September 28, 2018
Almost a decade ago, conference life changed drastically with Twitter and hashtags. By following an event’s Twitter account attendees received real-time information on panels, sessions and fostered anonymous dialogue with other attendees. Think of iBeacon as a far more sophisticated way for attendees to interact with one another while staying connected to the event.
iBeacons receive notifications via Bluetooth LE technology. The devices also transmit information. If an attendee walking by a booth or activity has their iBeacon app activated, they will pick up outgoing signals from vendors and event sites. This information can be anything from marketing materials to social invites to schedule changes.
Introducing iBeacons to your event provides attendees with personally tailored event information while improving event crowd control and increasing engagement.
No More Bottlenecks
At first, iBeacons were embraced at sporting events because of their ability to reduce queues and bottlenecking. By transmitting ticket and payment information via Bluetooth signals, attendees were are able to quicken their pace through obligatory conference protocol like check-in lines and till queues, allowing more time to engage with the actual event. However, as you will see in the items listed below, iBeacon technology has been harnessed for even greater purposes.
iBeacons increase attendee interaction and networking but not blindly. Unlike Twitter’s anonymous dialogues with strangers, iBeacon users opt-in to an app that connects them with other, identifiable, attendees. When integrated with LinkedIn, this app provides users with information about the person with whom they are speaking. Thus, awkward conference moments are avoided and purposeful contact time is optimised.
Interaction and Engagement
Additionally, marketers have experimented with social games utilising the technology. iBeacon’s gamification potential has yet to be fully realised but some event organisers have planned scavenger hunts, tours and other competitions that have successfully engaged attendees, prompting them to check-in at various sites and promotional areas.
Aside from games, after opting in to iBeacon, attendees receive practical session updates and conference information tailored for the individual user. Unlike the broad, generic communications received during the entirety of the program, these personalised updates delivered at precise intervals keep information meaningful to the attendee. As many of us can attest, over-saturation breeds disengagement. Selective communications are more meaningful; sophisticated targeting equals greater attendee engagement. When attendees hone in on what is relevant to them they remain enthusiastic and engaged.
A surprising and not immediately obvious benefit to iBeacon’s digital push is the limited need for brochures and paper. Aside from the environmental and economical benefits, less paper translates to less clean-up, less set-up and a sleek, uncluttered convention floor.
Indoor Mapping and Geolocation
Long ago, beacons lit up the night directing sailors and lost souls to safe harbour. Pretty, right? Functional, as well. Though some might find beauty in the technology’s efficiency, iBeacon definitely retains the functional element of its namesake. iBeacon’s geolocation data helps event organisers monitor attendees’ movements and determine optimal lay-outs and set-ups.
From the user end, iBeacon provides interactive maps and guides that enable attendees to visit the sites they find most interesting. This also assists with crowd control and eradicates general confusion and loitering.
London Assembly member Tony Arbour is pushing for iBeacon technology’s use in the tourism industry. He provides an excellent example of how iBeacon integrates geolocation, information and marketing:
“…a tour of London food markets could guide the tourist, via a series of codes or beacons, from one market to another, giving the history of each market, providing up to date vouchers and local dining and of course providing transport advice to the next stop on the route.”
The benefits of incorporating iBeacon technology into your next event are clear and there are countless ways in which to do so.