By Louis Cooper, Special to Innovation Coast
A Pensacola company uses new technology to send special deals and marketing information to any consumer who can receive text messages and wants them.
It is done without collecting consumer phone numbers, email addresses or other identifying information.
“There are 4 billion mobile phones worldwide,” said Peter Nowak, co-founder of Avisod. Of those, “1.1 billion of them are smart phones, and 3.1 billion are SMS (Short Message Service, or text message) enabled.”
Avisod’s electronic text marketing system, 1&Done, interfaces with a matchbox-sized electronic device called a beacon. Beacons transmit URL-based messages that are received by smartphones and other devices equipped with Bluetooth technology.
With a beacon-receiving app running – usually a free app called Physical Web – smartphone users receive URL-based messages from the beacons. They direct the user to Web pages containing 1&Done e-coupons and/or other information all participating business want customers to see.
Beacon technology is the same used in services that allow consumers to pay for items by tapping their phones on a merchant’s console. 1&Done also includes a redemption system that vendors can use in-store on any device with Internet access.
“1&Done offers all companies, from megas to moms-and-pops, a way to distribute mobile coupons to customers without requiring an opt-in or sign up membership,” Nowak said. “After learning of the 1&Done offers via printed material or a link, customers simply text a keyword to a short phone number to get the 1&Done coupon offer. They’ll then get one redeemable coupon, and they’re done.”
Avisod, founded in 2009 as a software company, developed traditional text marketing software in 2013.
“Avisod was doing very well with a mobile loyalty program, having built up over 50,000 members just through word of mouth and ‘table toppers’ in McDonald’s restaurants,” said Nowak, who also owns six McDonald’s locations in Pensacola.
“Then in 2013, the Federal Communication Commission changed the rules that regulate text messages,” he said. “The FCC required companies transmitting mobile messages to get written permission from everyone receiving those messages that offer and/or provide recurring products or services. So, we pivoted and developed 1&Done.”
Donovan Chau, executive director of Innovation Coast, called the 1&Done product a “technology solution and advantage for customers.”
“The 1&Done service is attempting to cause a disruption to how customers receive sales offerings,” Chau said. “While there may be some existing hurdles with the number of potential customers who have downloaded beacon receiver apps, the overall concept is a sound one.”
Innovation Coast is an alliance of companies and institutions of higher learning in Northwest Florida. The organization works to promote and grow technology and knowledge-based companies in the Pensacola area.
“The local technology community benefits greatly from having Avisod in the area,” Chau said. “Its presence contributes to our emerging community of individuals and businesses that share the common goal of growing the region’s technology sector.”
Nowak showcased 1&Done at the EntreCon entrepreneur expo in downtown Pensacola last November. There, he set up two beacons, one transmitting information about the event itself and one offering deals at McDonald’s.
Avisod is in the process of relocating to a space Nowak calls “Pensacola Socialdesk,” which he hopes will become home to other businesses and nonprofits.
“We were downtown for years but are currently relocating to a two-story, 10,500-square-foot building I recently purchased on L Street,” Nowak said. “Along with Avisod being a tenant, we’ll lease space to other businesses, 501(c)(3)s, startups, and individuals all needing a vibrant, synergistic work space that’s affordable.
“We have a great space and are looking to fill it with great people.”