How live data from beacons can improve your CRM strategy

Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Plugging in all the live beacon-data from your physical business’s locations directly into your CRM system can have a measurable and positive impact on your abilities to personalise offers and messages in real-time.

Let’s explore how this can be achieved, and answer some straightforward questions you may have around a piece of software you may not be using, or utilising to its full potential.

What is a CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it refers to any system used to manage a company’s interactions with its current or future customers.

The purpose of this to help automate some of the more time-consuming, labour-intensive customer service chores so you can spend more time and effort developing the actual human-side of your relationship… the one that will lead to a much healthier customer lifetime value (CLV).

Why should you use a CRM?

A good CRM should organise, automate and synchronise all of the customer facing areas within your company, and not just sales, but also customer service and technical support. (Also marketing too, which we’ll get to later.)

It basically means you can chuck all those massive ledgers and rolodexes in the bin, and hopefully means you’ll never miss an important detail or calendar date in relation to your customer, wherever they are in the sales funnel.

This information on your clients is stored in one place, and should be shared with your whole team. Anyone can update the data, and these updates will be made live immediately. This means that everyone in your business is on the same page when it comes to the relationship.

A decent CRM should also provide you with metrics and help you forecast for the future. You’ll be able to see the complete history of your interactions with a client and you can use this to strategise for the future.

What types of data can be plugged into a CRM?

All the traditional channels, such as telephone calls, emails, face-to-face meetings can be entered into a CRM, but the system you choose should definitely come with social integration and be able to harness mobile data.

More and more people are using social as their first port of call when it comes to contacting a brand, and more often than not, this is done via mobile.

However, what about the missing piece of the puzzle?

Many businesses do not have the complete picture of any given customer journey, particularly those with premises in the offline world.

Without the ability to identify and measure a customer’s in-store interactions and behaviour, then a CRM will never truly be accurate.

But how can a business take these offline interactions and make them… online?

By using beacons.

How live data from beacons can complete your CRM strategy

By placing beacons in your premises, you can measure exactly how a customer behaves in-store. If you target an individual who has your mobile app, with a specific message or offer, you can answer many difficult questions that most businesses can only struggle to guess at…

Has the marketing worked? Has the notification directed that person into a store? How long did it take? Did they use the offer? Did they buy anything else? How long did they spend in-store?

You could then prompt the customer with a quick survey, asking if they enjoyed the experience and where it could be improved.

All this data could be fed directly into your CRM, and can immediately be used to improve communications and personalise offers for the next person that wanders through the door.

Ultimately, this live data coupled with your existing CRM data, is designed to improve customer service. However, never before have we had the capability to do so in such an agile, on-the-spot manner that takes into account the entire long-term customer relationship.

How loyalty apps are driving in-store purchases

retail_app_users

Let’s take a few minutes to pour over some beacon-related research that will help underscore just how important it is to connect the physical retail experience with your digital channels – particularly your mobile-based loyalty apps.

The world of loyalty cards seems like the preserve of gigantic chain supermarkets that have to compete viciously with each other in order to survive.

But thanks to mobile apps, the mass production of plastic cards and the huge infrastructure it takes to enable these vast data collection programmes no longer means loyalty schemes are just for the retail giants.

Every digitally savvy retailer, from an independent boutique to a small city-wide chain, can build a loyalty app that sits on your customer’s phone and offers great added value, for relatively little cost.

Of course the question is… why should I bother doing that?

Let’s look at the latest stats on customer behaviour in regards to loyalty and mobile apps.

Why should I have a customer loyalty program?

Okay, good question. Simply put, any loyalty programme is obviously designed to keep customers coming back to your specific store rather than a competitor’s. But say your competitor offers more convenience than you (it may just be that it’s closer to the customer), you’re going to have to offer something pretty special to make someone come further out of their way to your store.

That’s where a loyalty program comes in. And I don’t just mean points based systems that accrue meaningless general deals, but genuinely personalised special offers or cold hard money off.

