Smartphone-Assisted Easter Egg Hunt Is Latest Use Of iBeacons
Keep an eye out for these colorful eggs if you're in New York this Easter.
iBeacon technology might be helping retail entities gather more information about their customers, but how could it be put to use outside of that environment?
Fabergé‘s Big Egg Hunt, which will benefit two nonprofits, Studio in a School and Elephant Family, is a fun event brightening up the streets of New York for Easter and an experiment in using iBeacon technology in public non-retail spaces. Over 275 egg sculptures, each about 2.5 feet tall, have been scattered around New York City, and each has been decorated by a well-known artist, photographer or designer: participants include Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Diane von Furstenberg, Warby Parker and Naeem Khan.
Each egg is up for sale, and those who ‘check in’ at the egg can bid on it using the egg-hunt app. The location of a specific egg will remain a secret until 10 people have checked in by that egg. After that, the egg’s location will appear on a public interactive map. The intensified bidding that will ensue will benefit the two above-named organizations, which brings arts education to public schools and helps protect the Asian elephant, respectively. Users of the app are also entered to win more than $30,000 worth of Fabergé jewelry.
The organizations will no doubt appreciate the boost they’ll get from the event, but the real fun was for Nomi, a startup organization that works with iBeacons, which helped put the technical aspect of the project together. As they told Fashionista, it was an opportunity for them to prove to their other clients that the iBeacon platform can withstand unusual deployments.
“If you know they’re going to work in that scenario, then they’ll definitely work in a traditional retail environment,” said Nomi co-founder Wesley Barrow. The fact that the iBeacon device, which sends out a unique signal every few seconds, is supposed to seek out a smartphone with the app installed, instead of the other way around, added a variety of security challenges. “It’s not just as easy as plugging it in. You have to make sure someone else couldn’t come in to reverse engineer and build another app using our devices,” Barrow said.
The eggs will be gathered together in a free exhibit at Rockefeller Center on April 18-25, and they will be auctioned off on the 22nd, with the egg hunt ending on April 26th. See which eggs have been discovered on the project’s website.