Museums have barely changed since the concept of preserving artifacts for showcase became relevant around the world.There are over 55,000 museums in over 200 countries, according to the World Museum Community. However, the digitization of information has spread into all facets of our life, including these institutions. More and more of them are employing smart beacons to create an amazing virtual experience for people.
Smart museums are using beacon technology to augment the way they provide information to museum-goers. iBeacons are small wireless sensors that use BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) devices that can connect with devices like tablets and mobile phones. These beacons give museum managers the opportunity to connect deeper with people and can go so far as to detect what part of a museum that visitors are in. Not only can visitors experience the physical world of art and culture, they can have real-time, digital information transferred to them.
The majority of popular museums around the world have already implemented beacons to support their current displays. The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design. The Al-Thani Collection is a series of amazing traditional and modern Indian jewelry. With beacon technology, the museum is able to send real-time notifications to visitors who allow communication between their device and the beacon. Additional information can be transferred directly to a device, creating even more of a sense of connectivity with visitors. Virtual exhibits within the museum are also improved by vibrating and displaying videos when in certain parts of the museum. Interactive data visualizations are the perfect solution for museum managers to make something that feels intangible behind protective covering tangible again.
In addition to the improvement of showcases and exhibitions inside smart museums, the level of interaction increases as well. Works of art at major exhibitions are often behind rope and glass. Being able to see a virtual representation of the art with a 360 degree view is now possible due to smart beacons being placed throughout a museum. One such museum that is offering this experience is The Getty Museum. Not only are you able to get an alternative viewpoint for the art presented inside the museum, the interactive app allows you to dive deeper into the history of artwork, allowing you to maneuver through different chapters of history from the convenience of your device. This can be used as a huge marketing tool for interactive museums. Digital content that gives a different perspective to art and culture is a perfect way to tease visitors into continuing to walk to each exhibit. Real-time offers for merchandise can be sent directly to a museum visitor’s phone upon arriving into a different room, complete with promotions and discounts if wanted.
Bringing stories of our history to life is now a reality thanks to companies like Electric Bench, who specialize in creating the beacon technology necessary to make museums interactive. Although humans can appreciate the ancient world and the modern world separately, the ability to combine technology and history together provides an unforgettable experience to visitors of all ages at a museum.