A few weeks ago San Francisco welcomed thousands of digital marketing professionals for the AdTech business conference and this year they introduced the use of iBeacon technology at the event. Our content producer Kate was at the conference and reported back to the Prototype team on ways the iBeacon devices made her experience more enjoyable.
Find out how it interacted with her here: For the iBeacon tech to work, the user must have activated notifications from the app associated with the event. The beacons won’t find you otherwise. The iBeacon technology kicked off with a welcome notification and then the following perks: Welcome text: When you get within the vicinity of the event the app sends a text welcoming you to the event with information about check-in services and a map of the event.
Conference information: As you walk into each conference hall, the iBeacon picks up on your signal and notifies you about the speakers in that room and the topic of conversation. If you have entered your schedule into your app, you will also get a notification each time your keynotes or conferences are starting, so you avoid getting carried away in the expo hall and missing important talks.
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In the Expo Hall: There were many features activated in the expo hall depending on what you were doing – here is a quick run down.
- Intersections: As you reach the various intersections in the hall, the iBeacons inform you of the surrounding booths and their area of expertise, for example at AdTech it would notify you when you left the affiliate marketing section and entered a new area.
- Food: As you neared the food court, the iBeacon sent a notification asking if you were hungry and listed the items available at the court nearest to you.
- Features: Various booths had extra features such as a massage service and competitions – the iBeacon tech notified you of this as you were passing the booth on your way around the hall.
Problems: My app didn’t work for the second half of day one but was back up and running by day two. I also had so many things in my hands and didn’t check my phone as much as the app would’ve liked, so I lost track of my notifications. It suggests that the notifications need to add more value for me to pay attention to them.
Opportunities: One feature that some iBeacon events have trialed are scavenger hunts, adding an element of competition to the event. Attendees are typically looking for freebies amongst information and contacts at conferences, so imagine you offered up a bigger prize for those using the iBeacon tech. People would engage with the app more if they thought it led to a pat on the back or a prize – and how about linking up social and allowing tweeps to live tweet from the app?
iBeacon tech definitely helped at the conference, and it is a great step in the direction of having more engaging experiences at conferences, but there is, as always, room for improvement and refinement. It is exciting to see what they will do next, but one major takeaway is that it must add value beyond the surface layer information.
Looking to explore more ways to improve conferences? Talk to Prototype UX agency.