Written by on in Technology .

Daydreaming of iBeacons

One of the great adventures of working with technology is finding what uses lie beneath the original intended purposes. Besides getting to know the technologies and functions it posses,  there are hours spent creating new and different ways to bring that technology to new groups to meet needs and serve groups of people potentially left out previously.

Such is the case with iBeacon technology. iBeacons are small items that use bluetooth technology and push out a unique signal that links their location with specific information. iBeacons were originally created and used by retail entities to track shopping patterns. But now, we are seeing the iBeacons enter into new fields and create new possibilities.

Through new coding in the app we are working to offer iBeacon technology as part of the continuingly immersive experiences Next Exit History can offer. Some of the previous limitations of GPS technologies, such as the technologies used by the app, have been it’s unavailability or imperfect locating services in locations such as deep valleys, large cities with lots of large buildings or indoors.

Here’s what we are excited about- indoor mapping. There are so many places that we can now offer interpretation and continued conversations for historic places and museum exhibits. Through iBeacon technology we can pin down locations within feet of each other, even inside of buildings. So, say you are enjoying the Fossils on display at your local Natural History Museum. As you approach the display on triceratops, a notification pops up and tells you about the triceratops but also tells you about the process of building the model and about the digs that have occurred recently. But also posed questions about what the earth was like during their times and talked about techniques for identifying fossils and recreating their attributes and environments.

But there are other great implications for interpretation and continued conversations at roadside signs and archaeological rich sites where permanent signs pose a threat to the cultural resources present. What if all those “Historical Marker 1 Mile” sign also sent you information that you could listen to on your phone as you drove by? What if it let you know what was hiding just behind that ridge or down that dirt road? There is much history everywhere you go! What if that broad and rich history was no longer just beyond reach, but literally in the palm of your hand?