Attendee session tracking just became a whole lot easier and less expensive, thanks to Positive Proximity. The Las Vegas–based company’s Web and mobile app service uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to connect smartphones and tablets to beacons, and takes all the guesswork out of registering, tracking, connecting and analyzing data for events and meetings. Organizations and associations of all sizes can now utilize valuable tracking information at an inexpensive price with true global reach.
Currently, event-tracking metrics are primarily measured using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology that transmits data between tags and readers. But the cost and complication of using an RFID system puts that technology out of the reach of many smaller events. Using Positive Proximity, event planners and data gatherers can install a simple registration-check in-monitoring system for a fraction of the cost of an RFID setup, for events ranging from 10 to 10,000 (or more) attendees.
With RFID, if you have an event with 100 people or less, the cost is prohibitive, says Drew Sathern, president, Positive Proximity. “Now we can help everyone.” Positive Proximity’s Web and mobile app can connect to smart devices, including iPhones 4s-6s and Android 4.3s and later.
Sathern says the idea for his company first came to him in late 2013, when Apple released the iBeacon. “I was on that technology the next day,” he says. “I hated it when customers would call me and I couldn’t help them because we didn’t have a business model for small events.”
Sathern, who is also VP of operations for Expo Data Capture, approached his boss with his ideas about BLE and beacons, but even though his boss was supportive of Sathern’s ideas, the new technology wasn’t a good fit for Expo’s proven systems. But Sathern understood he had to develop his idea while BLE was new. “We don’t get a mandate for the speed with which technology moves,” he says. “All we can do is keep up with it and make the necessary changes to help people.”
Positive Proximity was created in October 2014, and nearly all of 2015 was spent on development, Sathern says. The company unveiled its services at WS02Con in San Francisco last November, and officially opened for business in January.
“What we were already doing with RFID, we can now do with beacons,” he says, and for considerably less money. While the cost of long-range RFID starts at around $10,000 for an event, Positive Proximity’s services can be currently had for only $399, depending on the number of attendees, and is cost effective for anyone.
More than that, the information captured through beacons is incredibly robust. “When there are enough beacons at an event, we can show where every attendee is at in real time,” Sathern says. When that information is funneled through Positive Proximity’s platform, it can provide immediate results and reporting detail, that are cost effective and require very little setup or manpower. The system can generate comprehensive reports that detail attendee engagement, movement and dwell time, or credit enrollees for session attendance. It can also print out certificates and new badges, or scan bar codes to get exhibitor or attendee information. The platform is self-managed and compatible with existing registration databases, which is key, Sathern says.
Similarly, attendees can download the free app on their smart device and use it to check in to events, register for classes, live training or session updates, to calculate credit hours and receive any alerts that are imperative to the success of the show or expo.
If a system that monitors an individual’s every move—in real time—sounds a little too Big Brother-ish, Sathern is quick to point out that the app isn’t asking for permissions to access smartphone data or use information in any other way. “We’re not like some of the other apps. … This is a good-guy product,” he says. “We only collect event related information, we help companies receive, analyze and apply information from their events.”
And when new, conscientious technology levels the playing field, everyone wins. Check out a product demo at www.positiveproximity.com, or call (702) 850-2380 ext. 212 or email Drew: firstname.lastname@example.org.