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Bluetooth Beacons Bring Elvis Back to Graceland

Visitors to the King of Rock and Roll's home are issued iPads that display beacon-triggered photos, videos and other content application to each location within the mansion.
By Claire Swedberg

In the mansion's backyard, the iPad receives the ID numbers of various beacons, prompting the screen to display video footage of a fireworks war between Elvis and friends, once filmed in that yard.

Visitors can also create a list of favorite content on the iPad, which they can later review before returning the tablet at the desk. "For example," Kern says, "if you don't want to watch a video while on tour or read through the list of items on the grocery list, you can 'favorite' those and review [them] at the end of the tour, without slowing down the [traffic] movement."

Upon the tour's conclusion, the visitor can select photos from a gallery. Those images will then be sent to him or her via e-mail.

The system is restricted to the iPads in use at the museum only. As such, individuals cannot access the data with their own phones or tablets. "There are no plans to sell or distribute the specialized app for download onto personal devices," Kern states.

The solution was launched during Elvis Week 2014, an event held from Aug. 8-17 to commemorate the anniversary of Presley's death. Since then, Kern says, it has been "a tremendous success for visitors and hardcore Elvis fans." The museum is still receiving and evaluating guest feedback regarding the content and how it is presented, in order to determine ways in which the technology and app could be employed to further enhance the user experience in future system updates.

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