In large events and conferences, attendees tend to feel lost without help.
Where am I? Where should I go? Is the event actually worth my time? Whom should I interact with? Where to find them? What is the schedule? ‘This is so boring’… ‘I shouldn’t be here in the first place’ are some of the periodic views and queries that Apple sought to address when it announced iBeacons at WWDC 2013
How Beacons Work
Beacons generate Bluetooth frequencies, that are then picked up by devices within proximity, and prompt the device to execute certain actions. The proximity functions of beacons provide some of the methods of use for event planners:
- Floor maps
- Specialized communication
- Food and beverage guide
Nowadays, retailers increasingly rely upon beacons to deflect cut throat competition from online retailers that are roaring high these days and are quite profound in ‘mobility solution’ space. They have turned out more of a need than luxury for successful event engagement and outcomes.
A survey conducted by inMarket on IoT devices and app development states that events and conferences saw a 45% increase in interaction rate with attendees because of beacon technology.
I will walk you through creative ways in which an already recognized technology like beacons can be used.
1. Quick event registration
Nobody likes to wait in a queue to register for an event. It annoys people and consumes a lot of time. With a beacon device at the entry, the attendees can register for the event with a scan on a QR code or from within the app itself by entering basic information
Upon successful scan or registration, the beacon will check him in and direct him to collect the ‘welcome kit’.
2. Smart networking
A larger part of visiting an event is to build professional networks. That’s you must move around looking at attendee’s badges. With geofencing, beacons can tell who is present in a room at any point of time. The app will tell you their name, employer, and designation.
A quick LinkedIn search will give you enough detail to strike a meaningful conversation with any of them. You can strike a partnership or even convince them to invest in your startup.
In 2014, Cannes Lion Film Festival, beacons were implemented for a similar reason with the “Around Me”.
3. Food & beverage guide
Without saying, food and refreshments are an integral part of any event just as much sessions, speakers, booth, networking, and collaterals are. Corporate events host people in large numbers and a few times from all over the world.
Thus, serving food as per everybody’s taste present in an event is necessary for a complete event experience. It’s a basic requirement to arrange for food that caters to every eventgoer.
Beacons guide eventgoers to their favored form of refreshments, fresh varieties or choices while also providing them information on ingredients or food component that they might want to avoid due to health reasons, dietary restrictions or allergic reactions.
The use of beacons provides event organizer and planners with necessary data about food habits and preferences which helps them plan better for upcoming events of similar scale.
4. Floor maps
In large event locations, where several different mini events are going on simultaneously for a different set of audiences, attendees often lose track where their event is. With beacon technology, event organizers can prepare floor maps to let attendees navigate to their event without ever getting lost.
The event app installed on an attendee’s app will have his entire event schedule. He will get a reminder whenever an event is about to start with the option to navigate to that event, much like Google Maps do. Beacons are the perfect location identifier for mobile apps.
Gamification is a crucial element to keep eventgoers engaged. One way is to keep pushing Q&A, tips, wow facts to the app as the event progresses. Put participants in a leaderboard and reward those on the top at the end of each day is sure to put your event engagement factor on the next level.
Value actions such participating in a survey or filling the feedback form can be clubbed with swag products or giveaways. Beacons also help in asset tracking and management.
Beacon technology provides an improved experience for attendees while developing opportunities for event professionals to boost ROI and lead generation.
By empowering brands to bring pioneering changes in the old-school event experience, beacons can be hailed as a vital part of any upcoming event’s engagement strategy in the coming time.