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The Top 3 Beacon Technology Apps for Event Planners

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This weekend I decided to attend ISFLC, one of the biggest libertarian conferences in the world. This was not my first time attending this conference but after skipping the past few years, I felt it would be interesting to see what had changed. I was not disappointed.

While the topics were standard for a libertarian conference, the use of technology had significantly improved. This year, ISFLC introduced an online event app embedded for all attendees to use. The app included attendee messaging, venue mapping, event notifications, and schedules to keep attendees and event planners organized and informed. I was proud to see a favorite organization of mine embracing new forms of event management software.

The app improved my experience as an attendee. In years prior, I fumbled around tote bags while searching for the paper schedule the event organizers had handed to me at the entrance.

But the app wasn’t perfect. Specifically, it didn’t make use of beacon technology.

What is beacon technology and why should you use it?

Beacons are small objects placed around venues which emit low energy Bluetooth signals, creating an interactive network for event app users. These beacons create location-based interactions so each event attendee will experience unique behaviors in their event app depending on where they are currently in a venue.

There are five main uses for beacons in events:

  1. Attendee management
  2. Promotion
  3. Navigation
  4. Gamification
  5. Networking

By providing a real-time account of event attendees, beacons create a more accurate representation of attendee behaviors, leading to better metrics reporting for future events. This makes beacons the best friend of number crunchers as well as directionally challenged event attendees.

Cost of beacon technology

In most cases, there are two costs to factor in when investing in beacon technology. The first cost are the beacon devices themselves, which, according to PracticalEcommerce, cost as much as $80 per device, but some cost less than $40 per device.

The second cost is the monthly cost of beacon-enabled mobile apps. Typically, beacon apps are not sold as just beacon apps, but rather as a part of a larger system. In this case, in order to use beacon devices, you will want an event management mobile app which is built around a beacon system.

These apps will include all of the usual event management app features such as social media integration or session scheduling. The difference is all of the enhancements these features receive by working off of a personalized location system, so that event attendees will experience the app in different ways as they trek throughout your venue.

Many of these apps are priced based on the desired features of the client, therefore a solid price range is hard to pin down. In order to find out more about what you will expect to pay for a beacon-enabled event management app, you will have to shop around for quotes from vendors.

The Top 3 Beacon Technology Apps

There are plenty of beacon-enabled apps out there, but many of them are marketed to different industries. Some are made for restaurants while others are made specifically for sporting stadiums. When researching these apps, I chose these three which were made exclusively for event management and have exceptional features lists.

(Apps are listed in alphabetical order.)

1. CrowdCompass Beacons

Beacons is a feature of Cvent’s CrowdCompass mobile event app. CrowdCompass is a guide and notification system which customizes itself based on the personal schedules of each individual event attendee. Using beacon technology, CrowdCompass sends out individual notifications based on location, reminds attendees of contests and upcoming breakout events, and provides integrative maps for attendee check-ins.

Compatible with iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, and all desktop operating systems.

Features:

  • Attendee messaging
  • Social media integration
  • Event “SocialWall
  • Social event games
  • Attendee polling
  • Multi-event management
  • Push notifications
  • Metrics reporting
  • Content management
  • Session pages

2. Event2Mobile Beacons

Event2Mobile Beacons are a smaller slice of a larger event management application offered to event professionals and enterprises. Event2Mobile’s platform offers practically anything that can be asked of current beacon technology, including wireless registration, push notifications, attendee analytics, and integrative polling.

Event2Mobile boasts a seventy meter effective range for their beacons and compatibility with iOS and Android devices.

Features:

  • Venue mapping
  • Photo/video wall
  • Session pages
  • Content management
  • Push notifications
  • Metrics reporting
  • Attendee matching and networking
  • Speaker/sponsor directories
  • Social media integration

3. Eventbase Premium

Eventbase is another all-encompassing event management app which utilizes beacon technology to organize, manage, and engage event attendees. My favorite aspect of Eventbase is their willingness to work with clients to build their app features to the specifications of their customers on top of the established functions.

Eventbase’s beacon features include the standard features such as venue mapping/routing and push notifications, but also include interesting features such as location based augmented reality and gamification. Not only will you be able to account for all of your attendees with beacons, but you will also provide an exciting and engaging event experience with these unique features.

Features:

  • Push notifications
  • Social media integration
  • Venue mapping and routing
  • Personalized scheduling
  • Feature customization
  • Multi-event management
  • Gamification
  • Augmented reality
  • Attendee polling
  • Metrics reporting

Looking for new event technology?

Beacons aren’t the only big thing happening to event technology and if you are looking for new ways to bring your event management into the future, be sure to check out these other Capterra blog posts:

Have you used beacons at your events? What was your favorite feature? Was there a beacon app we missed that you believe should’ve made the list? Let me know in the comments below!

Looking for Event Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Event Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Nick Morpus

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Nick Morpus is a Content Writer for Capterra, a free resource that matches buyers and sellers of business software. He has a background in politics, economics, and journalism, which he dedicates his off-time to contributing his thoughts to other political sites. In his free-time he enjoys reading, playing guitar, writing, cooking, and dominating the world of video games.

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