beacons at gaming

Beacons for Gamification

CES Scavender Hunt

The Consumer Electronics Showcase (CES) is one of the largest tech conferences, held annualy in Las Vegas (Nevada, United States). The conference bosts hundreds of exhibits spanning many venues, some which are more off the beaten path than others. In an effort to encourage attendees to interact more with sponsors’ exhibits and explore the less popular exhibits, CES created a beacon-enabled scavenger hunt.

Conference attendees loaded the official CES conference app and were provided with clues about where beacons were hidden. However, the clues could only lead the participant to the specific exhibit in which the beacon was located. When the participant entered the exhibit indicated by the clue they are informed that they have located the correct exhibit, but are not given further information about locating the beacon. Participants were required to get within 30 feet, much less than the beacon’s range, of the beacon to get the badge for that beacon. By minimizing the range participants needed to be in to get the reward, CES forced them to truly explore the entire exhibit, hopefully stopping along the way to interact with it or speak with someone. The first few conference attendees to complete the scavenger hunt were rewarded with new iPads, with other finishers receiving smaller rewards.

It is unclear whether CES was successful in garnering more interest for low-traffic exhibits. Participation in the scavenger hunt was substantial, but one imagines people may have simply been running around the conference looking for beacon signals, and not stopping to take in the exhibits around them. It is also not clear whether participation dwindled after the iPads were given away. Perhaps a raffle would have been better than giving the grand prize to the first finisher. Regardless of the rules of the game, the beacon implementation was clever and well-executed.

Gamification is a great strategy for increasing customer engagement and improving brand experience. Beacons provide a high-tech and seamless implementation option for gamification strategies like scavenger hunts or races. We hope to see more conferences, events, and retailers implementing these sorts of fun and rewarding programs as beacon technology becomes more and more mainstream!