A lot of leading museums have started testing and deploying beacons to enhance visitor experience. Though the technology may seem a bit intimidating, implementing it can be extremely rewarding for visitors as well as museums in a variety of ways.
Let me paint a picture to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:
Consider an art enthusiast from England touring France. He lands at a museum looking forward to soak in all the cultural masterpieces from history. Since he is not well-versed with French, he would prefer if a self-guided audio tour is available in English so that he can learn all about the various collections.
Though many museums have pre-recorded audio tours available in multiple languages, it requires a user to manually select the audio guide in the language of their choice for each exhibit. Making the relevant audio guide pop up on a visitor’s smartphone based on which artifact they are looking at, can make the experience much more delightful.
This challenge can be easily solved using beacons. Here’s how:
Beacons have the ability to detect a person’s proximity to a particular location and can be used to send appropriate information to them via an app. The app will already have the user’s language preference.
We will create a campaign that detects the user’s proximity to an artifact and also check the user’s language setting from the app to show an appropriate audio guide. This intelligent guided tour can be created in less than 15 minutes using Beaconstac, a proximity marketing software platform. Here’s how:
Campaign objective and walkthrough:
The objective of this campaign is to trigger an audio message with details of an artifact via a beacon based on a visitor’s location and language preference in the app. You can follow the steps listed below to replicate the same for as many languages as you prefer. For the purpose of this tutorial, let’s set up a campaign which sends details of ‘The Mona Lisa’ to the visitor in English or French (based on their language selection) when he/she is standing in front of the painting.
Step 1: Purchase beacons and add them to the dashboard:
The first thing to do is to purchase beacons and add its details through the Beaconstac dashboard. Details of the beacon include UUID, major and minor numbers as shown in the screen below. You can also name the beacons for easy identification. Once you do this, your beacons are ready to be installed.
Step 2: Install the beacons in the gallery for trial:
Next, we need to install the beacon near an artifact for this test campaign. Beacon placement is crucial to ensure that there is no interference. Beacon signals are actually radio waves, and can be absorbed by walls, metal surfaces etc. For best results, follow these pointers during installation:
- Place beacons such that the signals are not obstructed by a wall/metal surface.
- Ensure that the beacons are placed such that the color and design of beacons go with the interiors, wall colors, and architecture of each section.
- Make sure that the beacons installed stick well to the wall. Sometimes, this may involve using additional methods to secure the beacons besides the adhesive it may come packaged with.
- Keep a map of every beacon installed, and its major/minor numbers so you can track these beacons later.
Step 3: Create cards:
Next, we’ll create a card that the user will see on their device. Cards are basically creatives that show up as a notification on the user’s mobile phone when certain conditions are met. Beaconstac offers several types of cards such as Summary, Photo, Media, etc. (We’ll get into the possibilities that it opens up in a subsequent post.) I’ll choose audio cards for this campaign since we are setting up an audio tour. Below, I’ve created 2 audio cards for guiding visitors in English and French.
For each card, we will add the appropriate audio link. Here, we’re adding the English audio guide link for The Mona Lisa.
Step 4: Set rules:
After this, all we have to do is create a rule for the beacon placed near The Mona Lisa so that it triggers the right media card when a visitor spends 5 seconds in its proximity.
Step 5: Create a custom attribute:
Next, we need to add a custom attribute which will determine which users will see the notification or message. Custom attributes can be used to filter users based on criteria such as gender, age and number of visits. For example, regular visitors who have visited a museum more than 10 times could be shown a special offer on a yearly pass to the museum.
Here we are creating a custom attribute called ‘Media language’ that will be used to detect if a visitor’s language preference is English from the app and if so, show them the audio guide in English.
Step 6: Set action to be triggered:
After this, we’ll add the action to be triggered when the rule is true. Here, the action is to trigger the audio card for The Mona Lisa.
Your campaign is now ready to go live!
A visitor who has selected English in the app’s language preference will see the following message in the app when they approach The Mona Lisa:
Do try this out and let me know your thoughts about this campaign. If there a specific campaign you would like to read about, I’ll be more than happy to share how you can get it done using Beaconstac.
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!