So what is RFID, exactly? I could tell you that “RFID” stands for “Radio-Frequency Identification”, but that doesn’t clear things up much. Basically, RFID is the technology that makes your touch-and-go credit cards work. RFID sends out a little data signal that can be read at a short distance by RFID readers. Do you have a public transportation card that you touch to a turnstile to gain access to a bus or subway? There’s probably an RFID chip in that card. Does your apartment complex have a card lock gate? RFID.
The technology is not particularly new, but it is cheap to use, gaining in popularity, and its applications for event managers are myriad. Here are a few ideas on how you can make your life easier with RFID tools.
Event Access Control
Here’s the obvious one: putting RFID chips in attendee badges means you don’t need someone at the door checking tickets. Placing multiple points of authentication around your event – in front of each distinct zone or area, for example – also means you can keep track of who went where, data that might be valuable in terms of sponsorship opportunities down the road.
RFID can go a step further than controlling which cars are authorized to come into and go out of a parking lot. According to an article by RFID journal, RFID sensors can also be used to tell drivers where empty spots are located.
“The monitoring system comprises infrared Wireless Sensor Network Modules from National Instruments (NI), mounted at the parking garage’s entrances and exits, which are read every time a car drives by. These events are collected in NI’s LabVIEW software application. The data is analyzed to determine the number of available parking spots on the monitored floors, based on the total number of spaces on that floor, as well as on the number of cars that each sensor detects entering or exiting.”
Real-Life Facebook ‘Liking’
Ooh, this is a neat find from Event Manager Blog: Coca-Cola used RFID devices to allow attendees to Facebook Like in real life, by printing out “like” buttons equipped with proximity readers:
Keep people from stealing babies
No, seriously. RFID is also the technology they use at hospitals to keep newborns safe. Baby bracelets are typically equipped with RFID chips that sound an alarm if an infant is moved outside a designated area. If your event is offering childcare and the space and budget allows for it, this might be just the security measure that keeps sponsors, your legal team, and nervous parents happy.