About beacons and their value for your event

Have you ever heard of “beacon”, but not quite sure what it is and how it can add value to your event? Then read the following article to get an outline of the definition and use of beacons:

What are beacons?

The name was initially coined by Apple when they released the iBeacon in 2013. It is the enabling software to alert apps or websites when an user approaches or leaves a certain location with a transmitter (called “beacon”). Based on Bluetooth Low Energy, the technology can locate the receiving device of the user, for example a smartphone with an installed mobile app that has been configured for the signals. Compared to GPS, beacons locate receiving devices more precisely and are thus perfect for event venues.

The key benefit of the beacon: Whenever a person comes near the transmitter, the event organizer can push messages to the attendee.

Some companies which offer the development of customized event apps, like CrowdCompass by Cvent for example, support the use of beacons. Thus, when attendees have downloaded the event app and have turned on their Bluetooth, they can receive those messages via the app.

How can beacons add value to your event?

On an event this technology can be extremely useful for the following reasons:

Gamification

Beacons are a perfect way to involve your attendees in your event. When getting close to a certain location, beacons can ask them questions, inquire a quick feedback or encourage them to try new things! You can reward them for their engagement by providing coupons for food/beverages or free gifts. It is even possible to create a competition of who collected the most points for certain actions. A great example for this gamification in action was the beacon powered scavenger hunt at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in 2014.

Information delivery

As mentioned above, the beacon technology can be used to provide helpful information to the attendees. If you host a conference, information about the agenda or about keynote speakers can be announced. Or imagine that changes of venues have to be made in short notice. Attendees can be informed straight away of those modifications. If you host a festival, it could be used to give advices about the singers, food or beverage offers nearby. Basically, messages can be pushed to inform guests or promote any kind of product or service.

More interaction

When people receive information on their phones, they are more exposed to offers. Especially, if they get informed about things they can buy or do nearby, it may be more likely for them to try.

Advertisement

Beacons are a great way to place advertisement. It can be offered to sponsors to promote their brand and rise awareness. The additional value is, that beacons provide a possibility to disseminate personalized and location-accurate offers to the users.

Navigation

The use case for this function would be rather big events or festivals. In combination with a floor map, the guests will know exactly where they are and can receive directions to the desired location. But it does not only have advantages for the guests, but also for the event producer. Overcrowded areas can be made visible and be dealt with accordingly.

The more you think about it, the more opportunities evolve from beacons to delight your guests. If however some users are annoyed with it, they should have the possibility to unsubscribe from the notifications.

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