Have you experienced lost revenue because of less than honest behavior? Of course, most delegates are entirely decent, but with many years’ experience in the events industry, we folks at fielddrive have seen ‘the Pinocchio Effect’ far too many times.
That is the passing of badges between genuine attendees and unregistered people, full colour photocopying of badges, pretending to lose entrance tickets, convincing staff to give them freebies, sneaking in when they think no-one’s looking... and many other ingenious ways to avoid paying hundreds of euros/pounds/dollars-worth of registration fees. Our Naughty List is longer, much more creative and much more damaging than Santa’s version.
This can (and sadly does) lead to thousands in lost revenue. However, new technologies now deliver practical solutions to help event managers and staff guarantee that only legitimate paying attendees are checked-in.
Here’s a list, from the simplest and cheapest to the most effective solutions:
Full-color badges (with double-sided printing where possible)
PROS: These are cheap to make and more difficult to copy than one-sided or black and white badges.
CONS: It is still relatively easy to forge them from scratch or to photoshop/alter legitimate ones with different details. We have even seen examples of people who ruin their faked versions with water, coffee etc in order to be reissued with real ones.
Proof of ID
PROS: A supplementary identity document required during the check-in adds an authentic layer to the process and, at least superficially, costs nothing.
CONS: This requirement slows down check-in significantly. It also requires attendees to take their ID with them, and you would be surprised how many forget to bring it, even with pre-event reminders. Furthermore, it means more hospitality staff are needed for ID verification, to inform queuing attendees to prepare their documents etc. There is also nothing that stops unwanted attendees (such as competitors) from registering false information in the first place and/or faking their ID to go with registration details.
PROS: This is the ‘old-school’ way to prevent the swapping or dual-usage of badges.
CONS: Photos are most often taken on-site and the quality is poor. This means they are easier to forge or to be mis-read by staff. Also, if an attendee legitimately loses their badge and needs a new one, this adds to the event cost and staff time.
PROS: This is another solution which makes it difficult for attendees to swap and forge.
CONS: It slows downs the check-in process significantly. More expensive than badges. Also, the attendee has to wear it at all times. It is easy to lose… or, in dubious cases, it is easy to claim it is lost in order to get a second version for someone else.
PROS: Self check-in kiosks print badges with unique serial numbers which include information how many times a particular badge was printed. This barcode is recognized by access control scanners like Trackpods. In the case of new badges needed, the old badge is voided so attendees with previous versions won’t be allowed to enter an event.
CONS: For proper control of access, this system requires good synchronization between the registration system and the scanners. If there isn’t a dedicated, fast wifi connection in the registration area and in all locations where scanning takes place, it won’t work.
Watermarks and holograms
PROS: Putting watermarks or holograms on badges is particularly useful for high security events, as they are much more difficult to copy.
CONS: They are expensive to make, so for events with a large number of attendees, the potential expenditure can be prohibitive. Also, if an attendee legitimately loses their badge and needs a new one, this adds even more to the event costs and staff time.
Digitally encrypted tokens / e-tickets
PROS: These can only be used once (with a unique identification password) and then are voided, so they are a good way to ensure that only single-use, authentic attendees gain access.
CONS: As the digital tokens need to be created/distributed online in advance, this provides little or no flexibility for on-site registration.
The long list PROS:
1) Facial recognition is the only method that uses the unique faces of the attendees for check-in so no other person can get access. As such, it provides the highest level of security and there is no risk of forgery or transfer/swapping.
2) It is the fastest check-in method, a mere 6 seconds per attendee including badge printing.
3) A high-quality photo of the attendee is submitted in advance and retains this quality at the fielddrive check-in booths, which increases security and reliability.
4) It is the most attendee-friendly method - it does not require ID or official documents - something many forget to bring. All information is encrypted and safe, and disposed of immediately after the event. It also has that ‘wow’ factor that enhances attendee experience.
5) It can additionally be used for access control to individual sessions or for lead retrieval.
6) It is the only method which allows for “blacklisting”* of certain people, ie unwanted competitors and troublemakers. The organizer can upload images of such people to the system, so even if they register under a false name, they will be recognized and barred. (* Subject to local legislation).
ARE YOU EAGER TO USE ONE OF THESE SOLUTIONS AT YOUR NEXT EVENT?