Beacon Technology’s Role in Live Events

Beacon Technology’s Role in Live Events

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Beacon technology is a comparatively new method for engaging audiences in a variety of contexts. While much of the attention given by mainstream media centers around retail applications, creative producers, event technology companies and many others involved in the industry know beacons offer plenty of opportunities in this space as well.

Location-specific interactions powered by beacons are a powerful engagement tool and one that hasn’t yet become commonplace for consumers. With elements of both novelty and more long-lasting, substantial engagement in play, beacons can be a powerful tool for creative producers. Let’s look at the current functional capabilities and how this technology can enhance live events.

“Beacons have a variety of applications in localized marketing.”

The State of Beacon Technology
Technically speaking, beacons use Bluetooth low energy, a form of wireless personal area network, to interact with the smartphones and other devices used by a given audience, as CIO explained. In general, they have a range of approximately 300 feet, are battery powered and are always on by default.

Beacons have a variety of applications in localized marketing, with the most common being offers and promotions in retail stores. Sending push notifications or interacting with apps already present on a user’s mobile device, beacons offer a high degree of relevance because of their limited reach. They’re more accurate on the small scale than most other forms of locational identification, like GPS. Beacons also offer the ability to track in-range devices and the behavior of their users. This adds another element to their usefulness, helping event organizers not only engage with attendees but learn more about their behavior as well. These types of interaction fit right in with the aims of many live event components in terms of audience engagement and information gathering, in both the short and long terms.

Using Beacon Tech at Events
One of the largest thematic advantages of beacons is their versatility. As already detailed, these devices can be utilized in a variety of different contexts. For creative producers, that means the purpose and level of use can change from event to event as needed. Consider each of the following applications, which can also partner with the gathering of usage details and other attendee information:

Beacon technology offers many different pathways to interact with attendees.Beacon technology offers many different pathways to interact with attendees.


Social Media Interactions and Networking
One simple but powerful way to deploy beacons in the event space is through social media check-ins. Creating a social media buzz around your conference can start as simply as automatically checking in guests as they arrive, or right before a major presentation or speech. Beyond the work of setting up the beacon, this is a mostly automated process that requires little effort for both staff and attendees but can lead to some significant recognition.

Beacons can also create a variety of one-to-one networking opportunities. Such an approach requires some additional elements, like a network of beacons, an app – whether general or specifically oriented around the event – with messaging capabilities and integration with data from LinkedIn. With all of these elements in place, guests can easily learn about each other not only from face-to-face conversations but some quick in-app research as well. This is also useful to help visitors identify the most relevant and visible attendees.

Additionally, this approach can help identify a subset of guests, like LinkedIn contacts, and which events, sessions or other event elements those people attend. This means an opportunity for them to find people they know and to see which event elements offer the most networking opportunities on an individual level.

Sharing Location-Specific Information and Prompts
Beacons can send push notifications to guests as they arrive at specific breakout sessions and similar items on the schedule. This can be used for a variety of ends, from providing a brief reminder or late update only to the relevant subgroup of the total conference audience to sharing a topic for discussion or the scenario or problem to be tackled during the session. They can also be paired with functionality inside an event app to realize additional options. No matter the specific use, beacons offer a way to target the relevant section of the total audience.Beacon Technology

There are many ways beacons can manage the flow of attendees throughout an event, from badge collection to setting up an appointment – or similar but less-formal meetings – while saving attendees time. This speedy, automated approach to registration starts a conference on the right foot and lets attendees immediately enter the facility instead of dealing with administrative details. There are also chances to use beacons to guide guests through large areas of a building and direct them to their intended destination.

Beacon technology doesn’t replace the major elements of an event, but it can support, strengthen and streamline everything from technical details to social interactions and group sessions. These small tools offer a path toward improving a number of major and minor event elements.



Alford Media