From the Mobile World Congress in Spain to the Himms Conference in the USA to the East China Import and Export Commodity Fair, trade shows and exhibitions have been canceled and others postponed due to the fallout of the novel Coronavirus pandemic. As countries slowly open their economies, UFI has published a global planning framework guideline for reopening exhibitions and B2B trade events. The guidance, which was put together by event organizers, venues, contractors, and destinations, offers a whole range of recommendations for creating a safe and controlled environment. The framework gives authorities the confidence to allow exhibitions to reopen based on the assured implementation of agreed health and safety standards. 
Over the years, trade shows have grown to be the places where tens of thousands of buyers and sellers converge into controlled spaces to discuss problems, solutions, pricing, and aspirations associated with brands. The success of trade fairs is determined by human capability in regards to the maximum number of meaningful exchanges you had with qualified buyers and the ability to convince potential buyers to purchase your products. Technology has been and continues to be a deal maker in trade exhibitions. It will continue to make a major impact on events involving huge crowds due to the safety parameters to be maintained at these events. Real-time location tracking technology makes it possible for event organizers to measure the effectiveness of the different components that make up an event.


Make the most out of location data at the upcoming tradeshows.
Contact us today.


By adopting location-tracking technology in your trade fairs, you will be able to understand the behaviors of all participants well enough to facilitate better business connections. Success based on the number of people who visited your booth, being able to maintain safety guidelines, guided indoor navigations and successfully tracking your assets after the event are key metrics. Below are some of the ways that location tracking technology will help trade fairs and exhibitions in the post-COVID19 reopening.

1.   Foot Traffic

Bluetooth Low Energy tracking technology has been deployed in trade fairs and exhibitions through stationary transmitters that are placed in specific locations throughout the exhibition floors. These transmitters replace badges and scanners that have been used over the years to estimate metrics. Attendees will be required to download and run the mobile event app that will be connected to the receiver to receive real-time tracking information. Alternatively, due to the complexities involved in convincing attendees to download the app, BLE beacon tags embedded in their wearable badges can be used. A network of BLE readers will then be deployed throughout the exhibition areas to capture and store attendee data that will help you measure the success metrics, including the peak traffic hours, wait time, traffic flow, and occupancy rates.

2.   Indoor Navigation

It is never easy to find your way around large and confusing hallways hosting numerous exhibitors and gastronomy areas at trade fairs, in spite of the hall plans. Exhibitors are confronted with the problems of easily losing sight of their stand personnel and have problems locating their employees under time pressures.
Indoor navigation with location-tracking technology offers decisive advantages for exhibitions that are dependent on high accuracy. Bluetooth Low Energy beacons are installed throughout the exhibition grounds to help the trade fair visitors' smartphones to receive Bluetooth signals from the beacons and use a signal strength measurement for positioning, which serves as a basis for indoor guidance. The navigation system is a versatile concept for determining your attendees' positions, the specific locations of your products in your booth, the various floors in the exhibition venue, etc. The user is guided from their current location to the desired destination through a turn-by-turn navigation. For instance, attendees are directed through navigations to a session that is about to commence on the next floor while they network. This is a great way to foster engagement among attendees while ensuring they get the most out of the event.
Download our "Indoor Navigation Is Changing Your Industry" free white paper now> 

3.   Asset Tracking

For decades, exhibitors have relied on a manual checklist to inventory their assets before and after a trade fair event. In some instances, you may report the loss of assets including booth parts and components and other inventory during the event, which is an additional cost to your company when replacing these assets. While asset tracking can be time-consuming and expensive, location tracking technology offers an alternative method of keeping track of all your assets thus maximizing asset control efficiency and minimizing equipment loss. Furthermore, you can track the location of assets as they arrive at the venues, especially if you are dealing with sensitive assets. Bluetooth technology helps in tracking both movable and immovable assets at the event and will help you keep track of the location of these assets before and after the event.
BLE beacons use wireless technology where they are attached to assets and IoT gateways to help find the location information of assets and show the real-time location of the assets within the floor plan setting. Kontakt.io Simon AI’s Search & Find provides a dashboard for system administration and management where you can commence your set-up procedure. You can place the BLE gateways on each floor in a grid pattern to maintain a regular power outlet and upload the floor plan on the dashboard for tracking of the assets.
One major advantage of Bluetooth asset tracking technology is that you can design the whole system to suit your needs and budget. You can create a system that will track assets indoors automatically with minimal human participation. You may also reduce your costs by combining QR and barcodes on your assets with Bluetooth beacons to locate the position of all your assets. With the advanced BLE beacons, you will not only track your assets but also capture the physical conditions and create an automated system of IoT with your assets during the exhibition.

