iBeacon Technology Used for New Tourism & Trade App
iBeacon brings shops, attractions & businesses together to provide a new travel experience
Beaumaris Beacons is a new iPhone and iPad app that uses iBeacon technology to give visitors an interactive and immersive experience of a historical seaside town in North Wales. As they walk around, visitors using the app will see its contents change automatically depending on their exact location. It does this by picking up signals from individual beacons that have been placed in shops, restaurants, B&Bs and other organisations throughout the town.
Visitors can download the free app from the App Store and use it to find out the latest boat trip times, restaurant specials and event details. They can also take advantage of offers and discounts which are exclusive to app users. Videos, puzzles, before & after photographs, 360° panoramas and historical stories further add to the enriched cultural experience. App users can also choose to either view content that is ‘nearby’, or view all content, therefore using the app as a travel guide. There are around 100 places in the town covered by the beacons, from the ancient castle and church, to the yacht club, lifeboat station, ice cream parlour and fish & chip shop!
The app was created using the Locly web publishing platform for beacons then bundled up and re-branded as a stand-alone app. All the organisations featured in it can easily update their own content, plus issue notifications via the website. Any changes are instantly pushed out to the app – a process that is as easy as posting on Facebook. For example, the local pleasure cruise company can quickly notify passers by that there are only a few free spaces on the next trip, so tickets are half price! Similarly, restaurants can push out details of their daily specials, and entice in more diners with other promotions and special offers. All the interactive content was created for free using Bookry.com, which is a simple online ‘drag and drop’ tool for creating HTML5 games and puzzles.
Robert Macaulay, Chair of the Beaumaris Chamber of Trade, said “Beaumaris is a unique town and we want to give visitors a truly unique experience. The app brings together content from local websites, tourist leaflets, social media sites and Wikipedia and delivers it to visitors in bite-size portions that are relevant to their exact location in the town, at that moment in time. For example, a visitor may have been unaware that they are stood next to the world’s largest single hanging door or that entry to the castle is half price on that day. They can also discover one of the oldest houses in Britain and find out where hot pennies are annually thrown into the streets on Boxing Day. Without the app, these fascinating facts may have been missed. People don’t always have the time to fully research a place before they visit and having this app is like having a knowledgeable local in their pocket. There is so much to discover here and we hope visitors will use the app to plan return visits again and again.”
Working with Beaumaris town on this project has been great fun. We found that everyone is fascinated by the potential of iBeacon technology and everyone wants their own beacon! The Beaumaris app shows how beacons can be used to deliver historical, cultural and business content to users where and when they need it, and in informative and entertaining way. Next for the Beaumaris Beacons app is a treasure hunt and food trail, plus a town-wide beacon reward scheme which will aim to encourage users to visit all areas of the town.
The app is being launched on 13-14th September to co-inside with the town’s first Food Festival, and event schedules and news will be published on nearby beacons throughout the weekend. Also, to celebrate the app launch, the Red Boat Ice Cream parlour has made a new iCe cream for the festival. What flavour? Well, Apple of course!