Beacon-Enabled Google Glass at Museums: “It’s Not Some Distant Future. It’s Already Happening.”
GuidiGO is an American-French software company that combines latest technologies with the real-world context to enhance visitors experience in cities and museums. Recently, they implemented Google Glass and Kontakt.io beacons together at Keith Haring’s Exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. We talked to David Lerman, CEO and co-founder of GuidiGO and asked him about proximity’s influence on Google Glass experience and what the impact of such a combination to visitor journey was.
Kontakt.io: Why did you use Google Glass at thede Young Museum?
David Lerman, GuidiGO: Going to a museum is an experience by itself. The technology, if used properly, can only enhance this experience. The de Young Museum was looking for a non-intrusive solution that would augment the visitor experience without altering it. Glass immediately appeared as the right solution not only because it’s a light-weight device, but also because its UI limits the friction with users.
Kontakt.io: But Google Glass isn’t the only technology involved. Why did you also use beacons?
David Lerman: We also needed a non intrusive solution so as to allow visitors to easily select and launch the appropriate multimedia content. Beacons technology was an obvious choice. With beacon-triggered content we could almost completely eliminate interaction with the device! Thanks to Kontakt.io’s beacons, Glass can seamlessly suggest a content to the visitors depending on their location at the museum.
Kontakt.io: How does it differ from other beacon implementations?
David Lerman: In a nutshell, when you are in a museum and you ask yourself “Where am I? What am I looking at? Can I get more information about this piece of art?,” Glass, powered by beacons, is capable of answering those questions almost immediately. It works as a proximity-enabled smartphone or tablet app, but the experience is even more seamless. Instead of looking down at content display
ed on your device, youcan see it just before your eyes.
Kontakt.io: How futuristic is that?
David Lerman: The solution we’ve implemented isn’t so futuristic; we rather consider it as a window to the future. In ten years location-aware devices will be as common as smartphones are today, and having them in museums will be a kind of standard. It’s already happening.
Kontakt.io: What do you consider as the biggest advantage beacons have over other solutions?
David Lerman: I would say that by adding context to devices, beacon technology makes these devices truly smart—finally, they can deliver the right context to the right audience at the right time. That enormously enhances user experience, deepens relationships between an exhibit and visitors, and creates numerous opportunities. For example, beacons can also be a way to engage better with others, not necessarily around us. Linking the content that beacons trigger to social media has a huge potential that, I believe, hasn’t been used fully.
Kontakt.io: What other proximity opportunities need further exploration?
David Lerman: Proximity-based technology can be used to easily connect a museum staff and visitors. For example, at the Brooklyn Museum, visitors are geolocated thanks to beacons. A proximity-driven app enables visitors to ask experts questions regarding exhibits in front of them and to get answers in real time.
Finally, beacons can help identify and measure the flow of visitors, their visit frequency, the devices they us, and so on. Such data provides museums with better understanding of their visitors so they can engage with them more effectively. All of that provides memorable experiences and boost visitors’ engagement. And this is what the technology is all about.
David Lerman is the Co-Founder and CEO of GuidiGO, a leading platform for creating next generation guided tours and games on mobile and wearable devices. GuidiGO’s mission is to inspire people to connect with art and culture through compelling storytelling. David is a third-time entrepreneur with a lifelong passion for technology, design and culture.
Photos by Sean-Franc Strang