This is a guest post from Drew Burchfield, co-founder of Aloompa, the leading provider of mobile app technology in the US. On Monday, February 29th, Drew will join Eventbrite to host a Live Q&A on the benefits of RFID and proximity technology. Register here.

“Proximity technology” is poised for a major breakthrough in 2016. According to Forbes, the technology will drive close to $44 billion in sales for the retail industry this year. How will this new tech impact your next event?

Before you can answer that, you have to know what proximity technology is. We’ll take a deep dive in our Live Q&A, but in this blog post we’ll give a brief introduction to proximity technology and its benefits.

What is proximity technology?

“Proximity technology” allows you to track and directly communicate with attendees through their mobile devices. Organizers can use proximity technology to understand where attendees are, and what they’re doing during your event.

This takes two pieces of technology: a physical “beacon” and virtual “geofence”, both of which interact with an attendee’s phone. They can be used to track an attendee’s activity or trigger push notifications on-site. Attendees usually opt into proximity during the onboarding process of a mobile event app.

The first large-scale beacon deployment at a music festival was in 2013 using Aloompa’s proximity technology, Presence. Presence is a platform that combines Bluetooth beacons and geofences to enable marketing capabilities and allows us to access real-time location data.

What is a beacon? A beacon is a small wireless device. It transmits a continuous radio signal that interacts with smart devices via Bluetooth.

What is a geofence? A geofence is a virtual barrier that’s anchored by a latitude and longitude point.

Through beacons and geofences, proximity technology lets organizers keep attendees informed. For example, we’ve seen organizers trigger notifications when attendees pass by sponsorship booths or near certain stages or artists. It’s a great way to deliver exclusive content and keep your attendees informed about event alerts.

The tech also gives event producers never-before-seen insights into how their audience interacts and engages on-site. If you’ve ever wondered which booth, artist, or activity was most popular at your event, now you can know for sure.

Who is proximity technology for?

If you want to create a better live event experience for attendees, proximity technology could be for you. Harris Interactive recently reported that 31% of millennials use their phones during at least half of a live event. (Only 15% said they never touch their phones while there!)

On the backend, the data you receive through proximity technology can improve operations, marketing, sponsorship, and more. Without this type of technology, it’s hard to understand what an attendee actually does once they’re inside your event. You may know when they buy a ticket or enter the gates, but that’s the extent of your insight.

With beacons, you can understand when attendees visit the bar, what artists they see, which activations they interact with, and much more. You can also monitor how long it’s taking attendees to enter the venue, understand which performances drive the highest attendance, and report back to your sponsors on how successful their activation was.

A taste of what you could learn with beacons

In 2015, we focused on perfecting the process of deploying beacons at live events. Here are a few things we learned in the process:

  • The average download rate of event apps is 60% at music festivals.
  • In 2015, we saw opt-in rates for beacon technology reaching as high as 80% by consumers.
  • Proximity messages had an average engagement (click) rate of 30%. These could reach as high as 80% when exclusive content or offers were being delivered.
  • World-famous DJ Tiesto had the highest Audience Retention Rate out of all artists at Aloompa beacon deployments in 2015. During his set, the average attendee spent 41:52 minutes actively listening, or 70% of his set.
  • On average, attendees spent 12 minutes at sponsor activations during the festival.

Want to learn more?

If you’re interested in using this ground-breaking technology, expert guidance is key. That’s why we’re here to answer any questions you may have!

Register now to join us on Monday 2/29 at 10:00 a.m. PST for the Live Festival Technology Q&A. If you can’t make it, feel free to reach out to our data analyst Brannon Desseyn with any questions you have here!