Loyalty programmes work! Here are a few stats from Bond’s recent 2016 brand loyalty report:

  • 81% of consumers are more likely to continue doing business with brands that offer loyalty programs
  • 75% of consumers say loyalty programs are part of their relationship with brands
  • 73% of loyalty programs members are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs

These are huge majorities of customers, all saying “yes, offer us a loyalty programme, make it worthwhile and we’ll come back.”

And it’s not just those of us who are used to carrying around loads of different, forgotten plastic cards in our wallets, younger people who probably don’t even use a wallet anymore use loyalty schemes too…

According to Blackhawk Network’s recent study on shopping habits:

  • 69% of Millennials belong to a retail loyalty program and 70% of those are happy with the program

And according to Software Advice the most important thing that will keep millennials using a loyalty program is the speed with which rewards build up (51%) and the variety of rewards available (38%). It should be worth noting that 50% of millennials stated they would quit a loyalty program because rewards took too long to accrue

The case for building a mobile app for your loyalty program

According to Google, 84% of shoppers with smartphones use their devices to help shop while in–store. But then, you don’t really need Google to tell you this. You already do it yourself. You’d be crazy not to! With huge improvements in mobile optimised websites and network connectivity, why not do 30 seconds of research while in-store to see if you can save some money elsewhere.

But it’s not just the mobile-web that shoppers are using, research from Apptentive carried out in July 2015 shows that a vast number of US consumers are using specific retail apps while shopping, which is helping drive in-store purchases.

  • 88% of respondents used retailer apps
  • 61% said they used them at least monthly.
  • 26% of the app-user population used retailer apps seven or more times per month
  • 71% browse retail apps before buying in-stores, at least once a month
  • 51% have used a retailer app while in store.

Percentage_Of_Shoppers_using_retail_apps

But what do people want from a loyalty mobile app?

According to the Bond research we mentioned earlier, 77% of smartphone users suggested they’d like to see mobile-specific offers such as surprise points or rewards, exclusive content and special birthday messaging.

All of this adds to brand loyalty and all of this is achievable with the data you can collect on your customers.

And customers will of course carry on using your mobile app outside the store. The Bond research suggests that, 57% of consumers are interested in using their mobile device to check their points balances, redeem reward points (55%), find a location/store (54%), and browse reward options (54%) at home.

Ultimately this loyalty culminates in revenue. According to ABI research: 40.4% of respondents who had downloaded a retailer branded app said that as a result, they bought more of the brand’s products and services and 45.9% said the app caused them to visit the store more often.

Joining up your physical retail store with loyalty app

Of course all of these benefits to you mean nothing if you’re not benefiting your customers.

According to 2016 research from Revel Systems and Forrester 93% of executives agree that’ it’s important to integrate digital capabilities into physical locations to improve customer experience while 94% of retailers see in-store digital capabilities as important not only for customer experience but also for store operations.

But how can you achieve this?

How beacons can help you join everything up into one brilliant customer experience

Build that loyalty app, give it to your customers for free, and place beacons around your premises to trigger specific deals and helpful store advice.

Make the most of it by offering free Wi-Fi in-store, and don’t be shy about it either. Also do encourage your customers to enable their customer loyalty apps with simple guides. Promise that that the push notifications will be ‘worth it’ then prove it by sending a brilliant one-time offer when they walk into your store.

Use the data you’ve accrued about your app users to tailor genuinely helpful bespoke offers and offer true personalisation.

Make their shopping experience as pleasurable and fun as possible, while also being brilliantly helpful. They’ll not only come back to your store, but also use your app while at home too.

32 Charts, stats & quotes that prove you need to invest in proximity marketing in 2016

Google customer journey

Given that blueSense sells iBeacon hardware and management software, it won’t be too much of a surprise to hear us tell you that you need to get on board the proximity marketing train right away.

