The Tribeca Film Festival, which runs from April 16th to the 27th, has integrated its iOS app with iBeacon, Apple’s trademarked name for its next-gen Bluetooth offering.
The beacons will be scattered around various festival sites, offering attendees a location-based degree of interactivity that had only recently been featured during the SXSW festival in Austin. The apps for both events were built by Vancouver app developer Eventbase.
The Tribeca app alerts users of screening times, venue location and capacity, last-minute ticket sales, information about line-ups and real-time offers, using Bluetooth LE low-powered two-way communication between user devices and iBeacons. App users will also be able to purchase festival tickets in-app.
With the festival’s program available inside the app, users get an immersive heads-up on the various films, with the ability to view trailers and reviews which change each time the Discovery section of the app is opened.
App users will be prompted to offer feedback and film reviews at the end of a screening, and the app remains mercifully quiet when it detects that the user is inside a theatre.
So far, iBeacon has mainly been gaining traction in a retail context. But Eventbase has also been showcasing its utility for events. Most recently, Eventbase handled the location-based app development at SXSW, where they were using 40 iBeacons, compared with the hundreds of iBeacons employed during Tribeca.
The iBeacons run on Qualcomm’s GIMBAL platform. Qualcomm Labs began testing GIMBAL in Japan just over a year ago, in retail and grocery store environments.
“This wasn’t possible before GIMBAL. GPS wasn’t precise enough,” Eventbase co-founder Jeff Sinclair told USA Today.
The development of the GIMBAL platform has also incorporated a number of security features during its development in Japan, paying particular attention to hackers’ ability to “spoof” GPS technology. And unlike Wi-Fi networks, a GIMBAL platform can be hastily assembled and taken down in a matter of minutes.
Android support will be coming soon, according to Eventbase. The GIMBAL platform doesn’t support Android, and obviously neither does iBeacon. Android didn’t support Bluetooth LE until version 4.3 of its platform, and while Android devices can detect beacon technology, they only read the data, as opposed to iOS devices which can act as iBeacons themselves. The possibility for two-way communication will have to be ironed out before Android apps can be rolled out.
Eventbase cut its teeth developing its app for Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics, and then went on to develop similar apps for the London and Sochi Olympics.
The Tribeca Film Festival runs until April 27. Eventbase will be bringing its app know-how to the Cannes Lions advertising festival in June.