(DGIwire) – College campuses attract smart young people. Now, thanks to the advent of beacon technology, campuses themselves may be on the brink of getting smarter—by giving students the ability to access a wide range of information about academic life right on their smartphones. This type of initiative is a timely one; after all, the overwhelming majority of college students regularly use a smartphone. Furthermore, beacons are more efficient than text messaging when it comes to ensuring that students receive custom messages or up-to-the-minute information such as classroom location.
In April 2016, for example, ESSEC Business School in France teamed up with Digital Social Retail, a New York-based proximity marketing firm, to “connect” its two Paris campuses, which collectively enroll approximately 4,800 students. The company’s Social Retail® platform, along with a custom mobile app, will be used to improve the students’ experience by delivering proximity-based interactive maps, real-time class schedules and updates of class time and room changes. The technology may also be used to check class attendance, send alerts when a teacher is absent and help locate or notify students in the event of an emergency. In addition, the platform enables automatic check-in at campus events, real-time notification of food, drink and merchandise discounts and even the delivery of classroom-specific content.
“Campuses are ripe for the benefits of beacon technology, because students are already glued to their phones and rely on them for all sorts of information,” says Chris Stabile, Vice President of Business Development at Digital Social Retail. “Beacons provide an effective way to reach out. The alliance between ESSEC and Digital Social Retail will not only allow the school to communicate better with its students but also paves the way for more colleges and universities to do the same.”
The “Social Retail® Campus” initiative was developed so that the beacon and mobile app technology was connected and compatible with ESSEC’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Banner® by Elucian, the ESSEC School ERP, is well-known in academia and is utilized by a large number of U.S. universities. As a result, the company now has a solution that can easily be implemented and quickly replicated on other campuses. The Social Retail® digital convergence platform works seamlessly with mobile screen messaging triggered by Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons communicating with iOS and Android devices running Bluetooth®.
Beacon technology can reach students with relevant messaging at every point during their stay on campus. A beacon can be thought of as a literal beacon, i.e., a lighthouse. Same way all a lighthouse does is emit light, all a beacon does is emit a radio signal. It takes someone putting an organized message of some sort into that stream—as the company does with Social Retail®—for valuable information to be transmitted.
“Digital Social Retail has experience in education—as well as in retail, events and other industries—that gives us the ability to adapt our technology to our clients’ needs,” adds Stabile.