Can RFID help boost event venues?

RFID – Radio Frequency Identification – technology has already benefited event venues in London with the implementation of the Oyster Card system, making it easier for delegates to reach conference centres in the capital from transport hubs or distant accommodation.

However the technology could also be put to use directly in the events industry, according to Don Turner of Spinning Clock. Writing in Event Industry News, the managing director of the event planning firm argues that RFID can help the industry make the most of tightly stretched budgets.

Turner says that with the industry’s renewed focus on ROI, organisers must turn to new technology for solutions – such as delegate tracking through RFID.

Simply put, a delegate tracking system would see each delegate given a small battery powered transmitter – and RFID badge – upon entry to the conference space. The radio signal from these tags would then be detected and tracked by sensors installed in the walls of corporate venues, allowing the position of each delegate to be triangulated – and a detailed map of “event traffic” to be complied in real time.

“One of the major problems with using an event as a marketing channel is the lack of tangible data that you are able to gather in order to assess its impact,” writes Turner. “As an exhibitor you basically have one performance metric – the number of leads collected.”

“This is where the real value of delegate tracking lies.”

Whilst Turner acknowledges that the intrusion of delegate tracking may “seem a little Orwellian” and would likely meet with some opposition by delegates, he says that it offers benefits for both exhibitors and attendees.

“Imagine going to a networking event where you can prepare a list of people you would like to chat, and when you get there, you do not have to hunt around for them – you just get directions straight to them. This is certainly possible with RFID.”

Finally, he adds that RFID could also help highlight areas of low and high footfall within event venues – allowing organisers to deal with issues on the use of space and to track how changes could make it more lucrative.