This is how Adobe created live heatmaps in the Summit app

Juha Mattsson

At this year’s EMEA Summit in London, Adobe showcased a number of cutting-edge digital applications of in-store marketing, including Wi-Fi analytics covering the whole event space, live heatmaps on the Summit app, and notifications triggered by bluetooth beacons. The technology and implementation were powered by Walkbase.

Adobe Summit is the biggest Digital Marketing event in Europe and this year we saw the upsurge of a new theme: in-store experience and engagement. Physical stores and spaces are an inseparable part of commerce and thus represent the natural next steps in the evolution of digital marketing. At the event, Adobe demonstrated how existing digital marketing tricks and tools can be brought to the physical world. We at Walkbase were honoured to be providing the required Wi-Fi Analytics and bluetooth beacon technology platform for the event.

With over 4000 people attending the show across four conference halls each the size of an airpot terminal, and the event being spread across many levels for breakout sessions, executive, VIP and partner meetings held in many smaller rooms, it was a little challenging to implement a full-scale deployment of our solution in just the two days we had available. The installation and setup had to be successfully completed in an environment where everything was being set up in parallel from the network through power to exhibition structures. But we did it, and in this blog post we talk about how we delivered it and what was achieved.


Download free case study: Adobe Summit 2015

Setting it up: a game of minutes

Arriving at the ICC ExCel in East London you are immediately impressed with the sheer scale of the venue. It is incredible - this is where they hosted many of the 2012 Olympic events. Our task was to deploy our sensors to all the auditoriums, breakout rooms, briefing rooms, partner stands, party area, and so on at the exhibition. 

Setting up the event at the main hall of the ICC ExCel venue, just one of four similar-size halls


Demanding shapes and structures for sensor placement

Given the event covered close to 50 000 sqm of space, we had to plan for an airport-magnitude installation with approximately 150 Wi-Fi sensors plus a suitable coverage of bluetooth beacons. What made this a bit unusual was the fact that everything had to be set up, configured and tested in just two days. However, having planned all carefully beforehand, dividing into 3 teams of two persons, and relying on our self-developed set of robust deployment tools, we knew we could make it happen in time.

The Walkbase installation team ready to rock

The biggest challenge in this type installation is the fact that prior to us being able to install anything, we have to have power outlets, network coverage and most of the exhibit structures in place. At Adobe Summit, it was like getting ready for serving a gala dinner for 4000 people at once. With so much going on to get ready for the event, most of the exhibition booths were still being completed a few hours before the event kicked off.

To complete such an operation successfully requires an experienced team, proper planning, enterprise grade deployment tools, and a hefty amount of tenacity. Take the party area for example. It’s the size of an exhibition hall and power was made available at noon of the 1st day, and building the stage and other parts didn’t stop until just before the party started at 7:30pm. We were practically left with just minutes for configuration and testing before the doors opening for delegates to flow in and enjoy the evenings entertainment.

Luckily testing is easy, as our deployment tool enables each installation engineer to track their position real-time. It’s easy walk through the space and check the robustness of Wi-Fi based indoor positioning at all areas, and make any adjustments on the fly if needed.

The party area with Bastille playing. More than 2102 people attended in total, more than half of all Summit visitors that day. 

During the event: real-time analytics, heatmap, and beacon-triggered messaging 

The event itself was amazing, with everything visually extremely smart, lots of people, and all sessions running like rehearsed a hundred times before. Besides our sensors on the walls and structures, other visible indications of Walkbase were the bluetooth beacon triggered messages on the Summit app, and the in-app real-time heatmap covering the whole event space. Naturally, Adobe and Walkbase were able to monitor key visitors stats and KPIs real-time from the Walkbase dashboard. 

People start filling up the space

For a sneak peek, here’s a few snapshots of the event analytics. The first graph shows the total amount of visitors entering the ICC ExCel site per hour. As we can see, the most active "rush in" was on the 1st day between 11-12 when everybody flowed back to the main hall following the first key note.

Total visitors at the whole Summit site

The heatmap screenshot below shows how people are distributed at the Auditorium at 10:30am the second day. The image also shows a view from the Summit App displaying a live heatmap from the site -- this feature, as well as the beacon triggered messages was thanks to integration between Walkbase technology and Adobe Marketing Cloud services. The app developers, a company called Attendease, along with Adobe took advantage of existing Walkbase APIs to implement live heat data and location triggered notifications on the app with a flick of a switch.

Heatmap screenshots from the Walkbase dashboard and Adobe Summit app. Note how the stage area of the auditorium is clearly visible in the heatmap (lower left corner).

Walkbase technology was also presented on the second day’s keynote, as Adobe’s Marc Eaman & the BBC’s Claudia Winkleman presented about Mobile Reality, Adobe’s tool for in-store engagement and customer profiling. The solution was demonstrated live at the event, and was also powered by the Walkbase solution. Walkbase combines Bluetooth beacons with Wi-Fi sensors, thus being able to use Wi-Fi based analytics and profiling data for triggering iBeacon messages. Watch the keynote presentation here (“FULL Thursday Keynote: Reinvention is a Personal Journey”, about 2:18).

Combining their Mobile Reality solution and Walkbase's Wi-Fi + beacon platform, Adobe sent location and time specific messages to all delegeates who had installed the Summit app and enabled Bluetooth & notifications. To learn how the Walkbase solution works and how the Summit app demo was implemented, watch the session titled “Deconstructing the new mobile experience: personalisation, targeting, push, hyper-localisation, analytics and a whole lot more! - MO01”.

BBC's Claudia Winkleman holding a Walkbase beacon in her hand as Adobe's Marc Eaman is presenting Mobile Reality

Read more on this topic:
The new mobile experience at Adobe Summit: personalisation, hyper-localisation and analytics

Download free case study: Adobe Summit 2015



Walkbase provides a retail analytics solution for improving the impact of marketing on physical stores and personalising in-store shopping experience.