EXHIBITION NEWS July 2017 - Page 32

Beacons of hope EN investigates beacons, the latest event tech craze sure to take over the world of exhibitions I f you’ve got your ear to the ground in the exhibitions industry then you’ll no doubt have heard of beacons. The coolest new buzzword on the block, beacons are arguably coming close to stealing the thunder from RFID (radio frequency IDentifi cation) as the latest event tech sensation set to change the face of exhibitions. In fact, the more EN looked into the beacons, the more we realised that we should probably get in touch with someone in the event tech fi eld to let us in on exactly what was going on. Enter Grant Morgan (pictured ), senior marketing manager at Poken, who helped EN separate fact from fi ction by answering a few questions. Let’s start at the beginning, what are beacons? 32 GM: Beacon technology consists of two parts: a broadcaster, or ‘beacon’, and a receiver in the form of an app. Beacons transmit a signal over a relevantly small distance, to the receiver. In the exhibition environment the signal is usually in the form of relevant content or a push notifi cation. How do they work? GM: The underlying technology is BLE (bluetooth low energy), which is essentially a more effi cient version of bluetooth. Visitors install and utilise the app, and organisers install beacons throughout the exhibition environment. As visitors walk around the exhibition fl oor, they receive push notifi cations based upon their movements. Organisers can also see what areas are gaining traction, by tracking movement via heat maps. What kind of data can we gather from them? GM: Organisers benefi t from understanding visitor traffi c Tech E launch of the month fl ow, and also how people may interact with specifi c exhibits and spaces. Visitors can benefi t from the content they receive, which often comes in the form of special off ers or promotions relevant to where they are on the exhibition fl oor. Do you think the technology will be commonplace at events in the future? GM: Though a lot of companies are doing innovative things with beacons, the benefi t- cost relationship has meant relatively low uptake by the exhibition industry. There are also a lot of barriers, such as whether visitors have the correct app installed and turned on – which aff ects adoption and, in turn, the quality of data obtained. In their most common form, beacon notifi cations are promotions and invites to exhibition stands, which a lot of visitors fi nd aggressive in a live event context. This is not to say that there is not a place for beacon technology, just that it won’t be something that blankets the industry. As this is a relatively new technology, there is also a lot of space for people to get creative with benefi cial applications. Organisers must always ask themselves, ‘what is the objective, what behaviour or result am I trying to facilitate?’ before choosing a technology for the job. Do you think beacons are the next big thing event profs? Email Nicola Macdonald at nmacdonald@mashmedia.net. vent registration specialist RefTech has announced the launch of a new event app, EventReference. The app will form part of EventReference by RefTech, a cloud-based event management platform used to handle the diary system and registration for shows. The company is launching the app to complement its existing off ering for organisers, which includes registration, reporting, scanning, event badges and advising the industry on data security and the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Simon Clayton (pictured ), chief ideas offi cer at RefTech, comments: “I’ve been very critical of event apps in the past because so July 2017 | exhibitionnews.co.uk many of ѡɔͥ䁹ЃЁȁ͔)ٕ́ɔ͡ЁͼٕЁ́Ѽ)ٕեѼɅͥѼ͔Ёͼ)䁽ѡɔͱܰչ䁅ɐѼ)٥єt)ɑѼIQѡݥ)хѱéɕͽɍ)ݥم)ȁ̸͕!ѕ́)ᡥѽ́ݥѼ͔)ѡѼ́ɥ̰ݡ)٥ͥѽ͕́)͕͕ͥ́ɍȁ̸+qYͥѽ́݅Ёͽѡͥt)ѥՕ́ ѽqQ݅Ёѡ)ɵѥѡЁѡ䁹ե䁅)ͥ丁=ȁɅѕ䁑ͻeЁ)ѡ׾ѡЁѡȁ́ЁѡЁ݅)]݅ѕЁѼݕа)ͥѼ͗t