Luckily, you don’t need to just take our word for it.

Here are 32 charts, stats and quotes from businesses that show just how important location-based services are going to be in the near future, and why you should consider investing now.

The world is going mobile. Fast

There are now more mobile devices in the world than there are people.

We actually hit this level way back in 2014, when GSMA reported that there were 7.22 billion devices in the world, compared to ‘just’ 7.2 billion humans.

number of smartphones worldwide

Don’t expect that trend to stop though. Back then, around 60% of the population owned a mobile phone, but just a quarter of those were smartphones. Statista expects this to rise to more than 50% by 2018:

number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/

In fact, we can reasonably expect 4.77 billion phones to be on the market by 2019

And phones aren’t the only devices out there. In Q4 of 2015, the wearables market grew by more than 126%, including more than 8 million new FitBits hitting the market.

In fact, the global wearables market reached 45.7 million units in 2015 and is set to reach 126.1 Million Units in 2019. 

And of course, beacons can communicate with all of those… 

iBEacons_BLE

It’s also worth comparing this usage to desktop. Here are two graphs from Google which handily sum up the trends:

Google_Mobile_Vs_Desktop_Use

We’re buying more things, through more devices, than ever before.

And we’re also using those devices for product research (We’ll look at why this is so important in a moment).

According to Monetate, retail clients saw mobile conversion rates rise from 1.2% to 1.53% between 2014 and 2015:

2016-Ecommerce-retail-conversion-rates-by-device

  • In 2014, UK users bought £8. 41Bn ($11.10Bn) of goods through mobile devices. By 2015, that number had risen an astonishing 77.8% to £14.95Bn customers spent £14.95Bn ($19.73Bn).
  • According to data compiled by RetailMeNot, During the same period, PC spending increased by just 2%.  
  • The global mobile commerce market is set to reach $3.2 TRILLION by 2017.

Savvy businesses need to be engaging customers through their mobile devices.

Search behaviour is changing to be more local and contextual.

All these devices are changing something else as well: the way people look for information.

Customers are doing more research on products before buying, often engaging in ‘showrooming’ – looking at a product in store, but also looking for a cheaper price online.

According to Comscore, 43.3% of UK smartphone users have used their device in a retail store:

showrooming_trends

While data from Google shows how complicated the customer path to purchase has now become:

Google customer journey

Users are increasingly looking for information on the spot, and delivering content to them directly can heavily affect their purchasing decisions.

Data from xAD shows that 60% of consumers who research goods and services in-store will buy on location.

Keeping track of online & offline data is a huge challenge.

With so much data coming in, you’d think that businesses would be able to track their customers pretty well.

And they can to a degree. If you’ve handed over your email info, then a business should be able to send you emails that you are personally interested in. What they aren’t so good at is working out what goes on once you actually enter a store.

Data tends to sit in silos, and that means it’s tough to tell if an online campaign helped sell something in a store (or vice versa).

Data from Econsultancy shows that, while beacons are a far more accurate way of tracking customers in-store, just 5% of businesses are currently doing it. Instead, they are relying on tracking codes, phone calls and surveys – all methods that require extra steps from the customer:

tracking_Customers_Mobile

Customer experience is the best way to win customers

The really interesting thing here is that customer experience doesn’t begin and end when a purchase is being made. It actually covers every part of the journey –

Whether a customer wants a useful website when they begin their research, a great in-store experience, or useful information afterwards.

According to CustomerThink:

  • 92% of retailers think customer experience is vital to their business
  • 56% believe they need to seamlessly integrate online and offline data to provide a good experience.
  • Meanwhile, more than half (53%) of customers would stop using a business if they received poor in-store service, and almost a third (31%) have abandoned a purchase because of bad service.

customer-experience

Beacons allow businesses to integrate their data, and optimise in-store layouts to provide better service, as well as removing customer friction points such as the need to carry loyalty cards, or check that they are receiving the best price (Both major pain points, according to Retail Customer Experience)

Low barrier to entry

We’ve covered this before, but just to be sure: iBeacons have an average range of around 100 metres, and cost around £20. With an average battery life of more than two years, beacons cost around £0.0114 ($0.02c) per hour to run. With such a a low entry point, it’s no wonder the market is expanding so rapidly.