4.   Safety

Given the global dynamics of coronavirus after lifting the stay at home measures, contact tracing will be a key aspect in ensuring social distancing and safety standards in trade fairs and exhibitions. You will need automated feedback from the attendees without direct interactions as a measure of ensuring minimum physical contact with people. Location tracking technology makes these efforts possible through tags and ultra-wideband signals to track attendee locations during the trade fair event. When social distancing parameters are violated including the 1-2 meter radius distance, the tag alarm alerts you and persons in violation of the parameters.
RTLS technology from Kontakt.io uses badge-based technology to track the location of each visitor, recording whether they have maintained proper social distancing parameters. The historical data collected and recorded will allow for accurate contact tracing. In the event that any of the attendees shows symptomatic signs of the infection, the COVID19 Contact Tracker Webapp will be able to locate the contacts of all the persons in the event as they would be at risk of exposure to the disease.
Equipping your visitors with smart badges when checking in will help you to define geo-fenced areas within the exhibition floor, allowing you to set maximum occupancy and to monitor the area to avoid overcrowding at any given time. It will also enhance the setting up of geo-fence hand washing stations and track the amount of time spent at a particular point in case of an emergency.

Takeaway

As the global economy gradually reopens, it is time to rethink and reshape events that attract huge crowds. As you plan to reopen your facilities and host trade fairs and exhibitions, it is important to ensure that your facility is safe for occupancy. Location tracking technology will make it possible for you to automate event services from automatic check-ins, navigation, asset tracking, and contact tracing. Contact us today for more information on how to deploy indoor location services in your facility.
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The trends and talking points for the coming 12 months often kickoff at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, taking place this year January 7 to 12, 2018.
From 3D printing to augmented reality, BLE technologies will play a role in some of this year's most promising trends. Here's what you can expect at the Consumer Electronics Show 2018.
Find out what's next for BLE technology in 2018

Our interviews with Bluetooth industry movers already showed that voice assistants will play an increasingly important role in beacon technology. For the Consumer Electronics Show, we can expect all kinds of unexpected new voice-powered products and use cases.
Whether choosing established players like the Amazon Echo and Google SmartHome platforms, or new faces like Apple's HomePod and Samsung's still unnamed Bixby-powered speaker, consumers worldwide are predicted to spend $2.1 billion on virtual personal assistant (VPA) smart speakers by 2020. That’s up from $360 million in 2015.
Future-ready smart home solutions can come to life with the likes of Amazon's Alexa. That personalized experience can be expanded even further with the help of BLE tags. Objects that weren't "born smart" can be included in the smart home environment by using BLE tags to trigger functions based on motion and proximity. Imagine if Alexa could remind you to bring your phone when you open the front door, or to encourage healthy eating when you open a kitchen cabinet. These are the kind of next-gen solutions and tools we’ll begin seeing.
However, all these changes won’t come without challenges. Making IoT technologies work together nicely, including those in the smart home space, will be a key topic for discussion in the coming years (and also at this year’s CES installment).
Consumer Electronics Show 2018 talks: a panel including Tobin Richardson, CEO of ZigBee Alliance, will cover the topic of Smart Home Solutions of 2018. The panel will discuss the challenges in IoT interoperability and why common standards are needed to expand the possibilities of smart home solutions.

As 3D printing (3DP) becomes both more refined and affordable, it's increasingly accessible for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Beyond just making a physical product, by adding connectivity, businesses can start selling experiences that create deeper connections with customers.
Combining BLE tags and beacons with 3D printed products is an easy way to introduce interactive connectivity. With the addition of BLE technology, a 3D printed product becomes trackable and responsive to any number of stimuli. From trackable keychains and dog collars to robots and drones with special missions, BLE tags can be integrated into 3D printed products that are both practical and fun.
When it comes to fun, increasingly popular treasure hunts, room escapes, and geo-locating games can be expanded to include digital play which interacts with the physical by way of wireless technology like Bluetooth. Toys and game pieces with embedded BLE tags can interact with an additional layer of augmented reality, similar to the Pokemon Go game.
Consumer Electronics Show talks: Before you get started with your connected products, be sure to do your research. That's the advice from Chris Murray, Director of Industrial Design at Bresslergroup. In his presentation at CES entitled It’s Not Technology, It’s the Experience, Murray will discuss how research-driven decision making is crucial to success when creating connected products that provide valuable experiences.

