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Titan Phone Booth Beacon Project Criticized in NYC

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This is a guest post written by Liz King of Liz King Events & TechsyTalk

If you’re an event planner who hasn’t heard about iBeacon technology, it’s time you learned a bit about it. Gaining popularity this year, this technology allows bluetooth-enabled phones to pick up signals from nearby beacons. I’m sure the easiest way to think about this is in event terms. Let’s say you’re an exhibitor at a large trade show. You set up your booth and add a beacon. Then, when attendees with bluetooth-enabled smartphones walk by, you can send them a message. Promote your booth, send them a coupon or simply let them know you are there. This technology has very interesting implications for the events industry.

But if you know about beacon technology and you’re thinking about using it for your events, you should also be aware of a project recently being tested in NYC. If you’ve ever walked by a phone booth in the city, you probably think it’s an archaic piece of useless technology, but you would be wrong. Recently, Titan phone booths have been outfitted with beacon technology. What does this mean? As you walk down the street, the phone booth will pick up the fact that you are there and can send you a message from a local retailer or advertiser, straight to your phone.

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The backlash has been quite severe as this project is just being rolled out. Consumers feel as though their privacy is being violated. The public is shocked to learn that these have been installed without any kind of announcement. And, there is concern that the NYPD will also be using these beacons to track individuals.

So – what does this mean for beacon technology? What does it mean for your events?

If you’re planning on using beacons at your next event, you’ve got to think about how you can communicate that with your attendees in advance. Don’t scare your attendees away by over-personalizing their experience. Instead, get them involved in the process and you will see that they will embrace the concept with less trepidation. As new technologies emerge, it’s going to be important for us to put attendee privacy first and foremost. The last thing we want as event organizers is to lose the trust of our consumers. Technology can be used to enhance an experience, but not at the peril of privacy.

 

40759_521325010018_167700018_30681844_1564431_nLiz King, Founder of TechsyTalk

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