Meanwhile, 9to5mac has data from InMarket which shows that since they began sending iBeacon notifications to Epicurious users in stores:

  • Interactions with advertised products increased by 19x.
  • App usage was 16.5x greater for users who received a beacon message vs those who did not.
  • Users who received an iBeacon notification are 6.4x more likely to keep an app on their phone.

It has already begun

The fact that there is a key product called ‘iBeacon’ should tip you off here. Big players like Apple, Google and Facebook like to experiment, but they don’t plough serious money into technology unless they are convinced they will see a return.

Don’t take my word for it though – here’s what these firms have to say about beacons and proximity marketing:

Google: 

“Beacons are an important way to deliver better experiences for users of your apps, whether you choose to use Eddystone with your own products and services or as part of a broader Google solution like the Places API or Nearby API.

The ecosystem of app developers and beacon manufacturers is important in pushing these technologies forward and the best ideas won’t come from just one company, so we encourage you to get some Eddystone-supported beacons today from our partners and begin building!

Chandu Thota, Engineering Director and Matthew Kulick, Product Manager 

Facebook:

As people continue to use their phones everywhere and all the time—including while they shop and dine—there’s an opportunity for businesses to connect with customers online while they are in store. So earlier this year we started testing Place Tips, an optional Facebook feature that helps people learn about and connect with the places they visit, including businesses. Since we started our test, local businesses that have tried Place Tips have seen a steady uptick in Page traffic from in-store visitors.

Apple:

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology

– Steve Jobs 

TechCrunch estimates beacons will reach 60 million customers by 2019, while ABI research estimates that more than 400 million beacons will be deployed by 2020 

And the effect they have on purchasing is well documented.

According to the 2015 Retail Touchpoints report:

  • Beacons will drive $44 billion in retail sales in 2016, up from just $4 billion in 2015.
  • In 2014, 15% of retailers were launching beacon programs in the US. In 2015, that figure rose to 46%
  • 71% of retailers using beacons believe they can now track and understand how and where their customers purchase items by using beacons

The evidence is compelling, the tech is ready to go, and customers are actively looking for better, more contextual experiences. Get in touch to discover how we can help you grow your business with beacon technology and data.

Using iBeacons to create unique customer experiences: An Edgelands case study

Using ibeacons in public spaces

Recently the blueSense team took a trip to London’s Barbican Centre to check out Edgelands,  a new audio installation that uses beacons to communicate with visitors and allow them to understand the building’s unique architecture and history in a new and innovative fashion.

It’s one of the more unique and interesting uses for beacons we’ve come across, with a real focus on the user experience. We spoke to creator Hannah Bruce about the technical and creative challenges involved, and why beacons were the technology of choice for this installation.

Can you tell us a little about the ideas behind Edgelands?

There’s a hopefulness about the architecture of the Barbican, set in concrete, a strange relic of radical urban planning. As artists, we were interested in about what this Utopian vision might mean today. We talked about traditional notions of Utopia, the concept of an ideal state that comes from Greek words literally meaning ‘no place’, but also an alternative conception that evokes Utopia as a temporary moment in the here and now (an intensification of everyday life).

Using iBeacons in public spaces

I was particularly interested in challenging these concepts of Utopia to resonate on a personal, human scale. Is Utopia just a wish, constantly deferred, or might we discover fleeting glimpses of it embedded within our everyday lives? How can we acknowledge individual difference within those glimpses?

Artistically, it was a huge challenge to find ways to generate these temporary moments of intense experience, when we know that every visitor is going to be different. You might find a historical fact fascinating, whilst someone else might find a sound evocative, or a particular architectural decision revelatory.

