3-2-2014 | John Grundy (@_IOHN)
There’s a definite buzz on the internet at the moment about iBeacon technology. It seems everyone is excited by the number of tech, marketing and retail blogs covering this technology since it was first mentioned in mid-2013. But up until now this discussion has been very technical or conceptual with little practical application. It was no real surprise that, after our announcement last week that we are actually developing an app that utilizes iBeacon technology, we received many requests for more information about the project. So, here it is.
Fluwel’s Tulpenland had a clear set of requirements set out in their initial brief. We immediately saw a range of opportunities to apply iBeacon technology. Our challenge was to develop an app which:
- increased visitor’s engagement with the story of the tulip
- provides an interactive, hands on experience and includes a gamified educational component
- appeals to all visitor types (ranging from the less-engaged youth market to visitors looking for very detailed information experience)
- can be easily updated and managed
- is multilingual.
Tulpenland’s new visitor app will bring the online and offline worlds together like never before, completely revolutionizing the experience the park offers to their visitors. Through the use of iBeacon and iOS app technologies, visitors to Tulpenland will be able to experience the story of the tulip in a whole new way with the ability to access interactive content in a diverse range of formats and added functionality like quizzes, location pin-pointing, and rewards.
For the user
As visitors travel around Tulpenland iBeacons, placed throughout the park, will trigger notifications on their device inviting them to access additional content. Together the app and beacons will offer visitors a range of new experiences, including:
- interactive content – going beyond traditional signs and text, visitors will be able to experience the story behind the tulip through video, images, and audio.
- quiz – engaging visitors young and old, visitors will be invited to partake in a quiz as they complete each chapter of the tulip’s story or as they finish visiting a section of the park.
- rewards – through integration with Apple’s Passbook, and the notion of gamification, visitors will gain access to rebates, rewards or coupons for answering quiz questions, accessing pieces of information, or visiting particular locations within the park.
- map – utilising the location advantages offered by iBeacon technology, visitors will be able to see their current location in the park and the location of points where they will be alerted that additional content is available on their device.
Behind the scenes
The all-in-one platform we’ve created is versatile for use across a range of business, including museums, tourism providers, events and retail. The platform’s back end works in a similar way to a content management system. Once set up Tulpenland will have free reign over their content, being able to edit, update and expand their content as they desire. Features of the back-end platform that enable this unique visitor experience include:
- multilingual content – both the elements of the app and the content can be served in numerous languages, making this solution suitable for wider range of visitors.
- easy content management – all of the app’s content is stored in and accessed from the cloud, meaning any change made to the app content will be immediately available to visitors without the need to download an update.
- beacon configuration – set or edit the range of each beacon and the notification it will trigger when a visitor comes in range.
- analytics – Tulpenland will be able to gain insights into how many times each beacon has been approached by visitors and stats on the content they accessed.
- social integration – visitors will have the option to sign in using their Facebook or Twitter account and share information with their friends and followers.
- built for expansion – as Tulpenland grows and changes, more chapters can easily be added as needed.
Our platform can be easily branded and personalized for any organisation looking to incorporate the benefits of iBeacon technology into their visitor’s experience. It’s simple and straight forward with no programming skills required.
The final stages
The last stage of our Tulpenland project is to head on-site and place the beacons. Through our testing and trials we’ve learnt that there are a range of variables that need to be considered to ensure the best possible experience for visitors. Aspects that require real world, on-site testing include the placement of the beacons and the range with which the beacon is configured to trigger the push notification on a visitor’s device.
So, stay tuned for more updates, and make sure you plan a visit to Fluwel’s Tulpenland when the park opens in April to try out the app and iBeacon technology for yourself.