Beacons of Change
A pharmaceutical client hired Brella to produce one of their high profile, global meetings. As part of putting on the week-long meeting, the client directed Brella to “go digital” as much as possible. In other words, limit the use of paper for signage, meeting books, handouts, hotel maps, presentations, etc. Being a green company, Brella enthusiastically embraced this challenge.
Every year Brella’s Events team produces many corporate events at hotels and convention centers around the world, so we have a keen understanding of what works, and what can negatively impact meeting attendees. Using that real-world experience, the Events and Programming teams evaluated a variety of digital solutions with the goal of finding ones that would meet our “go digital” mandate, while not disrupting the meeting experience for attendees.
Our teams arrived at a simple, elegant solution–beacons. These are small, waterproof, battery-powered devices that one can apply to any surface. When combined with a mobile app, beacons would reach out to tablets and mobile phones, detecting when a user was in physical proximity. So if 30 people are in a breakout room, a beacon will notify the user of their presence, and immediately links the user to the event materials. In other words, event attendees would be able to get the right materials, at the right moment, in the right place. No confusion or paper required.
Upon securing our client’s approval to use beacons at their event, we set to work building a mobile app that would allow attendees to interact with the beacons. App features and design elements like a clean, modern user interface were carefully considered, and then speed-built in both iOS7+ and Android 4.3+. In conjunction with building the app, Brella also developed a database and content management system that worked with the app to allow the updating of information in real-time.
The beacons debuted at our client’s global meeting and made a powerful impact. Using the beacons and our custom-built beacon app, we were able to send updated session schedules, venue maps and materials to event-goers’ phones and tablets. The beacon app also helped deliver PowerPoint presentations, videos, and interactive PDFs over the air.
“From the user perspective, immediate accessibility to dynamic content is exciting,” said Anthony Biondi, Brella’s Director of Development. “People at our event mentioned how great it was to not have to carry a bunch of paperwork around.”
Over the course of the week, we deployed 29 beacons that were visited for content a total of 3,977 times! Our client was thrilled with the results and the seamless way Brella integrated this technology into their event. Attendees were equally positive about the technology, its ease of use, and the convenience of attending a “paperless” meeting.