London’s Barbican Centre recently launched Edgelands with Hannah Bruce, an audio app that works with beacons to help visitors understand the unique architecture of the Centre. The project is public until October 7th, 2016. Bluesense Networks conducted an extensive interview with Hannah Bruce so other cultural organizations and iBeacon project designers can learn from this experience.
The project’s designers started first with the artistic vision. They then found beacons to be the best technology to help convey it. They produced a soundtrack of different ‘islands’ of sound related to specific places in the building. They didn’t want to force visitors to go a certain way. Instead of creating a traditional tour, they used beacons to allow people to encounter these sounds as they wander freely throughout the space. It’s also important to note that because of the variation of Android devices, they decided to use a calibration system to help trigger the sound at roughly the same proximity to the beacons.
The project’s designers had previously worked with beacons which made this installation a lot easier. Cultural centers can build on beacon experiences of the past to launch other beacon projects. However, museums and beyond can also learn from this to focus on the visitor/customer experience first and not the new technology. Beacons can solve real needs of consumers, but those problems need to be properly defined first before choosing the technology to support those needs.
Image from Jorgeroyan.