is Ultrasonic Beacons at Events

Ultrasonic beacons have breached the concert ticketing space, and events are next in line.

By now you’re familiar with proximity beacons, but another kind of beacon that has been around for a few years is beginning to infiltrate the event space. Audio beacons, as they’re known, use ultrasonic tech sound to communicate with our smart devices, reacting to and sending data and content based on personal preferences, without any of us lifting a finger. It’s been used by advertisers and in retail settings, but as Ticketmaster embraces the technology, announcing a partnership with audio beacon company LISNR, it signals the beginning of the tech trend’s potential influence on events.

Ticketmaster is testing audio beacons as an e‑ticketing system called Presence at concerts, implemented in partnership with LISNR. The technology can “passively check attendees into events using audio data from smartphones to reduce entry wait time,” The Verge reports. No need for manually QR code-scanning or paper tickets. The “smart tone” technology “can receive attendee’s data over their smartphone’s ultrasonic sound transmission to verify their mobile ticket and ID.”

In other spaces, audio beacons have helped “passively” personalize everyday experiences. Jaguar is leveraging the technology by LISNR in its Land Rover Incubator lab, where beacons detect who’s driving the vehicle, based on “smart tones” emitting from their mobile device, and then adjust the driver’s seat according to their preferences, all thanks to in-car Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It can even adjust the interior climate settings, all from preferences detected from a person’s device through app settings.

As mentioned earlier, the retail space has leveraged similar technologies for a few years now, like Shopkick, which senses consumers’ devices, sends them a push notification to use the store’s app once they’ve entered the footprint, and then leads them to deals—and away from the clutter that doesn’t match their preferences. Another provider, SilverPush, has been using “ultrasonic inaudible sounds” to help advertisers pinpoint users. “…if you’ve installed any app that uses the SilverPush software development kit, it will actually be listening for that sound in the background, and when it detects an ‘audio beacon,’ it’s able to identify that your desktop/laptop computer and your phone/tablet belong to the same person,” TechCrunch explains.

The next time you’re lined up at registration or managing appointments at a trade show, imagine how inaudible tones will redefine customer service, preference-based experiences and automate connections like never before.

By Brent Turner and Rachel Kirkpatrick Boucher

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Brent is a member of the executive team for Opus Agency, an experience agency that delivers flagship programs for 13 of the top 20 global brands.

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