Case Study: How we turned a city into a smart city through beacon technology

According to the Q2 2016 Proxbook report, there are more than 8 million proximity sensors deployed globally and the majority of these sensors (6 million) are beacons. The proximity and location-based industry continue to be very attractive to investors now that $220.7 million has been spent on different projects to date in 2016.

Proximity sensors are being used in different industries, from retail to shopping malls, events, airports, stadiums and the hospitality and tourism sectors, among others. These sensors have the capacity to play an important role in the future of the travel industry. As we know by now, more travellers seek experiences during their journey and hotels, airlines, airports and tourist places have the opportunity to embrace location-based technologies for enhancing the traveller experience.

Through proximity sensors, tourist destinations can provide visitors with a contextual mobile experience during their stay by allowing them to bookmark attractions before their visit and receive alerts when they are in proximity of one. They can also generate new revenue opportunities for local key players like hotels, restaurants, tour operators, attraction parks, stores, etc.

Additionally, beacons can provide a richer and in-depth understanding of visitors’ behavior during their journey. This useful information can be used to better distribute the tourist routes inside the cities and to create different segments according to their preferences which allow the visitor to adapt the content provided to each segment.

In order to become a smart destination, a city in Europe has incorporated a new network of beacons throughout the city. This integration allows for vastly improved communication and interaction with the tourist through hyper-targeted marketing campaigns based on their location. Also, by gathering information and analysing their behavior in real time, this solution provides the ability to adapt communications to the specific needs and interests of tourists. This has allowed the city to be the most intelligent tourist destination in Europe.

The beacons were placed in “strategic points” of the urban and natural environment of the city, such as the view points, the old town and the lake. In this way, depending on tourist location, information about culture, nature, lakes, history, sports, events and leisure are displayed.

As many people arrive in cities without data plans and oftentimes public WiFi doesn’t work very well, the experiences are delivered offline using beacons and geofences as triggers. This way, tourists just need to activate Bluetooth or enable location to be able to receive the information.

Other examples of touristic destinations using beacons technology are The City of Michigan and The State of Queensland in Australia, where 150 beacons have been deployed at major tourist destinations throughout the city like airports, visitor information centres, national parks and other popular tourist attractions. In Michigan, 500 beacons were spread along the North Central to trigger specific and historical information to mobile devices.

Nowadays, the smartphone is one of the most essential elements for a traveller and tourism industry needs to rapidly adapt new technology to be able to communicate at the right time and place with the visitor. “Today a smart city needs the collective knowledge to provide personalized value to visitors.”

We would like to invite cities, towns, counties, resorts etc. to come be a part of this revolution. Please get in touch with Blue Unicorn to learn more.


Originally published at Blue Unicorn.

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