Commentary

Beacons Enter the World of Sports, Airports & Now a Car Show

Beaconing is not only for retail.

Because beacons can trigger mobile interactions based on proximity to the device, organizations of all types are creating and testing all kinds of potential uses.

While retailers such as Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and Hudson’s Bay load up on beacons, the small, one-way transmitting devices are finding homes in many other locations. Here are just a few examples:

  • For the anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, Graceland in Memphis used beacons to enhance the experience of visitors. During the tour, beacons trigger relevant content including photos, audio and video to visitors carrying iPads.
  • At the recent US Open in New York, the U.S. Tennis Association used a network of Gimbal beacons with targeted messaging via the Urban Airship platform. Attendees who opted in received in-app notifications providing essentially a day guide as well as ticket and concession stand information.
  • The University of Michigan wanted to send precise messages to fans in the stadium, the largest in the U.S., so tapped beacons to send tailored messages to particular sections of the stadium through a school app. The school plans to add merchandise sales and loyalty rewards through the location technology on the Signal360 platform.
  • Miami International Airport has installed beacons throughout the airport and through the SITA Common Use Beacon Registry is making them available to the airlines. Passengers ultimately will be able to receive relevant information at every point of their journey through the airport.

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Beacons also are relatively portable, since the battery-powered devices can easily be relocated from one place to another or even installed in temporary locations.

That’s exactly what’s about to happen at the annual Regent Street Motor Show in London.

During the first weekend in November, just two days before the MediaPost IoT: Beacons conference in New York, the street will be closed to traffic as more than 250,000 people roam among the 150 display cars.

But this year, each of the cars will be beaconed, triggering different messages via the Regent Street app, depending on the interests of the person passing by the car.

The beaconing will be under the auspices of the Regent Street Association, which manages the street for The Crown Estate, the property company of the queen.  

More than 100 of the stores on Regent Street already have beacons installed and managed by Autograph, as I’ve written about here (Beaconed Shoppers Return to Regent Street), and the beacons on the cars will use the same Regent Street app that the stores use.

Since most people using the Regent Street app select their interests from a wide range of choices when they download the app, those same interests will be used for targeting near the cars, Arnel Leyva, the global head of marketing at Autograph, told me yesterday.

For example, auto aficionados can get detailed information on the cars on display, those with children can receive animations and fun facts and shoppers can be sent only traditional information on exclusives.

The beacon at each car will trigger unique information (including specific data on the car) and that information will be further matched to the person’s earlier-stated interests.

Beacons are adding a whole new twist to location.

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Learn more about beacons at the MediaPost conference on beacons, being held Nov. 3 in New York (IoT: Beacons).

 

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