There’s an interesting post by Eirik Midttun on the the Nordic blog on Bluetooth Beacons in the Rijksmuseum.
BeaconZone’s very first solutions were apps for museums so we know a lot about the possible problems. Eirik comments that the app could be improved as it took a while to detect it was in a new room. He questions whether the beacon advertising was too long. If he was running on iOS, he could be correct. View our article on Choosing an Advertising Interval. If he was on Android it’s more likely that the Bluetooth scanning period and/or time between scans was too long.
Museum apps also tend to suffer from connectivity problems. If the connection was cellular rather than WiFi it might have been taking time to fetch the information associated with the beacon. It’s recommended to have some kind of caching content strategy for museum and visitor space apps where the best user experience is if the app can work offline.
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Holt Village has launched a new iBeacon Trail that uses the free ‘Explore North East Wales’ app from the Apple and Google app stores. It is one of twelve communities in North East Wales for which a system has been developed to find out more about the community and locations.
The project has been funded by the LEADER scheme which is a fund for rural areas in Wales to explore innovative new approaches and experimental technologies to tackle poverty, create jobs and drive sustainable economic development.
There’s a new heritage trail of Little India in Singapore that uses Physical Web beacons to guide visitors through unique facts and stories, historical photographs, and crowd-sourced content.
The article on their web site is a great example how you can a) provide clear instructions on how to use the Physical Web and b) provide an incentive to start using. In the case of the trail there’s a contest. If you use your mobile device to access the Little India Physical Web Experience you can redeem a gift.
Most museums using beacons have tended to use iBeacons, a custom app and in some cases proprietary or 3rd party platforms. Instead, a new tour, just opened, is using Eddystone-URL to provide a tour of a victorian pumping station.
The tour is along the Riverside in Cambridge and has been devised by Helen Weinstein, Creative Director of Historyworks in collaboration with Pam Halls, Curator of the Cambridge Museum of Technology.
They are encouraging people to use the Physical Web app to discover beacons. There’s a leaflet (pdf) that describes the tour and how to listen for beacons. This is a great example of the Physical Web can be used to easily and economically provide information for a museum tour.