2016 has been a wonderful year — we've learnt some important lessons, received some invaluable feedback and made some exciting changes to the Beaconmaker platform.
As always, we're grateful to all of our customers for their support and for the early birds who even switched to our new platform. Below, we mention a few of our favourite launches from this year.
Sydney Open 2016
Sydney Open was powered by Beaconmaker for the second year in a row on both iOS and Android devices.
The launch of the app coincided with the launch of the Powerhouse Museum Icons Tour, and has a strong focus on audio tours and events.
The app that was previously launched for the Classic Wooden Boat Festival was merged into a visitor guide for the whole museum.
Australian Museum & Trailblazers
Australian Museum promoted their Trailblazers exhibition with a kids' scavenger hunt app to be used on-site with beacons.
Mirvac's 'Smart' tenancy app provides live information on usage and availability to employees. For example the app will allow Mirvac employees to see which workspaces are available in their neighbourhood.
Visit appstore.mirvac.com on your device to download.
Launch in Amsterdam
We have officially launched their first office in Amsterdam! Europe is an incredibly rich hub of culture and heritage, with a staggering diversity of museums that feature anything from fine art to cats. 2016 saw a number of renovations and re-openings of European museums, reflecting the vitality of the museum culture and sector in Europe.
We're excited to welcome Naysan Tofighian to the Beaconmaker team as our Business Development Manager heading the office in Amsterdam. Naysan originally hails from Sydney with a background in and passion for museum studies.
We are thrilled for this chance to be part of a thriving culture, to form close relationships and provide better support for customers in Europe.
Lessons from 2016
Stability > New features
New features are exciting but that excitement can wear out quickly if the rest of the platform isn't strong enough to support it. Integrating new features is a reiterative process and involves rigorous testing. Like building a house, it requires a strong, stable base first. This is why we decided to rebuild our entire platform from the ground up: with stability as our #1 priority.
We took onboard what our customers identified as their 'must-haves' and used this as the starting base for the app. While other features will be introduced at a later point, along with customisation options, our focus is on doing so without adding to the complexity or affecting the stability of the platform.
Speed > Customisation
The need for streamlined development cycles has consistently come up in discussions with customers. Short timelines are common to digital museum projects which means that it's important for project managers to be able to upload and manage content on the fly and have a published app within a few months to coincide with the launch of a new exhibition or event.
Based on this feedback, we've significantly stripped back the amount of time it takes to have a working demo app. In 2017, Beaconmaker will be launching the public version of Preview App which shows live changes made in the CMS and lets users demo their app content before publishing. It's the easiest and fastest way to test and reiterate.
Our primary focus at Beaconmaker is catering for the needs of museums, galleries & cultural institutions. This focus allows us to design features that cater not only to museums, but also to their audiences.
With ongoing feedback loops and open discussions with museum curators, directors and project managers, we'll continue to deliver and improve upon the user experience of our platform for our customers, and their visitors.
Feedback is not only important in improving our platform but is an invaluable tool that helps museum curators improve app content. Currently, with Google Analytics, it's possible to see popular in-app screens and search terms.
However, beacons have the potential to present much more.
We will improve visitor analytics to help curators and directors understand not only what is popular within the app, but also what zones or physical spaces in the exhibition are being visited more.
And last but not least, the ability to offer content in different languages is an important requirement for museums and galleries. Our developers are already hard at work building this feature into our platform, and we're pleased to announce that the planned launch date will be in Q1 2017.
On behalf of the Beaconmaker team, we wish you a happy holiday season and we'll see you in 2017 for another wonderful year!