Beacon technology and usage are getting more and more attention. One of the latest examples is 20 Major League Baseball stadiums that are being equipped with beacons. But also for museums there are interesting ways of implementing the technology. We came up with a few examples of how it could change the way we experience museums.
BLE, Beacon, iBeacon
A beacon is piece of simple hardware that sends out a signal by using Bluetooth Low Energy – a technology that has been around since 2006. The signal has a specific ID and has a radius of approximately 50 meters. When you walk into this radius your phone recognizes the beacon and searches on your phone if you have any action that corresponds with this specific ID.
This means you do need an app on your phone that is able to convert the signal into a notification otherwise nothing happens. So in one sentence: BLE is the signal that is send out by using a beacon, once picked up by your phone it is decoded by iBeacon technology.
The potential use for museums
The Ruben museum in Belgium recently introduced the new technology and made a great video of how they use it. The use of iBeacon technology can be split up into two groups on the one hand accessibility and on the other interactivity.
Getting people into the museum and appreciating exhibitions are a constant challenge we think there are plenty of ways how iBeacon technology can help:
- Buying tickets can be done in the app and recognized automatically.
- No need for signs in the museum, people are guided through the museum in real time based on their location.
- No need for descriptions next to paintings because people get the information automatically on their phone.
- Recommendations of paintings and exhibitions based on the paintings you have been looking at during your current or previous visit.
It can be difficult to keep children interested during a trip to the museum but also for adults it can be fun to play a little game in the museum. Some of the possibilities are:
- Treasure hunts
Connect this to rankings and social media platforms and you have a totally new way of experiencing a museum.
In conclusion, there are plenty of valuable possibilities for museums to use iBeacon technology. But it is important to keep in mind that the technology should support and improve the museum experience and not the other way around.