Are Cameras the Next Trend for Attendee Tracking at Events?

Find out why one of the nation’s busiest convention centers is now offering tiny cameras for exhibitors and planners to watch attendees in real time.

By Mitra Sorrells March 24, 2016, 7:15 AM EDT

Photo: Courtesy of the Javits Center

Attendee tracking provides useful information for trade show organizers and exhibitors as they try to understand their guests’ interests, traffic patterns, productive moments, and missed opportunities. Tracking can be done in a variety of ways, from relatively old-fashioned bar code badge scanning to more modern systems using R.F.I.D., N.F.C., or Bluetooth low-energy beacons. Now the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is offering another option: palm-size cameras mounted on booths and around a trade show floor that allow exhibitors and show organizers to watch video of attendees.

“We’ve been putting in a new camera system throughout the building primarily for security-related purposes, and as we were talking about implications of using the system, we got into conversations about the idea of allowing exhibitors to monitor traffic and understand how traffic moved within their booth,” said Alan Steel, president and C.E.O. of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation.

The high-definition cameras are installed and maintained by Javits Center staff. The individual or company that rents the camera can view the video in real time and for as many as two weeks after the event via a mobile app.

“It‘s an opportunity to go back and see what was happening when they were really busy, how many people did they not service, how many people were not being serviced and left. Right now that information comes and goes. This is an opportunity to learn how the display worked, how the traffic pattern worked, and anything you might need to adjust,” Steel said.

One of the first events to use the cameras is the New York International Auto Show, which opens Friday. Steel said staffers are mounting cameras in the arrivals area so show organizers can assess whether their ticketing system keeps up with demand.

The camera package starts at $325 and includes 14 days of cloud storage for the video footage.

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