Welsh castles reap the rewards of connected tech

Newport-based connected technology company GCell has implanted its iBeacons into a giant artificial dragon and a string of Welsh castles.

The firm is working with Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, to deploy iBeacons throughout ten famous Welsh castles and its fiery dragon.

GCell, which manufacturers the world’s first solar-powered iBeacon, has been responsible for installing and managing the technology at these heritage sites.

This technology is changing the way visitors interact with history. As users walk around the selected castles, they’re sent new content when they pass a nearby iBeacon.

Through an app, they can then discover interesting historical information for specific locations. It can be delivered in the form of audio files, videos and interactive images.

Cadw has also created a dragon to tour Wales. Four metres in length and two metres wide, it’s been equipped with iBeacons so that the public can engage with it and access relevant content.

Throughout the year, the dragon has made appearances all over Wales, including Flint Castle, Caerphilly Castle and Chepstow Castle, and it’ll continue on its journey to even more castles.

Barry Jenkins, director at GCell, said: “We are delighted to be working with Cadw and Locly to deliver a pan-Wales collaboration who can boast a truly world-class set of location-aware marketing technologies.

“GCell can demonstrate unparalleled expertise in the manufacture of solar powered iBeacon hardware devices, plus sympathetic installation expertise within heritage sites. It’s a fairly unique delivery of proximity technology in a sustainable manner.”

Erin Lloyd Jones. heritage interpretation manager at Cadw, said: “We used both existing and new digital assets to create the trails, which provide fascinating insights into all aspects of castle life, including atmospheric audio narrations given by imaginary castle workers (blacksmith, musician, carpenter) and image interpretations of what the castles may have looked like in their prime.

“Our overall aim was to enhance the physical with the digital to deliver engaging experiences for visitors of all ages, encouraging them to learn and explore as they walk around. The Dragon is a truly iconic addition to our sites.”

The Cadw app is now available to download on App Store and Google Playand more digital trails will be added during 2017.   

Image source: Jona Nalder