CloudGuide's Blog

What's about Beacons, NFC and QR's?

BY Joris Van Dyck

Cultural institutions continually strive to make use of the latest technological developments, finding a balance between level of innovation and appreciation of the pure art. A lot of correct, and less correct, info has been circulating about three wireless technologies related to such fields of innovation, i.e. QR codes, the iBeacon protocol launched by Apple, and the NFC (Near Field Communication) RFID radios. At CloudGuide we often get questions from our clients regarding these technologies, so time to write a post about it and find out who the winner is!

QR codes are a graphical representation - encoding - of any text, such as a URL or any other arbitrary text. They could be considered to be the 3D successors of the 2D bar-codes, which are familiar to everyone. Just like conventional bar-codes, QR codes need a special software, an app, to “see” the text they carry inside. Many people have such QR reader apps installed on their smartphones, but for convenience, the CloudGuide apps include a scanner built-in to the app, under the Scan button in the dashboard. The amount of information that can be contained in one QR code depend on the version of the algorithm and the level of “error-correction” added to the QR code. This error correction algorithm adds extra information to the graphical representation of the QR code so that if part of the code is damaged, it still can be read, enhancing greatly its overall reliability. In any case, the QR codes by CloudGuide do not suffer any of those limitations. Also, due to the special algorithm applied, they can also be scanned by any QR scanner app from outside of the CloudGuide apps, in which case the user will still see relevant information from our landing pages and will be invited to check out all your content by downloading the app from the app stores, giving more leads to your content. QR codes are supported by both the Android and the iOS operating systems, and as you can print them yourself, they virtually incur no cost.

NFC, or Near Field Technology in full, is a conventional radio communication over very short distances, also known as short-distance RFID tags. The tags can be read-only, or some more expensive models can be found that allow the tags to be overwritten multiple times. NFC tags can carry any type of data, including binary, and they can be found in capacities of up to 4 kB. The tags are cheap, think about 1 euro per tag, and do not require any maintenance because the passive tags have no battery. The big problem with NFC is that it is currently only supported by a limited number of Android phones, with no support at all from Apple devices. The irony is that Apple's latest device, the iPhone 6, actually has an NFC radio on board, but only allows its use for the new Apple Pay service. Another characteristic that could be problematic in some installations is the fact that the visitor has to be very close, up to 5 cm maximum distance to the tag to be able to scan it. As CloudGuide statistics show that up to three-fourth of its users are iOS device users, we have decided not to support this technology for now.

Last but not least is the iBeacon protocol, as specified by Apple, with many different brands selling compatible beacons at between 20 and 40 euros, depending on quantity and battery size. The beacons are small hardware radios sold in different sizes and colors, and typically have a battery life of between 1 and 5 years, depending on many factors. CloudGuide recommends beacons from, as they feature among the best autonomy in the industry, greatly reducing your maintenance costs. The beacons can be hidden behind, under or next to the exhibit and can be configured with a special, free configuration app usually provided by the manufacturer. Of special interest here is the ability to control the transmission power of the beacons, enabling you to reach visitors' devices are distances much further than the very limited 5 cm offered by NFC tags, we think 10 meters would be adequate in many cases. The iBeacon protocol is supported by both Android and iOS operating systems, and configuration guidance is available right from the CMS, where you will find the exact UUID, Major ID and Minor ID – the 3 configuration parameters for each beacon – for each exhibit.

The following table compares some of the most important characteristics:

 QR codesNFC tagsiBeacon beacons
Data size++++++
AutonomyUnlimitedUnlimited2-4 years
Device supportAndroid + iOSAndroidAndroid + iOS
Scan proximity< 15 cm< 5 cm< 200 m
Cost per tagEUR 0EUR 1EUR 25
Market knowlege+++-++


And now the big question: which technology is better? First of all, it has to be said that all technologies are different, and eventually serve different needs. However, from the above comparison we can deduct that for cultural institutions and monuments, QR codes and iBeacon technology are more suited, and in spite of the usual rapid changes in technology, they are expected to remain the top favorites for at least 5 more years. Taking such devaluation of technology into account is important to protect your investment, even though, with CloudGuide subscriptions you are inherently protected as they develop with the trends in the market, with no extra charges or new investments. Between QR codes and iBeacon technology we would recommend QR codes for those seeking a low level of innovation, say entry-level, as it basically bears no cost and can be installed in a matter of hours, and for those institutions looking to offer true innovation to their visitors, we would recommend to implement iBeacon technology.

So how can you make use of iBeacon technology or QR codes through CloudGuide? Both technologies are configurable directly from the Content Management System, our renowned platform for managers of cultural institutions and content editors. Support for QR codes is provided free of charge and included with all plans, while iBeacon support can be contracted as an add-on pack to your existing subscription or included in any of our premium subscriptions.

If you would like more information on how CloudGuide can make wireless technologies work for you, do not hesitate to contact your representative.

