The Fastest and Easiest Event Check-in
The struggle to win over your guests starts with check-in. Make them wait in line, and their excitement about your event will plummet. Use cutting edge technology to speed up the check-in process, on the other hand, and you can ensure that attendees enter the event in the best possible mindset.
Zenus, a Houston-based startup, is bringing its powerful face recognition technology to the events industry. Event planners across the world have started piloting this fresh concept and the results are impressive!
Event: The International Corporate Event (ICE) Awards was among the early adopters. Specifically, the ICE Awards 2017 took place at the Saatchi Gallery in London, honoring senior in-house events professionals across 15 industry sectors. The event attracted 250 experienced event professionals, 70% of which were in-house event organizers representing 60 companies.
Challenge: This year, Anita Howard, the founder and producer of the ICE Awards was looking for something new to impress attendees. However, the venue entrance was narrow and the check-in requirements limited their options.
Specifically, the organizing team wanted to print badges for the attendees and also do a brief security check to ensure that only invited guests were allowed in. These requirements, in combination with the narrow entrance, were expected to create long lines. Face recognition technology was a perfect match, and Anita was excited about the concept.
Solution: Zenus’ solution can be integrated into existing registration platforms, making the experience smooth for both the event planner and the attendees. Specifically, the ICE Awards used the Ya-Ya Regie online event registration platform which has already deployed Zenus’ face recognition solution.
Before the event, the attendees were invited to upload their profile picture and opt-in for face recognition. Behind the scenes, the registration platform (in this case Ya-Ya Regie) automatically stripped the images of any personally identifiable information before uploading encrypted copies of them to the Zenus cloud-based service.
The ICE Awards organizers were planning to have two interactive giant tablets for face recognition check-in. However, the hardware supplier missed the two-hour set up window due to an unexpected traffic jam in the heart of London. Nevertheless, the organizers quickly set up the system on their personal MacBook and used this as the check-in station.
Results: When the guests arrived at the venue they could check-in either with their faces, or with the traditional barcode scanners. Each attendee who opted for face recognition simply needed to stand in front of the laptop for a moment. The system recognized them immediately, their badge was automatically printed, and they were ready to go!
Since the kiosks were next to each other, it was easy to notice differences between the two methods. Guests checking-in using face recognition were impressed and excited about the technology. Many of them were event planners who unsuccessfully tried to confuse the system by making funny faces. Some of the attendees took out their phones to record the process, while others remarked about the process with the people standing next to them. In addition to making a great impression and increasing engagement, check-in using face recognition was four to five times faster than the traditional barcode scanning.
After the event, a record number of inquiries to try face recognition for events was received by Ya-Ya Regie.
Face recognition has many benefits for both the event planner and the attendees. It lives on the cloud enabling it to run on any device, so no special check-in devices needed. It is fast, easy, secure, and affordable. Like most new services, some people might be reluctant to try. However, we have found that people quickly gain confidence in this fresh concept. Social media and online payments are similar technologies where a modest critical mass paved the way for much larger future growth.
To increase the opt-in rate, communicate clearly to your attendees that the data is being treated in a safe manner (all images are anonymized, encrypted, and also deleted after the event). Moreover, keep in mind that face recognition can work in parallel with traditional check-in methods to satisfy everyone. Even if only a fraction of attendees opt-in, it will be enough to have a significant effect on reducing waiting time in lines.
It is always good to have backup devices in case something goes wrong. Even though the internet requirements are relatively low, make sure to secure a private network for the face recognition system.
The ICE Awards case study demonstrated the benefits of face recognition for check-in. We are expecting to see more and more events implementing this fast and cost-effective option to process large number of attendees. We are also looking forward to more case studies about different use cases such as tracking attendance for multiple sessions and leads retrieval.
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