Museum, Visitor Space Case Study

We have a new case study on our consultancy for Royal Museums Greenwich on the Cutty Sark.

Royal Museums Greenwich wanted to locate visitors as part of their forthcoming Cutty Sark Alive Augmented Reality (AR) experience.


Use our consultancy to help prevent problems that should have been known prior to commencement. Otherwise, ‘unknown unknowns’ can lead to project failure or force pivoting in less desirable directions. A small initial study prevents expensive and embarrassing mistakes.

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Using Beacons in Zoos

Marwell Zoo has a new app, with support for beacons, that allows visitors to plan their day, locate animals and stay informed about the zoo’s latest news.

The app provides an interactive map and contextual messages to the 140-acre park’s 500,000 visitors a year. The app uses the attractions.io platform who have an article on how to add value to a visitors’ experiences through the use of contextual messages and having a better understanding of guests.

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Finding the Nearest Beacon

There’s new research from Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Maribor, Slovenia on Improved Bluetooth Low Energy Sensor Detection for Indoor Localization Services.

While there has been lots of research into server-side processing to improve location accuracy, this research instead looks into improving accuracy locally, in terms of finding the nearest beacon. This kind of processing is often needed where smartphone apps provide users with contextual information based on their location, for example, in museums.

It’s not possible to use the raw received signal strength (RSSI) because it changes frequently due to changes in blocking and reflection in a room. Any errors in determining the correct transmitter can cause errors in displaying relevant information which, in turn, leads to a poor visitor user experience.

The study involved use of iBeacons detected by Android smartphones, both in a controlled room with three obstacles and a real-world setting Expo Museum.

The proposed algorithm stabilised the RSSI by considering previous measurements to filter out sudden fluctuation of the RSSI signal or the rapid movement of the mobile device. The smartphone’s accelerometer was also used dynamically change the scan interval based on the user’s movement.

In the controlled room, the proposed algorithm had a 14.29% better success rate than a standard algorithm using the raw RSSI values. It performed particularly (20%) better in spaces having medium or high density of physical obstacles. It also performed better in the real-world Expo environment with a success rate of 95% compared to 87% with a standard algorithm.

Measuring Crowded Museums Using Bluetooth Beacons

There’s recent research on Managing Crowded Museums: Visitors Flow Measurement, Analysis, Modelling, and Optimization.

The aim of the research was to provide suggestions to a museum’s curators to better manage visitors flows to increase visitor comfort and improve safety. The museum for the case study was Galleria Borghese museum in Rome, Italy that has no obligatory exhibition path and has frequent congestion in some rooms such that those containing Caravaggio’s paintings.

Beacons set to advertise iBeacon at +4dB power were carried by visitors. RaspberryPi 3B+ (RPi) were used in rooms to detect beacons. Data from the RPi was stored in a SQL database. The project captured over a million records for 900 visitors’ trajectories during 13 2 hour long visits.

The researchers used Lagrangian field measurements and statistical analyses to analyse the data. A sliding window-based statistical method and a MLP neural network were compared.

It was possible to accurately reconstruct visitor trajectories and analyse visitors’ paths to get behavioural insights.

The system was suitable for the museum being economically viable and accepted by visitors. An issue was Bluetooth signal noise that was mitigated using data processing. The sliding window approach was better at measuring room transitions while the machine learning approach performed better at estimating the time spent in rooms.

The researchers identified issues with the museum design and suggested rearrangement of the artworks and implementing of a new ticketing strategy to let 100 people enter every 30 minutes while eliminating a 2 hour time limit.

Conference Event Visitor Tracking Using iBeacons

As real, physical events come back after the pandemic, systems like Aventri will become useful once again. Aventri is an app-based event and conference guide that increases engagement and provides real-time event performance insights.

iBeacons can be used to trigger an automated message when a user is in range of a booth or other conference location. They can also be used to implicitly measure foot traffic at particular points. It’s also possible to generate lists of who visited each booth.

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Visitor Spaces Using Beacons

Fulham Palace and Norwegian National Museum have recently starting using Bluetooth beacons.

Norwegian Museum

Fulham Palace is using iBeacon with visitor guides. The Covid pandemic has accelerated the trend for iBeacon driven visitor guides. Using visitors’ own devices rather venue-supplied devices removes concerns regarding decontaminating shared devices. Smartphone driven guides also tend to be more interactive and allow visitors to continue to engage with content and venues after they have left the visitor space.

Norwegian National Museum is using beacons to detect the location of museum staff. Staff carry SC21 TETRA hand held radios detect beacons and upload data back to a control room.

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Beacons, COVID-19 and Visitor Spaces

As visitor spaces start to open up again, beacons can help protect against the virus. Sites such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy are providing social distancing wearables to remind visitors to maintain social distance.

Now is a good time to think about introducing app-based tour guides. These allow visitors to take tours without a human tour guide, without a close group and without touching an audio guide. Visitors can view expanded exhibit information in an app rather than interacting with an exhibit such as pressing a button. Additional safety information can be provided to visitors as they tour rather than at the site entrance where it might be ignored.

See our Solutions Directory for Visitor Space solutions that work with generic beacons.

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Fielddrive for Event Checking and Visitor Tracking

Fielddrive provides machines to manage event visitor flows, providing fast checkin. They also supply the BEACONEX system where wearable beacons track the attendee journey throughout an event allowing show organisers to collect and analyse this data and learn about different aspects of the event.

For more information, visit the Fielddrive blog post What Are Benefits of Beacon Technology for Events?

We have added Fielddrive to the Beaconzone Solutions Directory.

Beacons on Cruise Ships

There’s a new in-depth article at PC Mag on how Carnival use beacons, based on Bluetooth and NFC, on cruise ships. As the article says, “it provides an excellent case study in how to use technology to enhance your customer’s experience”.

The beacons are branded as ‘OceanMedallion’ and allow:

  • Guests to unlock their stateroom
  • Guests to pay for drinks or items in shops
  • Guests to play in the casino
  • Housekeeping staff to keep track of whether or not the stateroom is occupied

7,000 sensors throughout each ship detect the beacons and 4000 interactive portals provide information for guests. A mobile app can also be used that can help navigate about the ship and find fellow passengers.

Beacons provide a way to eliminate friction in the passenger experience. The software system uses edge devices to perform operations close to where the user has been detected so as to reduce latency and network traffic. Nevertheless, the system attempts to centralise data so as not to replicate information.

The system provides Carnival with lots of useful data on guest preferences, transactions (for billing) and preferred areas of the ship. Aggregated information might be used to determine heavily used areas (for maintenance), pinch points and redundant areas of the ship to feed into improvements to the ship.

Read about Beacons in Hospitality

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