Using Beacons with Gamification

We have previously written about trying to achieve ‘want-in’ rather ‘opt-in’ for beacon apps. One way to achieve this is to use a technique called gamification that is often used in non-beacon apps to encourage greater engagement and retention:

“The application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.”

There’s a recent paper by the University of Cambridge Museums consortium, a group of eight museums within the University, working in partnership also with the University’s Botanic Garden and other University collections written by Tommy Nilsson, Alan F. Blackwell, Carl Hogsden and David Scruton. The paper, ‘Ghosts! A Location-Based Bluetooth LE Mobile Game for Museum Exploration’ (pdf) examines the challenges and opportunities introduced by the introduction of a beacons into museum scenarios.

They found that the nature of the museum interior with large shelves and artefacts scattered throughout the space, contributed to unpredictable signal coverage. Instead of trying to implement traditional location finding, they instead used gamification to have ‘ghosts’ popping up on the screen of the mobile device explaining to the player that they are lost and need help finding their way back to their home artefacts. The unpredictable signal coverage became part of the challenge and game. They describe the result as a:

“Museum guide masking itself as a hide and seek game”

One of their conclusions is that:

“BLE can thus play a significant role in advancing the internet of things from a mere futuristic vision to a mainstream level of use”