Agenda CloudGuide Week 14th-20th September

BY Azucena Lozano


We are starting this week in high spirits and cheerful to get to every opening, every event and new arrivals to the international art and cultural scene as fortunately, September is crowded with it. Autumn is a full display of great exhibitions and CloudGuide is committed to let you know the best of them in our agenda selection for this week:

  • Is you are visiting the north of Spain, try to get to Santander. This little beautiful city is where you will meet Fundación Botin and Sol Lewitt's 17 Wall Drawings 1970-2015. This is the first time to see most of the drawings, shown in premier, and will be offering visitors a unique view of the stylistic and conceptual development of wall drawing in the artist´s oeuvre. We are sure this would be a exhibition you would love to see more than once! You will have time to do it until next January 2016.
  • May be you will be in New York this week. So this is your chance to jump to the MoMA to meet Picasso, who will bethe guest star at the exhibition Picasso Sculpture, a sweeping survey of the Spanish artist’s innovative and influential work in three dimensions. This will be the first such museum exhibition in the United States in nearly half a century and will be opening next Thursday 18th.
  • Another must-see exhibition will be at Tokyo’s National Art Center, this time a retrospective by Niki de Saint Phalle, as colourful and optimistic as usual. Will open doors next Thursday.
  • And we are already finishing our review with a last call: our suggestion you should not miss this week is in Vienna and the place, the Leopold Museum, where you will be surprised to meet two artist in conversation, two radical creators we would never think to see together. Tracy Emin meets Egon Schiele in Where I want to go, in a fascinating artistic dialogue to draw interesting and not expected parallels.

Our 4 suggestions of the week are over this time. But we are sure we could be writing an endless list of art meeting as September is in this occasion, as we said before, a rentrée month with an extra of quantity and excellence in the overview. So you are invited to make suggestions too! Please feel free to tell us which exhibitions are your fav’s this season using our Social Media channels, Facebook and Twitter, or through our app heart shaped interactive buttom. Remember CloudGuide app is available on iOS and Android.

Have a great and cultural week with CloudGuide!

Agenda CloudGuide Week 7th13th Sept

BY Azucena Lozano


You guys, autumn's coming! Which means it's imperative to have a good plan in case rain suddenly comes to spoil a beautiful afternoon walking the city.

Why don't you pull your mobile out and use your favourite app to decide what to do? A General look at the agenda may help, or maybe  you are thinking  about having a bit of art and get to that new and cool exhibition. So here it comes our 4 international arty suggestions to light up that decision

  • Matthew Barney's: River Of Fundament will be opening too at MOCA Los Angeles, LA. Read on for a preview of these exhibitions, which include presentations of work by William Pope.L, Sturtevant, and Matthew Barney just folowing the link.

  • Ludwig Goes Pop says goodbye at Mumok, Vienna on Sunday the 13th. This great show has been one of the most visited, well rated and most significant holdings of Pop Art shown in the austrian capital. It's your turn!

  • And last but no least we would like to highlight, if you are planning to visit the Spanish city capital, the opening of APERTURA Madrid Gallery Weekend,  a celebration of art and culture. Starting next Thursday 10, events will be taking place throughout day and night until Saturday, with 44 contemporary art galleries simultaneously inaugurating their exhibitions.

Don't you think September is great?


Featured Exhibition of the Week: Anna Peters' at IVAM

BY Azucena Lozano


Sometimes our blog tries to surprise you with suggestions that are unconventional and definitely, not mainstream, because we believe art is about risking and transformation forces as well about beauty. Don't you?

As a photo uploaded to our Instagram account we know you follow in real love says 'Culture is not just great texts, it is also Oohs and Aahs', this time art stories join both into Anna Peters' Caso de Estudio as this Friday is our Featured Exhibition of the Week.

Let us tell you a little bit about this great opportunity to learn about brave women making art in the spanish sixties panorama. A slight overview on Anna Peters' work which will be shown at IVAM untilNovember 22th.

With the lema Political mythologies and feminine stereotypes in the Sixties, the exhibition shows artworks and history of the 4 women founders of Estampa Popular, which brought pop art style and iconography taken from the mass media to the spanish conservative morality official dull years of that times. A challenge they faced to influence  a large number of artists, women or not,  who came after her.




Catch up on the latest art news: 4 stories you need to know

BY Azucena Lozano


With September just around the corner, CloudGuide scanned this week brimming show schedule to select 4 not-to-miss agenda  highlights.

We are sure you will love them just as we do...

  • From Barcelona to Istambul
Twelve galleries from Art Barcelona will participate in ArtInternational Istanbul. Opening bridges between East and West, this fair is becoming a meeting point for the contemporary art global scene.
  • Madrid Art Weekend
Apertura Madrid Gallery Weekend is an invitation to explore the city in a different way, and to discover the latest from the current creation. Three days to walk the most important cultural institutions of the city; all together, celebrating a party which will open up the city to the contemporary art. Running September 10 to 12 it will sure be highlighted in your agenda.
  • Visa pour l'Image Perpignan
The International  Festival of Photojournalism of Perpignan is a classical unforgettable event which surprise us every year. An exceptional date for thousands of photography lovers  which has become  one of the biggest and most important festival of his kind in the world.
  •  Ingrid Berman, eternal
The last suggestion of this week agenda is a spot to an artist whose memory keeps bravely alive. Last saturday it would have been the 100 aniversary of birth, and also decease, of Ingrid Bergman, a really different actress form the stereotype of the cold blonde hollywood star which was  in vogue in the 40's. She won two Oscars and left us eternal jewels as Casablanca to sigh deeply when we hear 'Play it again, Sam'.


Supported by

Booking Booster
European Commission Seal of Excellence
Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte
Techstars Paris