Festival uses BLE to gain insights into attendee activity

Bonnaroo Festival uses BLE to gain insights into attendee activity
HURDLES: Technology described as ‘awesome’ but complex permissions hinder usage

This year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival has used Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons to track how visitors moved around the site so that it can “shape and streamline the festival in the future”.

One hundred beacons were placed by platform provider Aloompa at entrances and exits to the Tennessee venue, the festival campgrounds, the VIP area and Centeroo — the ‘heart of the festival’ where visitors watch performances, check out the vendors and explore the activities. Aloompa then tracked the most popular stages and performers using the BLE devices, as well as the average length of time people spent in specific areas.

The beacons were also used to send out personalized, proximity-based messages to attendees, including reminders to rehydrate and to visit a nearby information booth for answers to any of their questions.

Aloompa delivered 97,270 messages over the four festival days, with each user device receiving 12.6 notifications on average. Messages were only successfully delivered to 20% of the visitors that had downloaded the app, however.

iOS users had to say “yes” to two prompts in the app (one system and one app-related) and keep both background refresh and Bluetooth turned on in order to interact with the beacons, Aloompa explains.

The technology is “awesome”, Aloompa concludes, but “faces some hurdles in opt-in rates because [of] complex permissions. The firm added though that “for Bonnaroo, the data gathered is invaluable”.

“From learning what people tend to do right off the bat upon entrance to a festival event, to seeing what stages tend to have loyal fans in common, the figures gathered by beacons can help shape and streamline the festival in the future.”

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