Grand Rapids startup is a beacon for digital media

GeLo is a Grand Rapids-based startup that wants to transform how organizations communicate with people both indoor and outdoors.

Traditionally, some organizations  have used printed signs or an embedded multimedia presentation that need costly hardware to communicate specific information about a physical display, product or site.

GeLo uses beacons (low-cost, battery-powered pieces of hardware small enough to attach to walls), a cloud platform, and mobile apps to augment the nearby physical world with digital, multimedia content delivered directly to a smartphone or tablet using a Bluetooth signal.

Potential customers include zoos, museums, transit centers, retailers, expos, trade shows and park systems.

The firm was established two and half years ago by Chris Byrne. It now has a team of six and is located in the GR Makers space at 401 Hall SW.

Al Juarez, vice president of sales and marketing, outlines the development process for GeLo and identifies next steps: "Our major milestone came in November with our official launch of our product on a Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) sponsored webinar."

Juarez says in January, the GeLo team then made a decision to focus its efforts on two markets: the "white label beacon market" and the museum market. "The white label beacon product satisfied customers who may have their own  platform and are seeking beacon hardware," says Juarez. "We've begun selling beacons for applications ranging from industrial settings to bars/restaurants to the L.A. Zoo. For the museum market, we are creating an end-to-end solution capped off with a beautiful mobile app called GeLo Spaces."

Spaces initially will help museums to create a branded digital experience exclusive to their organization, but Juarez says the app will open the door to many other markets. "Although we are beginning with museums, GeLo Spaces is a versatile mobile app which has applications anywhere indoor location services augmented experiences can be created," he says.

To learn more about GeLo you can visit their site here. Juarez says the firm does anticipate hiring more staff in 2014 as they add new customers.

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor
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