Published December 13, 2013
The Dolphins plan to test beacon technology during Sunday’s game against the Patriots at Sun Life Stadium to stay better connected with their fans using mobile devices and ultimately improve their gameday experience. About 150-200 Dolphins season-ticket holders with iPhones and iPads are scheduled to test a system that sends targeted messages to their devices through the team’s mobile app as they walk around the stadium’s plazas and concourses. Beacons are essentially small radios programmed with location-based technology to pick up signals from mobile devices and send back customized messages for informational and commercial purposes, providing a tool for teams to collect more data on fans’ interests and tastes and make highly targeted suggestions. The Dolphins, in conjunction with tech partners Qualcomm and eMbience, the team's application developer, have installed about 50 beacons inside the stadium walls on most levels of the facility. As they move about the stadium -- depending on the space they enter -- test participants will receive full-screen, branded messages providing discounts on concessions and merchandise, videos detailing the history behind Dolphins icons Joe Robbie, Don Shula and Dan Marino, and “line busting” alerts informing them of shorter wait times at other concession stands. On the club level, test patrons were to receive alerts with the words “Waiting in Line?” and “You’ll find shorter wait times at the concessions near Section 228,” redirecting them from high-traffic concession stands to shorter lines elsewhere offering the same food and drink on the stadium’s east and west sides. The beacon system uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology, and for Sunday’s test, it will be restricted to users of Apple products using iOS 6 operating systems and above, said Dolphins Senior VP & Chief Technology Officer Tery Howard. The intelligence tied to beacons will not repeat a message if a fan walks by an area more than once, Howard said.
INFO WILL BE USED NEXT SEASON
: The Dolphins will use the feedback they receive from those testing the beacons to improve the technology and expand it for next season to include integration with concessionaire Centerplate’s 800 points of sale at the stadium. “It has to be easy to use and it has to be relevant to enhance the fan experience,” Howard said. “Everybody has a device with them now and it’s about what we can do to maximize all this content we have.”