iBeacons use bluetooth technology in your smartphone to send out signals that allow for identification, navigation, attendee messaging, and attendee location.
Events such as SXSW have implemented this new technology recently with considerable results, and so can you!
Here are four ways to use iBeacons at your event.
1. Attendee Management
Using the bluetooth/RFID capabilities of iBeacon technology can streamline attendee management, letting you track how many people are currently present, the location of attendees, and provide paperless attendee check-in. iBeacons can detect attendees within a range of 70 to 450 meters.
iBeacon Base Station via Wikimedia
Instead of using check-in lists, tons of computers, and a fully stocked and manned check-in table, guests that attend can now be wirelessly prompted using the bluetooth in their phone, saving your event staff time and providing you a real-time tally of who is in attendance and just how many showed up.
2. Promotion and Navigation
I have had multiple experiences at events where certain vendors or tables are hard to find due to the size of the event and venue. And it is even harder to find specific vendors at an event if you don’t even know they exist or where they are. I would’ve benefitted from iBeacon technology at these previous events.
Navigation is important, especially for large venues, and iBeacon solves this problem using indoor positioning systems which show your current location (even inside a building) on your smartphone as well as the location of the session or vendor you’re trying to find.
Additionally, the interconnectivity of all attendee phones that iBeacon tech allows opens the door for better event promotion. Real-time messaging and navigation provided by the bluetooth in your phone, combined with iBeacons placed all over the event, lets attendees find breakout sessions and tables they’re looking for, as well as discover new event aspects that would otherwise go unheard of until it is too late.
This also benefits any vendors or tables at your event who are looking to connect with new customers, and the opportunity to add location-specific promotions could be another revenue channel for your event from sponsors.
3. Gamifying your event
Gamification has become a major aspect of event planning and can bring in more attendees and make events more exciting. iBeacons open up a new avenue for gamification, especially in terms of event scavenger hunts.
Using the navigation and locator features of iBeacons allows you to set goals, items, and areas at your event venue for your attendees to explore and collect points, badges, and additional rewards.
Scavenger hunts aren’t the only way you can gamify the use of iBeacons; certain reward systems can be set for specific breakout sessions at events as well as time spent at the event, secret Easter egg rewards could trigger for going to certain rooms or being the “X” number attendee at an event.
Gamification is the perfect way to make your events more interesting and iBeacons open an entirely new aspect to explore.
Want to know who is at your event and who you should be talking to? iBeacons can aid your event networking pursuits by being connecting with LinkedIn and Twitter. iBeacons connected with social media give attendees the ability to locate and meet with other like-minded attendees and plan out more meaningful networking opportunities.
The Cannes Lions Festival had this in mind when they made their iBeacon app a key component of next-level networking at their event by using the notification feature:
Eventbase co-founder Jeff Sinclair says the Cannes Lions app combines the power of iBeacon technology with tight LinkedIn integration to allow attendees to see who is around them, read their profile and immediately reach out to them through the app… “We’re excited to be pioneering the use of iBeacon technology for attendee-to-attendee networking,” says Sinclair. “The ability to find out more about the people around you and instantly connect has the potential to transform the event experience entirely.”
The indoor positioning systems mentioned earlier in this piece are also possible contenders for satisfying this need by providing locations of specific other attendees you’re looking for. This streamlines the networking process, and means you don’t spend all of your time wandering an event venue, hunting for the perfect person to connect with.
Have you implemented iBeacon technology at your events yet? How did it benefit your event? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.