Beacons offer museums an opportunity to provide context to visitors like never before. With beacons, an app can sense exactly where in the museum a guest is and provide relevant information. Instead of searching through an audio tour for the right section, the visitor can instantly watch a video highlighting the artist’s life on his/her mobile, and learning more about a particular painting.
Experts in the beacon field maintain that museums will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of iBeacon technology. Museums will have fast customer adoption for beacons because they replace known tools that guests are used to. Instead of audio headsets, they can use their phones. Instead of searching through a brochure for the right exhibit, beacons can pinpoint their location with accuracy.
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In an earlier blog post, we discussed how museums can benefit from using beacons on their premises.
If you want to increase time spent at your museum, offer a Museum scavenger hunt, with clues that pop up at every corner of your building. Guests will be entertained, educated, and will spend more time at the museum than ever before. For example, one of the factors that have a strong influence on art and science is the time period in which it was created. Beacons could send visitors notifications, highlighting what was happening in the world during that time.
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In our webinar on “How Beacons can add Interactivity to Museums“, we talked about the myriad ways in which beacons can be used in museums to enhance visitor experiences. We also discussed how beacons can be used to gain insights on visitor behaviour and to generate more revenue.
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Museums are a place of heritage, a site to showcase the past, to display keepsakes and exhibit memories of older generations but that does not mean they cannot be interactive and futuristic. Following are three examples of museums using beacons right:
Philips Museum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Starting June 12, 2014 visitors to the museum were invited to play an interactive game called “Mission Eureka” as they walked around the exhibits. This game is played with an iPad that senses visitors’ location in the museum with bluetooth signals, and can be played with 2, 3, or 4 people.
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Teams are presented with ‘challenges’ that they have to solve, just like real researchers. Working together as a team one can find out how LED light works and what X-rays do, for example. The game even allows team members team members can also compete against one another. This is a huge improvement compared to the old fashion audio tours that offer unintelligent, boring recordings about the art in front of visitors (only if they can figure out what button to push!)
This video nicely captures the essence of this game:
Wales’ National Slate Museum in Snowdonia was the first national museum in the world to install beacons, that enable visitors to discover more about collections as they walk around a site.
The museum is attempting to incorporate specific elements of digital heritage such as learning, interpretation, and the use of bilingual and multilingual materials. Content is brought dynamically into the hands of visitors to the museum, with media-rich material appearing on their mobile device as they walk around.
Wales’ museum is thus exploring the full potential of iBeacon technology to create a new world of public services for the cultural, heritage and museum sectors.
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Brooklyn Museum, New York
Brooklyn museum adopts a more personal approach, using the beacons as mere indicators of location. Visitors often have questions about displays, but with the relevant art experts often inaccessible, who can they turn to? The key concept of their deployment of beacons is to find out exactly where the viewers are.
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Image Courtesy: Brooklyn Museum Blog
The museum’s goal was to help visitors learn more about the art on display – but it realized it had no way of knowing what visitors wanted to learn about. For the museum, the key to answering this question was identifying where visitors were in the museum as their queries arose. Their iBeacon integrated app, now enables experts to answer visitors’ questions via mobile devices. Users can use the ‘Ask’ component to ask questions and receive answers in real time with an on-site expert.
Thus, the digital age that we live in has created an array of tools that are changing the way we share and absorb information. Today, no organization is exempt from the disruptions caused by technological innovation, and some are leveraging it in new ways. Interested in knowing how you can implement beacons in your museum?
If you are planning a beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!