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Asian Art Museum Enhances Visitor Experience With BLE Beacons

The museum, using technology from Cuseum, has been providing location-based content for app-using visitors, while its long-term goals include ticket purchasing, membership drives and possibly RFID-enabled tools.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 08, 2017

San Francisco's Asian Art Museum is leveraging Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon technology to provide content about exhibits to visitors at its facility. But the museum's long-term plan is to provide more for guests—for instance, ticketing on the street front.

During the next few years, Asian Art Museum intends to provide what it calls the Digital-Optimized Visitor Experience, a system to deliver personalized content to visitors based on their preferences, location—both inside and outside the building—and relationship with the museum (a member, for instance, or a first-time visitor). The experience is expected to leverage visitors' smartphones, as well as digital signage and touch screens. Once the solution is fully in place, it will employ a combination of BLE beacons and radio frequency identification.

Asian Art Museum's Jonathan Lee
The museum began this effort with a BLE system—which was provided by Cuseum—for more than a year, in order to determine how it can provide individualized visitor journeys for its customers, depending on their interests. The beacons have been in place since April 2015 at the sites of approximately two dozen objects, as well as at some architectural features of the building in which the collection is housed (in a landmark Beaux-Arts building), located in downtown San Francisco.

Asian Art Museum offers one of the largest Asian art collections in the world, totaling more than 18,000 pieces that date back as many as 6,000 years. Approximately 2,200 are currently on view. Its visitors come from throughout the world. By incorporating location-based technology, the museum hopes to enhance the visiting experience for its customers by offering them individual exhibit information as needed, as well as suggestions of other exhibits to view as part of their journey.

The museum began working with Cuseum on a beacon-based solution to provide mobile engagement-based content to visitors, based on location and context, on their smartphones, says Brendan Ciecko, Cuseum's CEO and founder. "The museum wanted a broader strategy related to how they interact with visitors," he states.

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