Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Out with the Old. In with the New.

The ubiquity of NFC smartphones assures the end of lead retrieval as we know itan activity that requires special-purpose devices and costs exhibitors money.

In a recent interview with Exhibit City News' assistant editor Krissy Obeng, ITN's CEO Ivan Lazarev predicts that exhibitors soon will no longer need to rent lead retrieval equipment in order to capture leads at events.

"Traditional badging as we know it will disappear," according to Lazarev.

Tomorrow's event badges will be digital. Exhibitors will capture leads by bumping their NFC phones against attendees' NFC phones.

"The digital badge will be contained in a smartphone. Exhibitors will no longer rent devices from registration companies. They won’t need registration companies to get contact data," Lazarev says.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ITN Shortlisted for Prestigious Award

ITN has been shortlisted for the 2014 Event Technology Awards.

Our use of BTAGs on the IBC Media Wall has been included in the award category "Best Use of Technology at an Exhibition/Trade Show."

Winners in all categories will be announced in London tomorrow

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Proximity Technology Trending, Says FreemanXP

Team members of FreemanXP scouted the floor of EventTech 2014 in Las Vegas this week (where ITN was an exhibitor) and nominated the top tech trends in experiential marketing based on the products they saw on display.

Heading the team's nominations was proximity technology.

"Proximity technology is growing in popularity as the barrier to entry is getting lower and lower–expect wearables, RFID, NFC, and more to play a big a role in event environments moving forward," the team reported.

Monday, October 6, 2014

ITN’s BTAGs Deliver Content at NAVC Conference

When it comes to wowing attendees, exhibitors and sponsors, content is king.
That’s why the organizers of the NAVC Conference 2014 took advantage of ITN’s new BTAG to deliver attendees content by touch inside the NAVC Conference New Product Gallery.

Thirteen companies participated in the juried new-product showcase, always a popular feature of NAVC’s annual event. The organizers provided each participating company an ITN BTAG, programmed to deliver collateral materials relating to the product on display.
NAVC Conference 2014 attendees—like attendees at every B-to-B event—were hungry for new product information, and BTAG made it amazingly easy for them to acquire it.

Simply stated, a BTAG is an NFC reader or “hotspot.” When an attendee touches a BTAG with his or her badge, the device records the touch. When uploaded to ITN’s cloud, that touch is processed as a request for digital content. The content is sent to the attendee as a link via email.
In addition to functioning as an NFC reader (able to record badge-touches), the BTAG functions as an NFC tag (able to pass information to other readers). That means attendees can also use their NFC phones to interact with BTAGs.

BTAGs are compact, self-contained, battery-powered units. Each unit is Bluetooth enabled, allowing it to connect to a mobile phone and upload badge-touches to ITN’s cloud.

At your event, you can display BTAGs anywhere by affixing them to posters, signs, walls, stands, kiosks, tables or countertops.
You can assign to a BTAG any Web content (URL) you want: Websites, YouTube pages, Facebook pages, e-literature, presentations, photos, etc. Attendees who touch the BTAG with their badges receive an end-of-day email with a link to that content. Attendees who touch the BTAG with their NFC smartphones link directly to the URL.  You manage the content assigned to the BTAG through the BCARD Portal.

And because all the BTAG touches are uploaded to ITN’s cloud, they are available for tracking and analysis at any time.
ITN’s new BTAG gives organizers an innovative tool for adding value to their events. The solution is ideal for providing content that supports keynote addresses, educational sessions, sponsors’ exhibits, and special displays like the NAVC New Product Gallery. BTAGs can also be used effectively for gamifying any event.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ITN Streamlines Valet Service at EMC World

Today’s attendees want to stay connected 24/7, which means they sometimes need to recharge their mobile devices while on the go. That’s why many event producers are now offering a valet charging service at their events.
The producers of EMC World 2014 provided just such a service on their exhibit floor this May.

Instead of waiting idly at a charging station while their mobile devices recharged—wasting time better spent networking and educating themselves—EMC World attendees could drop off their devices for recharging at a service desk, and pick them up later.

The challenge to managing the flow of devices dropped off and picked up at the service desk resides in two areas. How do you quickly and accurately identify who owns which device? And how do you keep track of every device’s whereabouts.

ITN assisted by providing a simple system that addressed the challenge.
We equipped each attendant at the valet charging service desk with an easy-to-use application and an NFC reader.

When an attendee approached the service desk, the attendant asked the attendee to touch his or her badge to the NFC reader. The attendee’s record immediately popped up on the attendant’s computer screen. The attendant then recorded the activity (drop-off); keyed in a cubbyhole number (specifying the slot where the device would be stored for pickup after it was recharged); and entered a description of the device (for example, “iPhone”). All of that information was attached to the attendee’s record. In addition, two copies of a claim check were printed immediately on a local printer—one for the attendee to hold, the second to be kept with the device for identification purposes.
When an attendee later returned to the desk to pick up a device left for recharging, the attendee again touched his or her badge to the NFC reader. The badge-read triggered the attendee’s record to pop up on the attendant’s screen. The attendant entered the activity (pickup) into the record, located the device in its numbered cubbyhole, and returned the device to the attendee—all in a matter of seconds.

In addition to supporting a valet charging service, ITN’s valet service application can be used whenever attendees avail themselves of a temporary storage service at an event—a coat check, a luggage room, etc. The producers of EMC World 2014 also used the application to manage the check-out and check-in of headsets by attendees, which were made available in connection with a free onsite translation service.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Landmark for US Event Producers

NFC—the short-range wireless technology behind “touch-based” lead retrieval, access control, session scanning and other fundamental applications used at large tradeshows, conferences and corporate events—just crossed a tremendous chasm.

“Apple’s decision to include NFC in its iPhone 6 is a landmark for US event producers,” says ITN's President & CEO, Ivan Lazarev. “Apple has made NFC mainstream overnight.”

When the iPhone 6 is released to consumers on September 19, the NFC chip in the device will support mobile payments, named “Apple Pay” by the company.

However, analysts expect that future releases will open the NFC functionality in the new iPhone to developers of other applications.

“US event producers are is going to see a surge of new and important NFC applications, as soon as open NFC in the iPhone is supported,” Lazarev says.

Since 2011, the makers of Android smartphones have shipped all their products with NFC built in, while Apple—with a 42 percent share of the US smartphone market—shunned the technology.

“NFC has emerged as a key enabling technology at US events,” Lazarev says. “But until now its benefits haven’t been easily accessible to all participants, because nearly half carry iPhones.  For the past four years, we have been enabling exhibitors who use iPhones to capture leads by providing external sleeves that add NFC functionality to the phones. That workaround is effective, but will no longer be needed when every event participant—including iPhone users—will be carrying an NFC device.”

Apple’s announcement that it will include NFC in the iPhone 6 marks a clear turning point, solidifying the central role NFC will play at events for years to come.

“The game has irreversibly changed,” Lazarev says. “Apple’s decision means we will see a massive expansion in the NFC ecosystem—and ITN, as the leading provider of NFC event solutions, is uniquely positioned to take advantage of it.”