So we tried to leave space for difference. Are you a history person? A senses person? A number person? Or a physical person? How does that affect the way you experience this Utopian space?

What made you think about using beacons for Edgelands?

The beacons came into the picture as a practical solution to an artistic problem. My number one essential rule, is never start with the technology! Always start with the artistic concept, identify the challenges, and work out whether technology can be one of the many tools that solves those challenges.

In terms of our artistic concept, Utopia is often imagined as an island state. We wove this imagery into Edgelands by producing different ‘islands’ of sound that visitors can discover as they explore the foyer spaces. It’s as if you are at sea, floating on a raft, and every now and again you ‘hear’ a glimpse of land and pull yourself onto the beach to rest and listen…

ibeacons apps on Google Play

Practically, we wanted the soundtrack to relate directly to specific places in the building, but because of the disorientating, complex nature of the space, we didn’t want to force people to navigate a particular route.

So that’s how we arrived at the idea of using Bluetooth low energy beacons. We wanted localised ‘islands’ of sound, triggered by a visitor’s proximity to a specific place or view in the building. People could wander freely, and when they got close to a beacon that particular “island” audio would play.

Thanks to a University of York R&D research grant, we already had experience of working with Bluetooth beacon technology. We first used the Bluesense beacons at Hoxton Hall, an amazing Victorian music hall hidden in the heart of East London. The Hoxton team commissioned us to create a pioneering visitor experience, responding to the hall’s historic 150 year old archives.

Rather than creating a dry museum display, we wanted to be true to the building’s performative music hall history. We were determined that the experience should be artistic, emotional and atmospheric (rather than just an opportunity to look at objects and read facts). We wanted visitors to have the sense that the building was almost a character itself, responding to their presence (and that as a visitor you also play a role in the building and become part of its story).

The beacons were an ideal way to give visitors the impression that the building was animate – for example, as someone enters a room the lights come on, and a voice speaks very naturally as if chatting to them in the same room (but the voice is based on a character from 100 years ago). Eerie, but magical.

The combination of Bluetooth beacons, and sound recording techniques such as binaural sound, allowed us to achieve this. Using headphones, binaural sound imitates the way our ears naturally hear the world, and can have a dramatic immersive effect. For example, many visitors are amazed when the person they hear descending the stairs behind them turns out to be fictional!

How did you get on with setting up the beacons themselves? Did you have any technical challenges to overcome?

The technical challenges kept us on our toes. Thanks to a University of York R&D research grant, we already had experience of working with Bluetooth beacon technology. However, every new project comes with unknown factors.

At the Barbican, the foyers are huge open spaces with different intersecting levels, full of concrete surfaces. We already know we can use architectural features and building materials to our advantage to deliberately obscure signals and manipulate the trigger point (alongside adjusting beacon strength, advertising frequency etc). Of course, in a place like the Barbican this gave us a lot to experiment with – it’s a concrete jungle! But we had no idea how the beacons would behave in such large, cavernous areas.

Our worst fear was that the Bluetooth signals might replicate small children running around a hall of mirrors at a funfair – getting reflected and distorted, bouncing off balconies, scrambling through pipes. Potentially the signals could have appeared in all shapes and sizes in entirely unexpected places. Luckily our alpha-testing went much more smoothly than we’d anticipated. Maybe that’s what happens when you make a piece about Utopia…

We also knew from previous work that the hardware of Android devices differs dramatically when it comes to Bluetooth capability. In August 2015 OpenSignal reported that there were just over 24,000 distinct Android devices, with a beautiful image to represent the fragmentation:

Android Device Signal Fragmentation
Android device signal fragmentation – Check out the interactive version at OpenSignal.com

Due to the significant bluetooth variation in the android devices, we realised that a calibration system would be essential if we wanted to trigger sound at roughly the same proximity across a range of devices (and artistically, because of the site specific nature of the narrative content, a universal trigger point was very important to us). Even though Apple devices vary less, a calibration system was still useful across different models, devices, operating systems etc.

