QR CODE & RFID: How to use data collection technology for your event?

Road map

In this article, you will learn:

SKIMMING

  1. QR codes are suitable for both casual and formal events. It checks in fast, costs little, stores a large amount of information. Before event, QR code can be embedded into the confirmation email. On the event day, event organizers can track attendees’ real-time activity by setting up scanning counters at various locations.
  2. RFID enables an instant, touchless check-in process with a lightweight tag. Active tags, passive tags, and semi-passive tags are three main RFID tags. Active tags are the most expensive(up to hundreds USD) but has a extended range(up to a few hundred meters). Passive tags cost similarly to QR codes but have a limited range of a few meters.
*Event PriorityRecommended technology
Attendee participation: O2O interactionQR code
Economical & fast check-inQR code
Environment consciousQR code
Voluntary multi-location data tracking*QR code
Lower budgetQR code
Completely skip the queueRFID
Involuntary real-time, multi-location data tracking*RFID

*The difference between voluntary and involuntary data tracking is worth noting. For QR code, only when an attendee is willing to scan, the data entry can be collected. For RFID, as long as the attendee is within the range, the reader can capture the data continuously. Because of this, many customers are concerned with the privacy issue of RFID.


What is RFID and QR code

RFID

The complete kit of RFID has three parts: RFID tag, a reader, and a backend server(On the image, it’s a tag and a reader). RFID tags are tiny microchips attached in microcircuits. There are three RFID tags: passive, active and semi-passive.

QR Code

Conference Name Badge with QR Code

QR codes (Quick Response) are 2-dimensional barcodes that can store up to a few thousand characters. Once scanned by smart devices such as a phone, a tablet, QR code will direct you to websites, SMS messages, card information, images, videos, etc.

If you want to know more about how QR code is used in a real event, you can click here.

Why choose them for your event?

By WhatWolf

QR Codes and RFID can be useful for multiple scenarios: event check-in, breakout session check-in (activity tracking), and post-event(data collection and analysis) period. Essentially, what these two technologies can do is to collect raw data — from registered information to spatial activity.

Comparing with the traditional data collection method(hand writing, excel sheet, online form), advantages of QR code and RFID for events are

QR code:

  • Environment-friendly – QR code can reduce the usage of printing materials
  • Attendee convenience – ticket can be distributed online before the event day to avoid the complicated process of retrieving ticket
  • Cost-Effective – QR Codes themselves cost nothing to generate. The cost of QR is mostly the man power of coding, customization of QR
  • Automatic – Completely reduce the human effort of data collection as well as human error
  • Versatile – QR code can be incorporated into most marketing materials for most messages(text, sms, webpage, ticketing wedge, photo, video, pdf..etc)
  • Measurable – Users’ activity via QR code can be back traced with analytics or other quantitative tools

RFID:

  • Touchless – Passive RFID enables remote check in within meters, active RFID within a few hundred meters
  • Efficiency – One RFID readers can read multiple RFID tags simultaneously
  • Automatic – Completely reduce the human effort of data collection as well as human error
  • Reset – RFID supports multiple rewrite of data
  • Real-time tracking – Often used in supply chain tracking, RFID can realize true automatic tracking.

Multi-scenario application

Concerns and solutions

Data security and privacy

Security and privacy are always among the top concerns of event organizers of large, private or formal event. Although there is no 100% safe method, QR code and RFID both have some protective solutions.

QR Code: malicious websites

Usually, QR codes can be scanned by ANY smart devices. Scanning a malicious QR code can direct the user to cloned malicious sites, resulting in revealing sensitive information.

  • For example, a cloned google page with a login button can acquire user’s Google account.

However, event organizers don’t need to worry, as event sites are rarely targeted, because 1. some event sites are private; 2. relatively limited web traffic; 3.The public may have no access to QR codes themselves. On top of that, personal data of any event will be kept in a security system. For example, QR codes generated by EventNook have a series number, eg. 988868CE9F. If you search this number in public search engine, you will see no result. The data is encoded and kept safely in the system.

RFID: privacy controversy

RFID enables better visibility yet creates privacy concerns. According to the report produced by Capgemini, around 60% of the consumers in the US and EU are concerned that they are being tracked through purchasing. It’s likely that event attendees have similar concerns about RFID’s capability to do real-time tracking.

RFID provides event organizers with  dynamic mapping of all attendees—- the walking pattern, the duration of staying, and even the temperature of the room. As a result, much more personal and interactive analysis can be realized: attendee’s preferred activity/location/temperature; the relationship between multiple attendees, or more generally, the activity pattern of different genders.

However, attendees will have concerns about RFID for the exact reason: too much data is exposed. To address this, event organizers can use methods like “killing”(make the tag inactive), or erasing and rewriting the tag to stop this automatic data collection. However, if so, the main advantage of RFID over any other method is taken away.

Cost

The cost of these three types of RFID tags varies drastically. Active tags will cost up to a few hundred USD with an extra long battery life of maximum 5 years. Passive tags(without the reader and the backend server) cost approximately the same as a QR code.

On average, passive RFID tags cost a little higher than QR code. From the perspective of functionality, passive RFID can achieve approximately similar things with QR code: fast event check in, and some real-time data feedback during the event.

Conclusion

QR codes will have much potential in event marketing, registration, multimedia event involvement and real-time event tracking in the future. Many people have concerns about it being taken over by RFID, but QR has its own niches: it bridges the offline and online world with a few cents and a simple scan. We expect QR code to protect data more safely and incorporate new technologies like AR and VR into online-offline interactions.

RFID definitely has a large potential in the future for its touch-less data transmission. We expect it to lower the price, increase reliability and range limit so that more event organizers can consider it to be an affordable option.

For more information on how smart QR check-in is a fast-speed solution for a seamless event registration, click here to visit EventNook’s website or to contact us for a live consultation or demo.

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