How to use attendee tracking technologies on exhibitions?


Control of attendance within a certain area and data about visitors’ behavior is an important way to obtain vital information about your prospects. Do you want to know what they really want and where do they go first? Then this article is what you need.

Attendee tracking technologies become more affordable and widespread. Nowadays there are plenty of solutions for measuring attendance. If you are interested in improving the effectiveness of exhibition, start from learning what attendee tracking technologies are available on the market to compare the benefits and limits of each one and make the right choice.

How to use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) on exhibitions

RFID or Radio Frequency Identification appeared almost forty years ago. Initially, it was designed to improve upon the use of printed barcodes used for tracking inventory through the supply chain. This technology works as a one-way wireless transmission between a special tag and a reading device. They have to be within a certain range (up to 100 meters) of one another to interact. RFID can be attached as a small sticker on the back of a badge (or as a chip in the form of a plastic badge). Scanners will keep tracking traffic and record all the statistics. Some of the exhibition organizers integrate RFID cards to optimize access control. Exhibitors can use such devices to integrate cashless payment technology. Later the obtained data can be converted into useful information about buying activity.

Benefits of RFID

  • RFID tag is small and easily embeddable
  • Relevantly cheap (5-10 cents)
  • High read range

Limitations of RFID

  • Able to store only a simple ID
  • Lack of accuracy

How to use Near-field Communication (NFC) on exhibitions

Two decades ago giant tech corporations including Nokia and Sony decided to optimize RFID technology and created Near-field Communication technology. It was based on radio frequency identification protocols and acted as a reader and a tag at the same time. It allows to transfer data to low power mobile devices like smartphones. The cost of NFC tags depends on the manufacturer and amounts up to 30 cents. Such chips can be placed or integrated into various devices.

Benefits of NFC

  • NFC is already integrated into modern smartphones
  • Relevantly cheap (up to 30 cents per tag)
  • NFC tags are small and easily embeddable
  • NFC supports not only simple ID’s, but also URLs, app-links, SMS messages, etc.
  • NFC card emulation is one of the most popular tap-to-pay services

Limitations of NFC

  • NFC is a close-range technology (10 cm or less)

How to use Beacons and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) on exhibitions

Apart from NFC and RFID, beacons could be the most popular solution for events and exhibitions. They are small, wireless radio transmitters that use Bluetooth low energy technology to transfer data to mobile devices. Beacons can interact either with smartphones having a special app or small devices that are attached to the badge similar to RFID or NFC tags. Later scanners based on Bluetooth Low-Energy technology installed in a certain area can detect, triangulate and track the location of the person having the device. The average working range is about 3 to 20 meters. Then it is possible to create heat maps and measure most visited points and traffic volume. Apart from marketing applications, it can be used for improving evacuation scenario in a state of emergency. Event organizers and exhibitors can place beacons to help attendees to navigate across the venue. Imagine a person coming near the booth with a beacon and getting a welcoming notification! This is capable of taking attendees’ experience to another level.

Benefits of Beacons and BLE technology

  • Quite accurate and efficient
  • Providing comprehensive heat maps
  • Capable of transmitting more information than NFC and RFID

Limitations of Beacon and BLE

  • The high cost of equipment

How to use Wi-Fi technology on exhibitions

Wi-Fi technology can be compared to Beacons and BLE in many ways. They have similar benefits and limitations. Wi-Fi technology on exhibitions is used with special sensors detecting the wireless signal of smartphones or wearable mobile devices. The obtained data can be converted to heat maps. The providers of such technological solutions say that the system is not able to identify specific individuals unless used along with software that compares the signals to more detailed information. Probably the main difference and advantage of Wi-Fi network over BLE that it is more affordable. Some of venues already have wireless local area network so there is no need in installing additional devices.

How to use QR codes on exhibitions

Quick Response (QR) codes can be considered a better version of barcodes. They can be scanned with any smartphone. As a rule, such codes are used for storing web links with valuable information, so the device that “reads” it instantly opens a website. Many exhibitors use QR codes on business cards, catalogs or press kits. They have unique URL’s linked to the same website. That makes it much easier to identify where users got the code and find out the most efficient marketing channel. Besides such way of storing information can be called “green” as it helps to decrease the number of paper brochures and other informational materials. Another popular way of using QR codes is a scavenger hunt game for attendees. They encourage visitors to download an app and get informed through finding clues leading them across the main points of the exhibition. You can start using QR codes with the help of Linlet EXPO. It is the cutting edge technology that is able to stream all the products of your company right to the exhibition. Demonstrate your products and multimedia by placing your showrooms in the form of QR code wherever you want: in the storefront, catalog or press kit. At the same time analysis of the received statistics will help you to calculate ROI and adapt marketing strategy for the needs of attendees. Learn more about Linlet EXPO.

Benefits of QR codes

  • Ease of use
  • Cost-effective
  • A wide range of usage
  • Benefits of QR codes
  • QR codes can be tracked

Limits of QR codes

  • Scanning can take some time
  • Able to store only a simple ID

What is the best technical solution for attendee tracking?

Attendee tracking technologies that were noted above have different benefits and limitations, but they all share the same idea. Similar to online analytics you can obtain data from venues. Valuable insight provided by tracking technologies can help to measure, calculate, improve ROI or encourage an audience. Among other things, your marketing team will get information for improving the attendee experience. Here are some of the main advantages of using such solutions:

  • Valuable data for marketing
  • Making better decisions
  • Creating actionable insights
  • Understanding the needs of customers

Both exhibition organizers and exhibitors can plan their schedules according to the obtained data. It is easier to identify elements that are necessary for increasing lead generation. It is extremely important for maximizing sales and demonstrating return on investment to exhibitors. Information about attendee behavior can help companies in deciding whether to participate in the event next time.

The choice of the right technology depends on what information your company needs and the budget. Perhaps the best way is to combine different technologies for better results. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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