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    iBeacons, Marriott & MeetingPlay

    Marriott recently held its Digital Summit in New York pulling together Senior Leadership, eCommerce& Digital Senior Leaders, Global eCommerce managers, and Marriott’s partners together to evaluate trends, assess future strategies, and network.

    As part of this meeting, Marriott wanted to use something different, innovative and cutting-edge for technology.  Meeting Play delivered iBeacon technology via its mobile app to the Digital Summit to enhance attendees experience in a whole new way.

    What is iBeacon?

    iBeacon is a brand new technology that encompasses Location Service on newer iOS devices.  The new technology utilizes two components in order to work - a beacon and a device to receive what the beacons are transmitting.  The beacons itself are small transmitters that use Bluetooth low energy signal.  They are very small - think of a watch battery packaged in a small pod that can be placed anywhere.  The receiving devices are newer versions of iPhones or iPads. 

    How does iBeacon work?

    iBeacon technology works when one of these devices comes into the range of a beacon's transmission.  Once in range, the beacons will notify the appropriate app on your device and can display a notification or request various actions. 

    For example, if you are visiting an art museum, (assuming you have the art museum’s app) as you walk through and look at each piece of art, it can provide you information about the closest display.  As you walk from display to display, you will exit and enter into the different beacon locations, which will automatically notify your device with the information based on the current display you are looking at.

    iBeacons are being utilized heavily in the retail space.  Imagine walking through a mall and getting an alert that a coupon just became available as you passed by your favorite store.

    iBeacon at Marriott Digital Summit

    Take that technology and think, how do we incorporate this into meetings?  Just like in the retail space, events are trying to capture people's attention to ensure that they are absorbing the messages of the conference and are getting all they can out of being there.  During Marriott’s Digital Summit, Meeting Play showed that iBeacon technology could also be implemented into events and can increase engagement in an entirely new way.  Every attendee was provided a pre-loaded iPad that included Meeting Play’s event app, tailored for this event.  The goal was to have the devices "talk to", guides attendees and sometimes act on their behalf to interact in the conference. 

    Networking with iBeacon

    One of the goals of the event was to network.  With the iBeacon Technology Meeting Play incorporated into the event, it allowed for the newest way of networking and added another layer of gamification on top of that.   The general sessions had multiple wide range beacons that were placed all around the room.  This allowed for people to be able look on their device and see everyone that was in the room at the time.

    The advantages of this are endless.  With iBeacons you can always know who is nearby and help you decide if it is someone you need to or should network with.  Not only that, but with quick access to profiles, you even have a little cheat sheet in case you don't remember someone or need more information about them.

    Marriott added more gamification in addition to just connecting people with points.  Sometimes people just link to everyone in order to boost their position in the game.  Marriott wanted the connections to be more than a click and include a personal touch.  Using Meeting Play app, the attendees just needed to find the name of the person they wanted to connect with and click it.  Once the connection was requested, the person who was invited to the connection was prompted, showing who was trying to connect with them.  From there, they had a fun guessing game of choosing what it was that the person drew when initially setting up their profile.  When they guessed correctly, they were prompted to rate how good of a drawing it was, which finalized the connection.

    Attendees were provided lists on the app for all the people they connected with and everyone that they had not connected with yet.

    Polling and iBeacon

    iBeacons were also used for polling.  Within the event there were six different areas that would notify attendees to take a poll when they walked into the proximity of the beacon.  This technology can easily allow for updates on the fly or changes to new questions to be asked that are most relevant.  Also, iBeacons are an inconspicuous way to get feedback from your attendees without the interruption of a speaker or moderator saying, “hey, tell us what you think?”

    Sponsors and iBeacon

    Each sponsor at the event also had its own beacon.  As an attendee walked up to the sponsor the attendee was immediately checked into the sponsor’s booth.  There was no scanning required.  The attendee could be provided with additional information and the sponsor knew who the attendee was.  Everything happened behind the scenes, using the app so that the discussion and personal connection was not interrupted by technology, but rather enhanced on the backend.  This fast, easy check-in procedure not only allowed attendees to get valuable information quickly, but also gave the sponsors a list of every attendee that checked in at the station, increasing their ROI for being a part of the event. 

    Tailored App Creating a Custom Event

    This event was not just about what was happening on people’s devices, but what was happening at the meeting overall.  The connections, pictures and comments that were occurring were being projected onto 2 big screens so that everyone could see things as they were happening.  The conference also established goals for the number of photos, comments and connections that they wanted to see happen.  The results, in real time, were displayed as well to help incentivize people to contribute to the meeting as a whole. 

    Marriott added more gamification in addition to just connecting people with points. Sometimes people just link to everyone in order to boost their position in the game. Marriott wanted the connections to be more than a click and include a personal touch. Using Meeting Play app, the attendees just needed to find the name of the person they wanted to connect with and click it. Once the connection was requested, the person who was invited to the connection was prompted, showing who was trying to connect with them. From there, they had a fun guessing game of choosing what it was that the person drew when initially setting up their profile. When they guessed correctly, they were prompted to rate how good of a drawing it was, which finalized the connection.

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