Delivering Rich Location-Based Experiences at Palmer Museum using iBeacons

Location-aware technologies hold the promise of delivering context-relevant experiences to users who are exploring new spaces.  Unfortunately, GPS, the most prominent driver of location-aware technologies, only functions outdoors.  QR codes, another popular solution, are unintuitive and clunky. Recently, Apple released iBeacons, a new technology which enables “indoor GPS”. iBeacons allows mobile devices to sense their proximity to small, inexpensive, and low-power transmitters. Penn State’s Education Technology Services has developed a new mobile app to deliver proximity-specific content (text, image, and audio) to mobile devices. In partnership with the Palmer Museum of Art, we have created a unique media-rich experience for patrons that is driven entirely by their location within the museum. Visitors using this app are automatically presented with narration, ambient sounds (period music, etc.), details about the works of art and related materials, and behind-the-scenes anecdotes to enrich their visit as they move about the space. This session will detail the trial process of creating interpretive materials using iBeacon technology for a special exhibition housed at the Palmer Museum of Art. In this presentation, we will provide a hands-on demonstration of iBeacons to illustrate the types of content and user experience we provided in the Palmer Museum of Art, and to further expand on the possibilities of this technology. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015
Teaching and Learning with Technologies Symposium