This guide is for individuals interested in using RFID technology for Attendee tracking and seeks to inform customers on the capabilities, benefits, and best practices in this field. This guide also provides expert advice on attendee tracking courtesy of Dale Bookout and Tony Robinson of Global Registration Solutions - an event technology solutions provider emphasizing products and services that provide solutions for conferences, trade-shows, and events.
A flow chart that helps you determine where you stand and your next steps in attendee tracking with RFID.
Information about what data can be collected by RFID as well as what you can do with it during and post show.
A quick list outlining common RFID Do's and Dont's to keep in mind while tracking attendees.
Data That Can Be Collected With RFID
Entrances & Exits
- Number of attendees on the floor at a certain time, including peak traffic times.
- Number of times an attendee enters or leaves the event.
- Automate educational credits for attendees.
- How long the average attendee stays on the floor.
- Number of attendees in an area at a certain time.
- Amount of time an attendee spends in that area.
- Number of times an attendee returns to an area.
- Exact time and date information that attendee comes in and out of the area.
What Can You Do With It?
An attendee's email address and other information can be associated with the unique EDC ID number assigned to his or her RFID badge. When a unique ID is read at an entrance/exit or small area, software can be directed to perform a specific action.
The number of actions the software can take are endless, but there are a few common actions associated with attendee tracking. The attendee's associated email address can be added to a specific email list depending on read zone, amount of time in the area, number of times read, or even time of day read. The email address can also be entered in a sontest or giveaway used to promote the booth.
Also, companies are able to learn about booth popularity when the small area or booth is setup with RFID. Customer preferences and booth popularity are important to learn in order to maximize marketing and sales efforts.
RFID Do's & Dont's
Attendee tracking with RFID is a great way to learn customer preferences and help to qualify potential leads. Because every attendee tracker is not experienced with RFID, here are some quick RFID do's and dont's that can help.
- Plan ahead and thoroughly test your equipment, even if it is brand new.
- Always use high quality cables.
- Test multiple tags and read angles to ensure you use the best tag for your application.
- Inspect your cables prior to the event. Cables could potentially have been damaged in transportation.
- If you are arriving to the event via plane, ship some of the bulkier equipment ahead of time to save time and money.
- Charge and power up all equipment before an event.
- Always have backup hardware in case of an emergency.
- Test the field limits for each antenna to ensure it covers the area needed.
- Train others to use the system in case you need an extra hand.
- Never fold your cables. This will damage the cables and lessen or eliminate their ability to transmit a signal to your reader.
- Do not run other types of cables in close proximity to your antenna cables. Electromagnetic interference can greatly increase signal loss.
- Never place your equipment in an area that could be exposed to water (e.g. near drinks that can be knocked over).
- Do not wait until the day before an event to get your equipment ready. Clean, test, and prep your system for the next event immediately after the last one.
- Do not leave cables in the open. Cover them appropriately to avoid tripping hazards.
- Anyone who isn't trained should not set up your hardware. Damaging cables and equipment is possible if you do not know what you are doing.
- Understand Your Goals
"When considering using RFID, have a goal on what you want to accomplish. For example, track people in and out of a session for CEU (continuing education unit) credits and determine the length of stay. Or perhaps you are simply looking for a count of unique people at a keynote speaker or meal function. The point is - know what you want to capture and work with your RFID vendor to provide you the reports that maximize the data the RFID has collected."
- Badge Choices
"Pick the correct badge. A paper badge (any size) and a badge holder/lanyard with RFID works best over mag stripe, smart cards, etc. The RFID technology is extremely accurate when a badge is presented either with a lanyard or a clip badge holder."
- Decreasing Costs
"When using RFID for sessions, always maximize the number of sessions held in a room with RFID equipment that is already installed. This will decrease your cost because once RFID equipment is installed there is generally no additional cost per session."
- What to Avoid
"Steer clear of vendors trying to sell you tracking technology that utilize apps or beacons. While apps and beacons do have a niche, they are nowhere close to providing you with accurate data like you can achieve with RFID."
- RFID Provides Accuracy
"Once RFID has been utilized by show management, it's been our experience that they will continue to use it because of accuracy and ease of use. Not using handheld scanners and hiring temps to scan attendees can often help offset the cost of RFID."
- Registration Speed
"Everyone is always concerned with on-site registration flow and the speed of the badging process with good reason. Encoding RFID tags is fast and easy and if done correctly, will not hinder your registration process."
- RFID for CEU
"More and more customers are embracing RFID for CEU and session tracking. With the decreased cost, and increased accuracy and data collected, they really see the benefit."
To learn more about attendee tracking, do not hesitate to contact us for more information.