With the whirl of buzz around event mobile apps and the pursuit of constantly improving the attendee experience, Apple has released iBeacon at a pivotal time for the event industry. Personalization being among the top priorities for 2014 will lend way to more push notifications, RFID technology, and now indoor positioning systems. Many companies, including Major League Baseball (MLB) have begun to implement and experiment.
Initially it seemed a bit creepy and invasive to think someone is essentially tracking your moves, but in the scenarios from Chris Velazco’s article about Citi Field’s implementation, it appears to be a win-win for all. Through Bluetooth technology for both Android and iOS users, visitors to the ball park receive welcome messages upon arrival to the stadium, discount offers as they approach vendors, and recommendations guiding them to the closest available seats.
This location based content shared through iBeacons and mobile apps will dramatically enhance attendees’ meeting and event experiences; the question is how? The logistics will vary depending on how they're used. Will hotels or conference centers integrate the beacons onto their properties and if so, how can event professionals leverage the technology? Will vendors rent the Bluetooth technology to planners and allow them to integrate with their mobile apps? Event planners could then monetize the opportunity and promote the beacons to their exhibitors.
So how can eventprofs can take advantage of this opportunity?
- Create welcome notifications or videos as attendees enter the hotel or tradeshow floor.
- Drive engagement between social circles, letting attendees know when their followers/associates/friends are nearby or attending the same sessions.
- Gamification is a big one! From scavenger hunts to push notifications, interactivity will reach new levels.
- Exhibitors and sponsors could pay to distribute offers or sales pushes, maybe even video demos as attendees approach their booths.
Those are just a few options for event professionals wanting to drive more relevant content, engagement and personalized experiences. We expect to see mass implementation throughout the year and various creative methodologies.
A more recent example of implementing the technology took place this month in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2014). Through their event mobile app and gamification the team created a scavenger hunt allowing attendees to collect badges and prizes while encouraging engagement.
From travel to accommodations and major event highlights, iBeacon will certainly enhance the event experience. The technology is still new, particularly for the meeting and events industry, so there are many unknowns, but the challenge is upon us to push the boundaries of interaction. How would your team take advantage of these indoor positioning systems?
Photo credit: nvidia.corporation