In this paper, we propose a new architecture and performance analysis for beam index modulation (BIM) wireless communication implemented with the aid of analog beamforming. The BIM concept is presented in order to extend and adapt the spatial modulation (SM) concept to sparse wireless communication channel environments. It is shown that when compared with the conventional beamforming and SM strategies, the BIM system can achieve higher spectrum efficiency in high signal to noise ratio (SNR) and non-line-of-sight (nLoS) sparse channel scenarios. Furthermore, different to the previous spatial scattering modulation (SSM) work the proposed BIM architectures have reduced hardware complexity, and, importantly, in some nLoS sparse channel conditions the BIM can also outperform the SSM. The above findings were further validated by some demonstrative experiments that were conducted at 10 GHz.