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Industry alliance to champion beacons

The Global Beacon Alliance is on a mission to stamp out bad use of the technology, before it is killed off

Pictured: Live Group CEO and alliance chair Toby Lewis

A new alliance has been formed to champion the use of beacons to enhance events – and it is on a mission to stamp out bad practice.

The Global Beacon Alliance (GBA) has been formed from an initial partnership between event management company Live Group and the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) to produce standards and provide better information on the effective use of beacons and location-based technology.

Despite a wealth of possibilities, says the Alliance, poor use of the technology – such as simply pushing out multiple marketing messages – runs the risk of killing it off before it has had a chance to prosper.

Alliance members are also keen for the use of beacons to become standardised, avoiding the inconsistency and availability issues that afflict event Wi-Fi.

Toby Lewis, CEO of the Live Group and chair of GBA, said the industry had been too hit and miss with new technology, creating a sense of mistrust. He added: “There has been a need for the creation of an organisation around beacons in the events industry for some time; the two things that are consistent are that beacons are here to stay and that more information and guidance is needed.

“The best use is positioning, that’s where the future of the tech lies. When it’s linked with social media it will work brilliantly for example, but we need to get the beacons in first.

“But people do not want to be spammed; there is a danger that exhibitors will push out the same message no matter what attendees are interested in. So organisers need to know what they want to use beacons for."

The alliance intends to ‘crush’ poor use of the technology by highlighting bad practice in a bid to ensure beacons reach their potential.

“We will be highlighting the worst practices,” Lewis added. “In the long term, use of beacons will lead to better events. What I am against is poor use, which will kill the technology in its tracks.”

The PCMA is already on board, agreeing that more information is needed from within the industry, and the alliance is in discussions with other industry associations to generate support.

“In an age of a digitized economy and the Internet of Things, beacons and location based technologies are becoming the norm and thus it is critically important that the industry stays ahead of this reality,” said Sherrif Karamat, CAE and COO of PCMA. “The Global Beacon Alliance is a forward thinking organisation looking to establish acceptable standards for users and developers.”

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