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iBeacon: Transcending Boundaries and Limits in Museums and Exhibits

With the rise of iBeacons in different establishments such as restaurants and retail stores, museums and exhibits have also joined the cause. The incorporation of iBeacons in museums and exhibits, coupled with its audio tours and tour guides, will make any person’s visit a memorable one.
The introduction of smartphones paved the way, the possibilities of iBeacon in museums and exhibits are limitless, from augmenting the visitor experience to constructing the next generation of museums and exhibits. Some of the possibilities that are currently exploring are:

1) Content annotation

This will allow visitors of the museums and exhibits to leave feedback on all artifacts and paintings. These feedbacks will be seen by other visitors in the area.

2) A digital “like” of the real thing such as a painting or statue

Developers are exploring the functionality of “like” button similar of Facebook. Visitors will have the option of “liking” a specific piece in the museum or even tweet them into their Tweeter.

3) Saving content for later use

Specifically useful for student tours or art students, they can obtain information about the artifacts and paintings in a museum and save it for later use, just like bookmarking. These will vastly improve the post-experience of visitors.

4) Interactive guides

Interactive guides are one of the most useful functionality of iBeacons in museums and exhibits. This will assist and help visitors making their way through the gallery, providing them information and history of artifacts and paintings within a specified area via their smartphones. Highlights and announcement of museums and exhibits will be easily accessible to all visitors.

5) Special events and surprises such as treasure hunt

Push notifications indicating new events or emergencies will be easily send through the smartphones of visitors. Special surprises such as treasure hunt can also be part of the push notifications and maybe played by visitors of the museums and exhibits.

6) History and other information of artifacts and paintings

In-depth information, such as history and owners, can be added to the artifacts and paintings and visitors may access them through their smartphones, provided they are within the specified area. Audio tours could also be utilized with iBeacons, rendering information as visitors walk through the area.
These are the just some of the limitless possibilities that can be incorporated into museums and exhibits.
A device called Glimworm Beacons, based on iBeacons, is made to utilize the potential uses of iBeacons. According to glimwormbeacons.com, Glimworm Beacons “are small Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmitters that use Apple’s iBeacon standard to send a small radio signal to smartphones up to 50 meters away..”
They recently help Wag Society to test run an application that provides seamless information about plants at the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam. The Philips Museum in Eindhoven will be the first integrated museum app, using Glimworm Beacons, in the Netherlands.
The application called the mApp is the newest museum platform created by LabWerk. It is designed to redefine the overall experience when visiting museums and exhibits. The application is used in synchronize with iBeacons.
These applications and possibilities will help museums and exhibits transcend the traditional visitor experience and augment the overall display and personal interactions of museums and visitors alike.