#EventTech Tuesday: Geo-fencing

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Over the past few years there has been a lot of talk surrounding advancements in proximity based technologies and the various applications. We can remember having intense SquadUP discussions long ago about what the future of Near Field Communication technology meant for our platform. This is not about NFC.

Players in the events space have been particularly excited about the prospects of proximity-based technology, like geo-fencing, being able to provide new ways of enhancing attendee engagement, attendee interaction and the flow of information. Geofencing is a mobile location service that allows marketers, event hosts, or whoever else to send content to users phones when they enter a specific area. Geofencing is an example of how the quickly changing arena of mobile technology will have very significant effects on events and tradeshows.

But who is harnessing the power of this technology and how is it effecting the events industry. Read on, my friend, read on.

WHO: iBeacon

via http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/article/ibeacons_1.jpg

via http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/article/ibeacons_1.jpg

Despite being an Apple product, iBeacon can send push notifications to iOS and Android devices in close proximity. The iBeacon works on Bluetooth Smart, also referred to as Bluetooth Low Energy, part of Bluetooth 4.o. Before we get into the various event related applications, let’s talk specs. The Bluetooth technology has up to a 150 foot range and demands low power and very little maintenance to do so. One device can last over a year on single battery and they cost about $10.

HOW: Engagement, Gamification, and Mapping

via http://mobileleadersalliance.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/GeoFenceImage1.jpg

via http://mobileleadersalliance.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/GeoFenceImage1.jpg

A creative event industry professional should be able to come up with an almost infinite number of applications for this technology. Some of those talented professionals work over at Corbin Ball Associates and have gotten us started with a list of uses, shown below.

  • Location information and navigation assistance: A geofence can notify attendees where they are on a map and give help on where they wish to go.
  • Gamification and scavenger hunts
  • Attendee welcome and other location-based alert notifications or app launching upon arrival
  • Attendees could automatically check-in to an event zone.  A badge could be printed automatically upon arrival with a notification sent to the recipient with the badge printer location.
  • Social media networking and information exchange. The communication can be two-way so, with user permission, the phone app can transmit contact information, social media profiles, specific meeting room access information, meal tracking, food preferences, and much more. Communication between attendees can be enhanced with notification/pictures/information about who is nearby.
  • Lead exchange/tracking
  • Exhibit booth dwell time measurement
  • Automated demonstrations (videos, etc.) for exhibit booth products or any other interest point in a conference venue.
  • Exhibitors could send out targeted messages to different categories of participants.
  • Automated continuing education unit (CEU) tracking
  • The venues could provide information to visitors. Local area merchants could send discount coupons to convention attendees.
  • AV companies or venues could be notified if unauthorized equipment with an RFID tag linked to a geofence is removed from the premise.
  • Attendee action metrics: Organizers will be able to track where attendees are spending their time and can be notified of traffic patterns (i.e. an inordinately long registration line). These data can be very helpful for marketing and event logistics improvement.

Like we said, the good folks at Corbin are event veterans and this list is a great start. Get creative! We’d love to hear what you can come up with. Comment or tweet @squadup.

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