Welcome to Beacon U: 3 ways beacons can enhance the college campus

Beacons can transmit campus news, special offers and emergency warnings.
Beacons can transmit campus news, special offers and emergency warnings.

As iBeacons gain greater market awareness, more industries are becoming familiar with their advantages and considering opportunities to integrate beacon technology directly into daily workflows. One sector where this strategy is catching on quite quickly is on college and university campuses. Beacons are adept at communicating information to nearby smartphone users based on their location and proximity to other beacons. This flexible mode of communication helps to make buildings spread out across a large campus feel a bit closer together. Beacon technology can also be used to drive on-campus revenue and guide students during crowded events, so administrators should consider what beacon technology can bring to their campus. The following examples of iBeacon applications just scratch the surface of how the technology can help to improve the college experience:

1. Improve navigation across large campuses
This fall, one prominent business school in France will deploy beacon technology in partnership with Digital Social Retail. These beacons (and the platform that manages them) will provide real time class schedules, mapping and attendance tracking services for students and faculty by delivering updates directly to their smartphones. Data streams broadcasted by beacons will also be used to deliver an interactive map and inform students when class schedule and room changes have been made. The less time students spend wandering the campus, the more time they can dedicate to their studies, and the cutting edge technology will be an great selling point for the school.

2. Redirect foot traffic to minimize congestion
Big schools traditionally depend on proportionally massive student centers to service the dining needs of a the student population. Unfortunately, food courts and kiosks can quickly become overrun with students trying to catch a quick bite before class. Beacon technology can help limit congestion on campus by directing students away from the food court and toward other dining venues when food lines are stretching out the door. In addition to easing the burden on restaurant employees, allowing beacons to streamline the lunch rush ensures that otherwise overlooked venues receive a steady flow of customers.

“The perks of beacon technology are not limited to fun and games.”

3. Improve navigation for visually impaired students
The perks of beacon technology are not limited to fun and games. Michigan State University, for instance, leverages the devices to provide assistance to visually impaired students as they navigate the campus. While visually impaired pedestrians are quite adept from making their way from one location to the next, beacon technology provides the college with way to seamlessly and subtly provide these students with additional support for tracking down resources like public transportation and emergency services.

This sample represents just a fraction of the ways that beacons can fill a role on college campuses. Administrators in need of a novel solution for broadcasting messages to students, speeding up the dining experience and bolstering campus security should find out more about what beacons can bring to the table.

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