How is the project being received by visitors?

Edgelands launched fairly recently, so we don’t yet have a body of feedback for this piece. We encourage people to leave feedback – we have a traditional written option, and there are also feedback buttons you can click in-app which allow you to email us thoughts.

Interestingly, at Hoxton Hall we have received an unexpected amount of feedback from visitors, mainly about the artistic impact of the experience. I don’t have any hard science about this, but I suspect its because visitors have a very personal, atmospheric experience which fires their imagination, and they are in a reflective state. When they finish the experience, they are invited to complete a feedback form, and I suspect we catch them at a point when they are fully engaged and immersed.

How did you go about getting past any initial self-consciousness so that visitors can immerse themselves in the experience?

Our audiences tend to dash to the venues we work in, straight from their busy lives. They have often travelled on public transport, fought their way through crowds, had busy days at work or with kids, and arrive frazzled with their head in survival mode. Life can be very overwhelming at times, visually, aurally.

We all have techniques to screen things out. Its almost as if we have our own mental algorithms that unconsciously help us filter things we don’t want to see or hear. As artists, we’re interested in creating an environment where, rather than screening things off, people open themselves up to their surroundings. This doesn’t happen easily – it’s a two way process of trust. Our audience have to trust that we’re going to look after them, and we have to trust that they are going to engage with complex concepts and be generous with their time.

We have found its very important to help people enter a different kind of head state, and this can’t be rushed – there’s a kind of liminal threshold that we have to invite people to cross. For this reason, we always think very carefully about the first few scenes. These opening minutes are critical for imparting practical info, but they also need to be immersive, set the right tone, open people’s hearts, make them intrigued, notice their surroundings, and a multitude of other difficult things.  As one audience member said about a previous piece we made: “I’m normally really cynical and critical but I just really enjoyed this experience… it was like slowly lowering into a warm bath.”

How are you measuring usage and effectiveness?

We use Developer analytics to monitor App units. We also have ipods available for people to borrow at the Barbican if they don’t own a smartphone or tablet, so we have to keep a more old fashioned tally of these loaned devices!

Many of our customers have a commercial imperative driving their use of technology. It seems that by avoiding that, you have been able to concentrate wholly on the context of the experience.

Do you think this would be affected by a more commercial approach?

I think on one level you are right in saying that we take a more contextual approach to what we are doing. We use a whole battery of techniques to support our concept, and the technology is just one aspect. The complicated, and magnificent (!) thing about our approach, is that we draw on a combination of strategies to ensure every “experience” we make for audiences is holistic.

In any single commission we consider site, content, technology, audience behavior, audience emotion, atmosphere, light, architecture (and the list goes on) as integral elements of our toolkit. So we think much more broadly and artistically, about live holistic experiences, rather than just using location based push notifications to sell ‘stuff’.

Of course, there are many things that make this easier for us than in the commercial world. Our product is an experience, not a material product. We can give assurances that we aren’t capturing anyone’s device data, which removes that potential barrier to participation. Edgelands is an experience that audiences have sought out, and chosen to participate in – we start with an already interested party (although I suppose that many consumers are already interested).

Of course, there is an element of commercial imperative for us. We have to pay our artists and technologists. Commissioners like the Barbican and Hoxton Hall spend money on this work because it adds value to their assets.

It might not be measurable in terms of direct sales but it means that people are attracted to the Barbican, spend time in the building, might buy a coffee, see their ads for other shows, buy a ticket for something else, or, like traditional advertising, see the Barbican as a leader in technological and artistic work. One of the key elements of the brief from the Barbican was that they wanted to transform the foyers into a new creative platform spanning the length and breadth of the Centre. Our role was to find ways to make these spaces central to visitor experience.

