Facial recognition for events may just be the future.

alice chan Jun 18, 2021

Facial recognition technology is close to our daily lives. It is commonly used to tag photos on social media platforms, unlock and pay with our mobile phones and go through border security. Facial recognition is becoming an expected service rather than a nice to have feature. As for the event industry, this technology transformed event execution to a level bringing mutual benefits to event organisers and attendees. The most obvious application of this technology in event can be seen in check-in process. This article explains how face recognition technology works in events with real case references.

IES 2019 Used Facial Recognition Check-in

The Internet Economy Summit (IES) gathers top-notch global and local tech heavyweights to share their insights on how today’s businesses can leverage data-driven innovations to capitalise on the unprecedented opportunities in the connected world. IES is Asia’s technology flagship event for innovation and collaboration. This year, it adopted the facial recognition check-in solution to smoothen the onsite guest welcoming logistics and obviously eliminated long queues at the event entrance at the same time received very good feedback on social media platforms talking about the speedy and accurate check-in experiences that the delegates had.





How does facial recognition work in event registration

Registrants just need to upload their photos while doing the online registration. On the event day, they walk up to the camera as they come in, the camera detects one’s face, pops up the right name of the person, press “confirm” to finish the check-in. The attendee can proceed to get the instant printed badge and go on his event journey. If the person who comes up to the camera has not registered for the event, he will be notified and asked to sign up first.

Facial Recognition Check-in Illustration

3 values that facial recognition registration bring to your event

1. Attendee check-in in less than 10 seconds

KW MAPS Coaching, a leading training and coaching organization in the world, adopted facial recognition in the event registration of their 3-day event – Spring Masterminds 2018. That event was held in the US at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland with 1,360 attendees registered online. During the event, the event host had to check in hundreds of attendees in a short period of time. Ensuring the registration process is smooth and fast is important. The facial recognition speeded up the process to 9 seconds on average, resulting in high attendee satisfaction since they did not need to print their ticket or look through their messages to find a code to be scanned.

Adopting facial recognition doesn’t mean that is the only way to enter an event, instead, it is an extra convenient option to registrants to opt-in while keeping QR code or e-ticket entry available. According to the Spring Masterminds 2018 event, 49% of the registrant provided a picture and opt-in for facial recognition. Attendees commented that they were just trying to take out the phone as they arrived at the desk but before they did they were already recognized and greeted by name. It offered a great start to the event. Attendees were keen to see facial recognition technology at more events in the future. It is believed that the opt-in rate will grow as more and more attendees will become more familiar with the process.

2. Higher throughput with less cost

Alleviating the long queue at the registration desk, event planner usually increases the number of check-in station or hiring a more temporary helper to assist. Adopting facial registration means a self-service check-in process. Its throughput for each kiosk is around 400 per hour, which is five times higher than barcode or QR code checking systems. Event planners can be confident enough to rent fewer kiosks. More than that, the face check-in feature does not require extra manpower installing any large hardware infrastructure as the feature works on a tablet or even a smartphone device. It saves setup time as well.

An incident happened in The 3rd ICE Awards in 2017. The event organiser failed to have two check-in facilities on giant screens at the event due to traffic congestion encountered by supplier delivery. Even though the supplier missed the limited two-hour setup window, the organiser was able to set up the system on the devices they already had available and used one Mac Computer as the primary point for facial recognition so that everything was ready in time.

3. Personalise the event experience

Besides the adoption at the event registration or check-in counter, facial recognition technology can also be used to create privilege experience at showroom or exhibition booth. “Facial-recognition technology is making it possible to personalise the event experience more than ever.” said Cate Banfield, Event Solution Design & Strategy at BCD Meetings & Events.

YSL Beauté has been a game changer by personalising the consumer journey with facial recognition technology for the launch of its new perfume Mon Paris Couture in Hong Kong earlier last year. Consumers could visit YSL’s pop-up store at Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui to create their very own personalised and engraved perfume. This kind of experience often draws a massive crowd of people, resulting in a long queue. Avoiding long waiting line, a ‘Mon Paris ID’ is created for each of the participants that could be used prior to and during the event for a unique personalised shopping experience.

Prior to the event, participants could upload their photos as their own ‘Mon Paris ID’ through an HTML5 page. Consumers could also choose to engrave their names on bottles to tailor-made their perfume. Customers just need to stand in front of an interactive kiosk for facial verification. Once verified, the system will automatically arrange, create and engrave the perfume bottles on the spot instantly.

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