Antenna Lab Talks: On NFC


When it comes to triggering content, Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) seems the way forward. We can all envision a future where the majority of museum visitors will enjoy beacon-triggered content on their own smartphone.

However, BTLE is just one of many triggering technologies. The question is not which technology will overcome all others, but about understanding the specific opportunities of each solution, in order to create the best possible experience for our audiences.

 Having recently launched an NFC-based project ‘UNFRAMED’ in Germany with our partner Wooshping, the Lab got down with Antenna Germany's project manager Silke Schumme for a brief Q&A on this matter.

Q. Silke, what is UNFRAMED?

A. UNFRAMED BADEN-BADEN is a large-scale urban art project by French street artist JR organized by The Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden, Germany. In conjunction with an in-gallery solo exhibition, JR invited the general public to submit their own historic photographs of Baden-Baden that he enlarged to poster-size versions all around the city. Antenna created accompanying audio commentaries accessed via NFC.

 Q. If Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) is the future, why is Antenna embracing NFC-technology?

 A.  At Antenna, we believe each solution has its advantages. There are several triggering solutions on the market, and we’re looking to experiment with all of them. NFC might be considered “old” technology, but our clients love the fact that it is tried, tested and reasonably priced.

Q. What do you believe makes a NFC-triggered experience stand out?

 A. I like that the NFC interface requires the user to make a conscious choice about engaging him/herself. This ensures that the experience already starts with the audience being engaged on a higher level, exactly how Antenna likes our audiences to be!

Q. Which experiences you think are most fitted for employing a NFC-solution?

 A. NFC seems especially suited for crowded outdoor experiences, provided that 3G/4G is available. The tags are durable, don’t require a power source and can be designed to fit the context.

 Q. So what is exactly the difference with BTLE?

 A.  Well, there are many, but the most important difference I would say is that NFC doesn’t require the user to download an app. This really allows for an instant and smooth experience.

Q. What was the most challenging aspect of this project?

 A. To accommodate the UNFRAMED exhibition The Museum Frieder Burda needed permission from house owners across the city of Baden-Baden to put up large photographs on their houses. This turned out to be very time consuming, which needed us to be flexible about the nature, size and location of the content until the very last moment!

Q. Have you received any feedback from users?

 A. It’s early days, but with the analytics platform offered by our partner Wooshping we can monitor visitor behaviour closely and learn from how users interact with the artworks.

 Thanks from the Lab and be sure to touch base again after the exhibition to share your learnings! 



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