Urban Airship Ships iBeacons

We recently introduced a host of real-time mobile marketing automation capabilities that we believe will help usher in a new and more personal era of push messaging. The market’s reaction was fantastic, but it largely focused on one facet of what’s new—iBeacon-based messaging. Sure, iBeacons open up a whole new world of proximity-targeted messaging that meld physical environments with digital experiences with a level of ease and accuracy never available before, but it was clearly our 3D-printed airships created by RapidMade, and powered by beacons from RedBearlLab, that drove the industry’s overt iBeacon focus. All kidding aside, the photo above sparked lots of speculation: no we don’t make beacon hardware, we’re beacon agnostic; yes, our mobile engagement solution integrates with beacons and their proximity data from many of the hardware manufacturers on the market.

Personally, we love what are now the smallest airships in our fleet (you can find some of our largest airships at the end of this post).

David Crow is one of the Airshippers leading our charge into iBeacons, and he thought these airships would be an interesting and protective way to ship beacon samples to customers wanting to experiment with the technology. Initially, he turned to Thingiverse and found a model airship that he made a few alterations to leveraging some 3D modeling classes he had taken. Then he took that model to RapidMade, a Portland-based 3D printing, manufacturing and engineering shop, and its team offered design suggestions, helped him reshape the model, and selected the materials.

Next, the vectored-images became tangible 3D printed airships, made of a gypsum super-glue composite. The whole process turned out great, and given the level of interest in our new mobile marketing automation solution combined with the precise proximity context of iBeacons, we’re working on a program to get these into the hands of customers in our Early Access Program and beyond.

At the end of this week, a crew of Airshippers is headed to SXSW for Mobile Saturday, which will utilize iBeacons. At the same time, David Crow will be boarding a plane bound for London to help William Hill, the U.K.’s largest bookmaker, deploy iBeacons for the annual Cheltenham Festival that more than 250,000 people will attend next week. That’s one of the great things about the Airship—individuals can champion projects, new technologies, or whatever, and see it all the way through, which more often than not results in something awesome in the hands of our customers all around the world.

Here are some of the largest airships in our fleet:

Strapped on top of a pedal pub, we took SXSW 2012 attendees on a wild ride on our mobile, mobile roundtable

Co-founder Adam Lowry gazes at the dirigible that took WWDC attendees including Ina Fried of AllthingsD (now Re/code) on the ride of a lifetime