June 15, 2020
Contactless Technology & The Future Of Live Event Experiences
As we begin to dust off the cobwebs and get back to some sense of normalcy, contactless technologies are at the top of everyone's mind. There are new technologies being released each week, as well as a few older ones that are making a comeback given the current public health climate. Here’s a look at a few buzzworthy technologies that are sure to play a big role as we look to reopen the world for business.
Facial Recognition Technologies
As Facial Recognition tech has spent a lot of time in the headlines over the past 12 months, event organisers have started to investigate if the technology can be valuable at large gatherings. We’ve found the narrative to generally be that it’s too risky on a cost versus benefit basis. Top of the list for risk is navigating privacy issues associated with collecting and storing thousands of PII (personally identifiable information) images of consumers - not something most businesses want or need to take on.
An article published yesterday by the New York Times suggested that event law enforcement agencies should reconsider their use of the technology and reported that IBM is exiting from the facial recognition business due to potential biases.
Contactless payment technologies are a no-brainer when it comes to eliminating potential transmission points. Phone-based technologies like Apple Pay and Google Pay have seen a surprisingly slow adoption prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, but a recent Mastercard poll says more than 50% of Americans are taking advantage of tap and go technologies.
We’ve also seen retailers implementing scan-and-go tech that Amazon pioneered in their brick and mortar locations which eliminates long check out lines and cuts down on transmission risk for both consumers and staff.
Event producers and venues are also looking at new ways to implement frictionless payments. While RFID wristband-based solutions have long been a festival favorite, venues like Levi’s Stadium have turned to app-based solutions for food, beverages and merch.
Frictionless Hotel Check Ins
Hotels are also looking for ways to reduce contact points once the world starts travelling again. Mobile-based virtual check in processes allow guests to bypass the front desk and head straight to their rooms without having to stop in the lobby. Guests can unlock their rooms using their mobile devices as well thanks to NFC technology.
Thermal scanning technologies are perhaps one of the most talked about solutions over the past few months. Suppliers have seen a huge spike in interest from all over the world, but a recent Washington Post article cautions event producers that these products may not be all that effective when it comes to identifying people with potential infections.
Aside from cautioning the effectiveness of the tech, it will also create pinch points with higher dwell times as consumers wait for their scan, which doesn’t help alleviate the problem of congestion.
Location Based Capacity Monitoring
The PGA announced that they’ll be using RFID technology to track spectator movement around the upcoming Memorial Tournament in Columbus, Ohio. This technology will allow organizers to monitor crowd movement and capacity throughout the venue at any given time in an attempt to maintain social distancing.
Some countries are trialing contact tracing apps like the one recently rolled out in Australia, but privacy champions are calling for caution as tech giants like Apple and Google step in to partner with governments on contact tracing initiatives.
Meshh is also leveraging our technology to provide clients with a way to monitor event capacity thresholds throughout their activations and venues. Using our passive WIFI analytics product, we’re able to alert staff when foot traffic in a particular area is picking up and additional social distancing measures need to be implemented.
Surveys & Data Collection Platforms
Gathering real-time consumer feedback will be an important piece of the reopening puzzle over the coming months. Where traditional methods using brand ambassadors with tablets won’t be as viable, Meshh’s contactless survey and data collection solution can help marketers and event organizers gather customer feedback without a potential transmission risk. Instead of interacting with a shared kiosk or tablet, consumers can complete dynamic surveys on their own mobile devices.
The bottom line? None of these technologies are going to single-handedly solve our reopening issues, but each one has a role to play. It’s important for experiential teams, venue owners, event producers and commercial real estate to be open to a wide range of new technology over the coming months. While some will be temporary, some may become part of the “new normal.” Meshh’s solutions can help teams with a variety of reopening hurdles, as well as add value to existing operations, marketing and sponsorship initiatives.
Get in touch to find out more about how Meshh touch free technologies can help with consumer behavior analysis and sentiment research to improve event experiences.