired.” NexNav now enables tracking for the vertical stages of that journey, including users that live in high-rise buildings.

Other examples include:

In-Stadium and Venue Sales – Mobile merchandise or food orders can be easily delivered to fans at their seat via advanced vertical location detection.

Improved Customer Service – Locating customers in a department or retail store with multiple levels allows store associates equipped with tablets to better service customers. This creates upsell opportunities and has a loyalty play, as well.

Product Discovery – Triggering notifications or in-app experiences as users pass by floor-specific products allows for location-aware engagement without the need for any additional hardware.

Scaling up

Backing up, you may remember Gimbal from its early lead in last decade’s retail beacon hype cycle. It’s since pivoted towards more broadly-applied location intelligence, which has allowed it to grow into a much larger addressable market. That also means more scale for NextNav’s technology.

“This partnership brings the vertical dimension into the mainstream of location technology,” NextNav VP of Data Partnerships Dan Hight told Localogy Insider. “With Gimbal’s reach and NextNav’s innovative capabilities, mobile apps will finally reflect the 3D world we live in.”

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