Now in its eighth year, Citrix® iForum™ Global - held between October the 9th and 12th 2005, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas USA, brought together current and potential Citrix customers, resellers and partners from across the globe, and focused on on-demand access and the new IT reality fueling business efficiency and growth. The conference included well-known industry speakers, round table discussions and product demonstrations, as well as sessions covering business and technical topics.
When the Citrix® iForum™ event team was seeking a reliable, secure system to check-in and process more than 3,500 attendees without any significant lines or wait time. Kathy Waring, senior manager of Corporate Events for Citrix, knew there had to be an innovative solution. Waring asked for help from G2Planet®, which supplies event management software solutions for Citrix and other corporations seeking improvements to business processes at corporate events.
Waring said: "We're a company that is proud to be on the cutting edge of access infrastructure technology with our own products, and we look to our vendors to have the same philosophy."
G2Planet, a leading provider of enterprise software and wireless communication solutions delivers ROI through innovative solutions based on pioneering mobile, wireless, and web technology. Mark Granovsky, president and CEO of G2Planet, realized that an integrated solution provided by his company's software and HID's iCLASS® contactless smart cards and readers were the perfect fit. HID, which has also provided technology event cards for the CardTech/SecurTech conference was an ideal choice.
The Citrix iForum environment presented typical event challenges such as reducing bottlenecks for attendees upon initial on-site registration and entering sessions. Previously a magnetic stripe card system was used which took significant time. Manual systems had also been used for promotions and other exhibit hall events, which required a cumbersome routine of hand stamps, physical cards and collection and processing of paperwork on the back end.
Building on its strengths for applications such as access control, IT secure authentication, digital cash, the storage of biometric templates, and the storage and retrieval of critical information, contactless smart card technology is increasingly being used to support event management infrastructure
Entries are submitted and processed with the wave of a badge with the contactless access card system, offering a hassle-free solution. A uniquely flexible solution, the integrated contactless smart card system was used for on-site registration badge printing. Twenty workstations connected to three Citrix servers were located at attendee sign-in. Attendees could view and approve their badge, and when completed, the attendee would submit their badge for customised printing (with information including their name, their companies name and other required information). Ten Datacard® printers located at the registration desk encoded the HID iCLASS badges, with the entire process taking only seconds to customize the badges. This offered a significant improvement over using a traditional contact chip, where encoding and printing used to take up to several minutes.
Furthermore, ten plasma screens displayed the location of where the individual's badge was being printed and was ready for pick-up. Custom-printed, two-sided badges featured four-colour artwork including highlighted sponsors on the back. Each badge included an encoded iCLASS chip with information specific to each attendee (generated during registration) that was also then stored in a database.
Feedback from attendees underlined the convenience of the system. There were virtually no lines at registration, and the process to get a badge and conference materials took an average of only two to three minutes.
Brian Madden, industry analyst and author, recognizes the value of the contactless access card system. "There's a tonne of cool technology technologies in use at iForum, the attendee badges are all HID iCLASS RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) cards. Therefore, when entering sessions, all you have to do is place your badge near the reader and the reader then confirms your attendance. Also, they have RF card readers attached to all of the public Internet terminals; you simply place your badge near the reader to logon," Madden said.
A key benefit to event sponsors is that this system has dramatically improved lead quality and survey responses. Previously, surveys were done on paper with low response rates. Now, event management is able to send customised surveys directed at attendees who were tracked as having attended specific sessions. HID iCLASS RW400 readers were set up at each session and breakout room. Attendee's badges were read by readers at each session, providing information to the speakers and event management on who attended the sessions.
According to Waring, survey responses have increased due to the streamlined system. When attendees login at the event or session, the session surveys are automatically generated, the data is automatically stored in the database, and event management can access a report in any shape or form. "This type of lead capture technology can really increase the impact of our event marketing programs," said Waring.
Secure contactless solutions enable events of the future
Building on its strengths for applications such as access control, IT secure authentication, digital cash, the storage of biometric templates, and the storage and retrieval of critical information, contactless smart card technology is increasingly being used to support event management infrastructure.
Why did G2Planet get interested in the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) environment? According to Granovsky, his company sees the future of this technology enabling more and more crypto-enabled "speed pass" types of applications and views it as a strategic selling point and opportunity to expand the use of the event's badge.
The G2Planet/HID solution was also deployed at a recent MatrixOne® event, featuring a cybercafé with Internet access and G2Planet's MyEvent! (personalised event planning and social networking web site). Attendees accessed the cybercafe with their iCLASS contactless card badge and HID RW400 readers to "sign-in". The implementation also included an innovative attendee participation program, called eAuction, which was also based on the iCLASS attendee badge. Attendees could earn eAuction points as they visited exhibitor booths and attend certain seminars and activities. Throughout the day's events attendees could go back to their MyEvent! websites where they could bid on vendor-sponsored consumer items.
Bill Rutledge, Program Manager for SourceMedia Conferences & Expositions, runs the annual CardTech/SecurTech (CTST) conference and has successfully been using technology cards for 15 years. In addition Rutledge and his team know a thing or two about security. CTST is America's largest advanced card and biometrics conference, covering secure transaction technology, contactless cards, and IT/physical access security convergence. Over 3500 delegates and 200 exhibiting companies attended
CTST in April of 2005. CTST management primarily uses contact and contactless card systems for lead retrieval information, as well as tracking session attendance and providing complimentary benefits to session attendees. According to Rutledge, the key benefits for his attendees and exhibitors are that it speeds up check-in, enables post show material distribution for session attendees, and delivers faster lead retrieval versus the bar code method.
|"Citrix plans to incorporate expanded contactless access control solutions in more events and we'll be actively working with G2Planet and HID to create innovative applications"|
"There's no turning back now," says Waring. "Citrix plans to incorporate expanded contactless access control solutions in more events and we'll be actively working with G2Planet and HID to create innovative applications that optimises the technology's benefits and enhances the event experience for attendees, exhibitors and management alike."