iBeacon: a short-lived trend or here to stay?

New technology trends usually go through the same phases: the initial euphoria is tremendous, but successful applications are hard to find. This is also the case for iBeacon.

Is iBeacon just hype or does the new mobile technology offer trade fair visitors and exhibitors true added value? In order to answer this question, Messe Frankfurt is testing the wireless technology at all of its trade fairs in 2015. And the company is already seeing mixed results in the testing phase: the Bluetooth technology is beneficial to exhibitors when it comes to addressing their target audience. However, the reach is not yet wide enough. The number of visitors that have a device capable of iBeacon is in the single-digit percentage range.

Video: How Messe Frankfurt is using iBeacon


Nevertheless, several innovative exhibitors have tested the new product. The adhesive tape manufacturer tesa used iBeacon to provide stand visitors with digital videos, brochures and flyers. To accompany this, Messe Frankfurt integrated a corresponding feature in the trade fair Navigator apps, which communicates with the app users via Bluetooth – a welcome opportunity for exhibitors to distribute existing marketing material without additional effort. The gift wrapping supplier Buntbox guided visitors to its trade fair stand using Bluetooth transmitters. Both exhibitors were able to generate several hundred customer contacts in this way.

“The leads generated by the test users indicates that the technology has great potential. It makes it possible to expand the trade fair stand into the virtual realm and distribute product and company information”, explains Kai Hattendorf, Head of Digital Business at Messe Frankfurt. “However, the tremendous hype has not been justified. The real launch on the trade fair market is still to come. We are working together with our exhibitors to develop sensible and useful applications.”

You can find more information about iBeacons at Messe Frankfurt here.

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