10 Things you Need to Know About iBeacon – For Events

1) What is iBeacon

iBeacon is the Apple Trademark for an indoor positioning system that Apple Inc. calls “a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence. Apple also refers to it generally as location and proximity detection technology.

The iBeacon works on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), also known as Bluetooth Smart. BLE can also be found on Bluetooth 4.0 devices that support dual mode, which includes Android and Windows devices.

2) When was it launched?

iBeacon was launched in 2013 and officially deployed across Apple’s 254 stores in December 2013.

3) What’s the battery life of Beacons?

Typical battery life of beacons runs anything from 6 months to 2 years.

4) What devices does it support?

iBeacon supports BLE-enabled devices. For a full list of devices, you can refer here.

5) What’s the proximity?

A beacon has 3 approximate ranges:

  • Immediate – a few centimeters
  • Near – a few meters
  • Far – approximately 10 meters

Depending on environment and signal strength, we have tested and can cover a range as far as 50 meters. Interference can significantly impact the range.

6) How can it enhance my event experience?

Instead of relying on user-triggered action such as scanning of a QR Code or tapping on an NFC tag, usage of iBeacons is based on proximity range and can deliver different contextual messages based on the immediate range of a beacon. Imagine if you are an exhibitor who managed to get a prospect to download your app. The following messages could be built into your interaction:

  • Far: Looking for a reliable event software? We are just around the corner. Find us and a surprise gift awaits you.
  • Near:  You are just a few steps away to solving your event data a management headache.
  • Immediate:  Welcome to GEVME, your event software partner. (Greeted by a friendly Customer Success Manager at the booth).

Similarly, a concept of gamification using iBeacon can greatly enhance your interaction with your event attendee. See how CES 2014 does it.

7) How can it help my exhibitors?

iBeacon can potentially help to drive traffic to your exhibitors’ booth, by creating an interactive journey based on proximity, or using the concept of gamification. You also have the option of identifying the foot traffic near an exhibitor by having an exhibitor app, to identify who’s who for a proactive approach to a nearby customer. Of course, the attendee need to login to the attendee app for you to pull the relevant information based on attendee information.

8) Does the app need to be active on the screen in order to pick up signals?

The user needs to at least launch the app for the first time and have Bluetooth enabled for the iBeacon to work. The app subsequently, can run in the background, without the need to be constantly on, as the app can pick up a beacon’s signal and retrieve relevant data while running in the background.

9) Can iBeacon be integrated to my existing event app as a module?

Yes, iBeacon can be integrated to your existing event app as a tab or module, where the concept of gamification can then be integrated to your event app.

10) Can I add a screening question before a beacon is ‘unlocked’?

Yes, you can. For example, you could insert a multiple choice survey question relating to your brand, and user needs to answer the question correctly before the beacon is ‘unlocked’.

Want to know more about the latest in event technology? Join us at Internet of Things Asia 2014 at booth E09 as we showcase the latest in event technology.