I think there’s probably a lack of imagination with many commercial approaches to BLE beacons. There are experiential, atmospheric, environmental elements which can turn consumption into a more contextual ‘experience’ for a consumer. I suspect that the importance of these nuanced elements will increase, as the novelty of receiving a push notification wears off.

In the same way that we learn from and use technologies from the commercial sector, there are definitely lessons that the commercial sector could take from our ‘artistic research’. We invest significant time (and money) into thinking about how to direct people in an interesting way via narrative, how sound design and music composed for a specific place can affect the ‘user’, how to subtly influence or encourage people.

We might not use these tools in order to make direct sales, but I think many of the influencing factors could span both worlds. What I think is unique and essential to our approach is the craft, the subtlety, and the quality of the whole. It’s not the same as piped music or library music or someone telling you ‘now go to the next exhibit’.

There are always cultural overlaps between theatre, and the society in which it is watched. So, although I think there’s a tendency in the arts to see the commercial world as a Big Bad Wolf, there are definitely significant influences from one to the other. In Exeunt, an online theatre magazine, I was fascinated to read various theatre critics recently drawing parallels between the culture of consumption, and the experience of seeing an immersive theatre show. Alice Saville suggests that “immersive theatre feels like a capitalist playground”.

I certainly think that the increase in scale, grandeur and sumptuousness of work by companies such as PunchDrunk or DreamThinkSpeak reflect their audiences’ interplay with other experiences – shopping, festival going, even watching TV. And how about glamping? It is not just luxury camping, its about imagining yourself into another lifestyle, an “immersive experience” of glamour which means your short break takes on an escapism combining material consumption with imaginative action. You practically star in your own “immersive theatrical experience”. In a commercial context, Cornetto has aped the zeitgeist of “immersive theatre” and binaural sound with its “Cupidity” events at Westfield in 2015 and 2016.

Cornetto Cupidity
Cornetto’s ‘Cupidity’ short film event at London’s Westfield Shopping Centre

I think that on the whole, artists are very good observers of society, and I think the skill of bringing consumption and experience together is one that is proven in work like Punchdrunk.

I suppose I am intrigued about what might happen if a company with a commercial drive was courageous enough to risk committing to a more contextual, holistic approach to using beacon technology. I suspect that focusing on the whole experience rather than the immediate sale, might have interesting results.

Do you have any future plans for more beacon projects?

I have a bad habit of dreaming up a new piece every time I discover a new building or take a walk, so its really just a question of finding the support to match the ideas.

Currently, we’re in the early stages of a some exciting discussions about a number of beacon projects (if I told you I’d have to kill you, of course), and we are continuing our R&D into Bluetooth technology and the internet of things, supported again by the University of York. I think one of the refreshing things about both the artistic and creative technology worlds is that people are generous with ideas, collaborations and time. So it’s a question of opening up conversations.

Its been very exciting working with the Barbican team, because as producers they work with a highly collaborative commissioning approach. As artists, we had a role in supporting the vision for a ‘smarter’ Barbican building in the long run. It’s incredibly exciting to be on the cusp of a wave, working in a building with staff willing to be daring and innovative, supporting artistic risk.

I think many arts centres and spaces have managers who are slightly intimidated by technology – digital natives are in a minority at managerial/executive level – and so the shift is slow at the moment, but I think it will explode in the near future. Recently I went to an exciting symposium at Warwick Arts Centre, run by Ludic Rooms, which brought together arts professionals to look at interactive and networked technologies and their use in the creative process. There were some really exciting people and projects there, such as Melissa Mean at the Knowle West Media Centre, Nikki Pugh who is an associate artist at Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, and Sam Howey Nunn who runs Artful Spark

Its fantastic to be supported by organisations such as the Barbican and the University of York, so we’re excited about what the future holds.

Visitors to the Barbican can experience Edgelands until October 7th, 2016. Find out more about the technology behind this project on our product pages, or check out our A-Z for other use cases.