Planners of events like conferences, trade shows, and festivals are always looking for new ways to make a lasting impression. This increasingly comes in the form of mobile apps offering guests immersive experiences that are valuable during the event, and memorable once they go home.
Using Bluetooth beacons that interact with event apps has proven successful for wayfinding at expos and boosting guest interaction. But location-based guest interactions can go much deeper once augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality (MR) are added to the mix. From virtual banners to interactive displays, using AR in combination with Bluetooth beacons can create one of a kind, location-specific experiences. With so many companies—both old and new—looking to AR, we’re on our way to seeing more of these solutions in expos, conferences, and even our daily lives.
Consumer Electronics Show talks: The dream of widespread success with AR is becoming a reality for developers thanks to the release of Apple’s AR and Google’s ARCore. That's the topic of The Augmented Reality Experience and a number of other panels at CES this year.

Contextual advertising is all about being in the right place at the right time. Sharing a targeted message with the right person, and getting an immediate, trackable response is every retailer's dream. While the response isn't always guaranteed, sending personalized push notifications to a customer's phone when they enter a store is one method marketers have tried in recent years to boost loyalty and sales.
Bluetooth beacons act as the digital greeter at the shop's entrance, saying "hi" to visitors who have enabled loyalty apps on their phone. For example, Turkish developers used Kontakt.io beacons to interact with a loyalty app when customers entered McDonald's locations in Istanbul. In a six-week trial, 30% of users responded to offers more than once.
Bluetooth beacons can also be used to trigger messages on digital displays in shops, or wherever the target audience may be. With a projected value of of $33 billion by 2023, digital signage will be a playing field for innovation in coming years.
Consumer Electronics Show talks: Once the hardware is installed and the platforms designed, successfully refining messages relies on a mix of analytics and content. That will be the topic of discussion at the Transforming Contextual Advertising and Media panel in Vegas.

Time will tell what next year's tech success stories will be

The trends you see at CES 2018 are sure to gain traction in the coming year. While there are some guaranteed winners, we’re also counting on a few surprises. Regardless of the details, we’ll be seeing the physical world blend more and more with the digital.
So what will be the hottest consumer tech trend in 2018? Who knows, maybe you can become a trendsetter yourself with innovative uses for BLE technology. Let us know your thoughts and learnings in the comments!


Need more insight on BLE technology in 2018? Make sure to check out our complete industry report.

What are beacons and why should I care?

Beacons are devices that broadcast signals at a certain interval. In other words, Beacons allow applications to understand their location on a hyper-local scale and sends signals to users based on their specific geographic location. It’s kind of like GPS for indoors that powers all kinds of possible uses. These uses of beacons in the real world are extremely diverse and endless. They essentially bridge the online and offline world while gathering invaluable data. The results? A lot of possibilities.

Beacons and proximity are most commonly used for:

explore other beacon use cases

What are Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) Beacons and why are they special?

Bluetooth LE beacons are, as the name suggests, beacons that use Bluetooth Low Energy technology. Just how much of an impact does this have?

Click here to check the comparison of Bluetooth and other technologies competing on hardware and software requirements.

Eddystone and iBeacon, Which One is Better Suited for Me?

Let’s hold up a second. Before we go any further, I'll provide a simple explanation of what Eddystone and iBeacon are:

Eddystone and iBeacon are communication protocols. As mentioned earlier, beacons send out a Bluetooth signals at certain intervals, and the communication protocols describe the format that makes up the signal.

iBeacon

iBeacon transmits a UUID, a Major, and a Minor value (16, 4 and 4 digits respectively). One quick reminder: beacons do not do the tracking. iBeacon requires an app to receive, process and/or track the beacon. Works with iOS and Android, but native to iOS (works better with iOS).

