Levi’s Stadium App Makes Use Of Beacons to Help 49ers Fans Get Around
Enterprise Wi-Fi provider Aruba Networks officially lit up their homegrown beacon network and accompanying smartphone app at Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, today in Santa Clara. After working in beta for that last several months, the deployment now enables a host of location-based services for stadium goers like: quickly and accurately finding concessions, restrooms, and seats with the Levi’s Stadium app, no matter how deep into the stadium users are.
It is one of the first indoor positioning systems installed in such a large space. The beacon signals, which have been in use since Aug. 2, run over Bluetooth Low Energy (4.0) and are being used in conjunction with the 68,500-seat stadium’s vast Wi-Fi and switching infrastructure.
Beacons are small, Bluetooth Low Energy hardware devices, with limited broadcasting range that can be used to communicate with smartphones or other wearable devices. Beacons can be placed in multiple locations inside a structure or retail space—covering certain zones of the location (approximately 75 meters) with their individual Bluetooth signal—and can then allow a participating person’s smartphone or wearable device to communicate with it and thereby determine their location.
However, beacons can also trigger specific content or experiences on the user’s device too. For example, when you walk in to one beacon’s zone, you might receive one kind of push message. If you walk into another zone, you might receive a different message. This differing content can be specific to each beacon’s individual location, enabling custom content in different areas of the building you are in.
This is why retailers are so jazzed about beacons. These little devices may be able to help reinvent retail experiences and their associated value even as more and more people flock to online retailers for cheaper, easier access to merchandise. And according to Aruba, consumers prefer beacons to Wi-Fi-based indoor positioning because it’s inherently privacy friendly. The venues’ apps you opt into look for beacons; beacons don’t look for you.
In the Levi’s Stadium example, there’s really only one location—the stadium itself. There may be many beacons all over that stadium, but only one location to contend with. In this case, it makes sense to install the Aruba controller on-site to manage the beacons and relay their data to the cloud and then on to management console software. Aruba built their own hardware capability from the ground up, but actually they were not starting from scratch with their management console.
Something to look forward to–faster trips to the bathroom and a straighter line to beer and brats on game day, a blessing for both the venue owner and the fans.