AI event registration: the future?

Nov 25, 2019

In the first of a series of articles, David Preston of Realise joins Sprintr for a review of the future of event registration. 

This article first appeared on Conference News

In our daily lives we are all becoming more and more used to automation, with self-service options and AI influencing what we do, buy and experience.

Take this scenario. I’ve just been an airline passenger for 4 flights starting in London and then travelling to and across the US. I could have passed through the airport and boarded my flight without speaking to anyone from the airline, from check-in, bag drop and even actually boarding the plane.

While I was in the US I took a trip to the local supermarket. Overwhelmed by the choice of products and merchandise, I filled the trolley – ‘cart,’ as the Americans call them – and headed to pay. One more choice. Do I interact with the young teenager at the check-out who really doesn’t want to be there, but whose parents insist that they have a Saturday job, or do I go to the self-check-out machine?

I choose the latter, scan, weigh and enter the quantities of all the items I have, packing them as I go along. US$200 (£155) later, I’m done and heading for my car, a Tesla with the self-drive function. Driving down the highway the car decides that in 50 miles it will need to recharge, and it plots my route to my destination, highlighting all the possible charging stations. Given I am now exhausted from all the retail therapy, I add a restaurant to the route options and the car automatically finds one with a charging point within range. An hour should be enough to boost me up with enough juice to get me all the way home.

With more and more of us becoming familiar with the use of and interactivity with technology, isn’t it about time that the interactions we are having enters the world of events?

In truth the self-service approach to service for items and processes that a human adds little value to is an area that various technology companies are tackling with great pace. Automating the badge pick-up process is an obvious one. Sure, it can be pleasant to be greeted by a person, asked my name and have a badge printed, put on a lanyard and handed to me but the person isn’t really adding anything to the process that I could have done myself. They could probably be better utilised somewhere else in the event where their eyes, ears, ability to speak and present a smile would be more welcome – like answering the essential question “where do I find the coffee?”

Some event technology suppliers offer tablet-based self-check-in solutions, but this generally still relies on a human to pick the badge from the printer and attach it to the lanyard and hand it to you, the delegate, all under the guidance of the Registration Desk. Labour intensive, relatively slow and ultimately quite a cost to the event organiser.

Wouldn’t it be better if I as a delegate could pick up my badge from a kiosk, just like I would at the airport when checking in? So, we have a kiosk – which by the way, could be anywhere; in the entrance lobby of the event, en route to the venue; at the hotel where all your delegates are staying; or even at the airport or railway station. Just think of that in terms of delegate experience? Convenience, speed, no queues and all self-service in. a way the user chooses.

Good news: the Australian company AV1 have come up with this very solution. It’s called Sprintr. It is a self-contained kiosk, just like the ones we are all becoming familiar with in airports, that can scan a barcode on your phone or piece of paper (or you can just type in your name if you like that nostalgia) and retrieve your own badge and you are all set. It is even agnostic as to what registration system the event organiser is using, which means it will work with anyone else’s technology. It has its own internet connection enabling it to operate wherever there is a mobile signal and electricity.

Isn’t it time you brought your event into the 21st Century and created a delegate experience to parallel what they are experiencing everywhere else?