Eddystone

Eddystone can send 3 different frame-types: Eddystone-UID, Eddystone-URL, or Eddystone-TLM.

Cross-platform, meaning it works well with not only iOS and Android, but any processor that supports Bluetooth beacons.

Powers Physical Web applications (learn more about that here)

Oh, god! What does all that mean?

Too many technical terms? Don’t worry. If none of that makes sense or is of interest to you, I will simply sum it up:

tl;dr:

iBeacon is simple to implement, has more documentation, but less features.

Eddystone has more features and sends more information than iBeacon, but it is more complicated to integrate.

questions or inquiries? click here

Bluetooth LE Beacon Use Cases

Let’s face it, hearing about beacon specifications can be a bit dry sometimes; you want to see some real world examples and how you can benefit as well. We’ll go through specific use cases in retail, events, tourism, and manufacturing.

Many people like to divide beacon use cases into two categories: the traditional and the new. It can be strange to imagine a technology like beacons, which is only a few years old, to have “traditional uses,” but these are all the verticals the general public know and love. Beacons started in retail and moved to events, museums, tourism. These use cases are all about helping a customer maneuver a space or engage with a company. It’s about facilitating communication.

However, 2017 is seeing a shift. New beacon technology is powering new use cases, namely asset tracking and RTLS. These are much less customer-obsessed and focus instead on data generation or tracking equipment around a space. It’s about illuminating processes to optimize a supply chain or movements around a space (like a warehouse or hospital). These new use cases are set to make up a huge percentage of beacon usage overall even if the average consumer never knows it.

Retail

Retail is probably one of the most mature and fastest growing industries that are using beacons today. Business Insider predicts that beacons will directly result in over $40 billion in US retail sales in 2016. Beacon technology is a great opportunity for retailers to see what items customers are most interested in and plan their store layout accordingly, heck they're even on some coolers now.

We’ve seen beacons used by ELLE, Carrefour, and Volkswagen. Here are some ways you could use Bluetooth beacons in retail:

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Carrefour gains 600% more app users by using Kontakt.io beacons.

Read our retail case study

Events

Beacons power events internationally, and their use ranges from small meetups to large conferences and expos. We’ve seen beacons at everything from Mobile World Congress to football stadiums (so many football stadiums!).

Here’s a list of some uses, because people seem to love lists:


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Tourism

Proximity helps create an interactive environment in places like museums, completely revolutionizing how they guide, educate, and tell stories. Most importantly, beacon technology is often affordable enough that it won't break the bank.

Here are some neat ways to use beacons in tourism:

Asset Tracking

Unlike all the above use cases, asset tracking or “RTLS” is not exactly made to drive sales or help users maneuver a venue (unless it helps optimize performance). Really, this is all about optimization instead of enhancing visitor experience. A lot of people get very confused when they hear the term “asset tracking,” but it’s actually a highly valuable, long-running tool in many industries. In fact, thought leaders expect the growth of Industrial IoT to really rely on beacon technology.

How can you use beacons in asset tracking? Here’s the basis:

Main Considerations

If you’ve read/skimmed this far, you must be interested. So what else should you consider before going into the proof of concept stage?

Deployment

If you’re deploying a large amount of beacons, you must have the right set of tools and communication. There are things you absolutely must understand and some decisions you absolutely must make beforehand:

How are the beacons configured? How are they labeled for deployment? Are they continuously updated as the business purposes for the beacon changes? If you’re in need of some expert tips, feel free to check these out.

Fleet Management and Coverage

It seems a little unnecessary, but management will need to be considered during deployment. If you don’t understand how your fleet with function into the future, you’re probably going to get burned. One must routinely check on: missing/stolen beacons, the indicators regarding battery life, and categorization of the beacons.

The coverage or range of beacons vary largely depending on the environment. Fixtures, walls or even other signals may disrupt the coverage. It’s hard to estimate what the spread in beacons are, but we’d love to try.

Beacon Security

Beacons are now emerging as a gateway to complicated financial interactions, so now there are incentives for someone to gain access to your beacons. The Eddystone communication protocol is already secure, but iBeacon is vulnerable to piggybacking, cloning, hijacking and cracking.

Lucky for our users, all our beacons have Kontakt.io Secure, worlds only suite that protects you against all the security threats.

Of course, just because your beacons are secure doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about understanding how it works. I highly recommend reading up on how beacons work and why security matters. Beacon hardware is incredibly simple. That’s why security is of the utmost importance.

Beacons Solution Provider Checklist

Alright, so now you’re thinking, ‘beacons are interesting, and I’d love to juggle the idea of a proof of concept.’ We got you. We’re excited for you too.

As a quick disclaimer: we don’t provide solutions, we just manufacture the beacons. We do love playing the match maker, we know the industry better than you, so just shoot us a message.

Here are some things you need to look for in a solution provider:

Scalability

Deployment


Download beacon deployment checklist

Conclusion

Thanks for bearing with us throughout this article, we know it’s a bit wordy, but we were aiming to provide a complete introduction to Bluetooth Low Energy beacons.

Let us know what you think below, and once again (sorry), let us know if you have any questions.

Need more use case ideas? Inspiration? Just plain bored?

Download our Beacon Buyers Guide Whitepaper

Check out the rest of our blog for everything you need to know about beacons. We love our blog. It’s our baby.

We know you’ll find more answers (whether it’s technical, ideological, or metaphysical) somewhere in its pages.

Organizing a music festival involving hundreds of artists and dozens of venues is hard. But with so many attractions, it’s also difficult for your attendees just to keep track of all of the concerts they’ve seen. That’s bad news, because you really want your visitors to remember the events they attended—the better they recall them, they more likely they are to come again next year. One music festival addressed this issue with beacons and saw a huge spike in user engagement with one particular app feature that helps solve this issue. (more…)

If you’ve ever attended a huge expo, you know that finding stands you’re interested in can be challenging, to say the least. Panorama Berlin, with over 20,000 square meters of exhibition space, 8 halls, and 600 brands, is definitely a huge event. It’s not that surprising, then, that when they enriched their app with a beacon-enabled feature that solved the problem of finding booths at the hall, 70% of its users immediately fell in love with it. Here’s what they did. (more…)

So you’re one of the 75% of leading event producers who already use mobile apps at events. You’ve worked your fingers to the bone to make your app outstanding. The problem is, your attendees don’t use the features to an extent you’d expect, and you don’t understand why. It’s cool stuff, right at people’s fingertips—why won’t they just open the app and make their lives easier?   (more…)

If you’re familiar with the beginnings of the renowned TED conference, you know that its name stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. This year, organizers of TEDxPadova—an independently organized TED event—took the “technology” part seriously and made the proximity technology a crucial element of the event. So crucial that it reduced printing costs nearly by half. That’s probably not the usual outcome you expect from a beacon deployment, so let’s talk about how it worked: (more…)

There are many ways to enhance the experience of event attendees—by providing great care, accessible information, or extraordinary attractions. But there’s one crucial factor that you have no impact on, and it can make or break your event. You can’t really influence on how people network with each other.
Or can you?
Today, we want to show you how the organizers of one event made 60% of attendees network like crazy with the power of proximity. (more…)

eFan24 uses beacons to make stadiums more appealing to Millennials
Kontakt.io has delivered thousands of innovative companies the tools they need to create and deliver unique customer experiences with our beacon / iBeacon platform. In this Partner Spotlight, we’re featuring eFan24, a beacon based solution for stadiums and arenas.
eFan24 noticed that stadiums don’t deliver the kind of rich, multimedia and connected experience that Millennials have come to expect from practically every area of their life, and decided that they needed to tackle this problem.
(more…)

Keeping your customers fully engaged and entertained by our partners Van Ons BV
Kontakt.io has partnered with dozens of innovative companies to create and deliver unique customer experiences with our beacon / iBeacon platform. In this Partner Spotlight, we’re featuring Van Ons BV – a development agency from the Netherlands that provides some of the best-in-class, fully customized solutions on the market, and whose most recent project is the Beacon App for the Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision.
(more…)

Kontakt.io has partnered with dozens of innovative companies, to create and deliver unique customer experiences with our beacon / iBeacon platform. In this Partner Spotlight, we’re featuring Aloompa – an American app development company that provides best-in-class mobile applications for festivals, sports venues, conferences, and community-focused events.
(more…)

[Updated for 2020]
[Updated for 2020]