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Wicket at Rainfocus INSIGHT

INSIGHTs From a Sensational Event

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Rainfocus user conference, INSIGHT. This was my first time at the annual gathering of event professionals and a first opportunity for Wicket to show how our facial authentication platform could improve the event-going experience for these attendees and show organizers.

Wicket was born in sports, with the Cleveland Browns first deploying Wicket for facial ticketing to let fans back into their stadium in the height of the COVID pandemic in 2020. Since then, we’ve expanded to more than 15 sports stadiums around the country, granted more than a million entrances to sporting facilities, and even seen our technology used by Tennis Australia for the Australian Open last month.

But while live sporting venues have been a rigorous proving ground – given the uncertain weather conditions, the crush of excited fans trying to get into the stadium or buy a beer, or the myriad stadium technologies we seamlessly integrate with to deliver a great fan experience – the technology is equally applicable in other markets. Conferences and trade shows are a prime example.

As a long-time tech marketing leader, I have attended more than my fair share of trade shows and conferences – from small seminars to massive events like CES (or even COMDEX back in the day…). One of the most frustrating aspects of the larger shows is the moment you arrive on-site to get your badge. You’re excited to get into the event to start networking, attending sessions, or setting up your booth, but then you’re faced with a long line and a cumbersome check-in process. Event industry leaders have spent significant resources to upgrade this “first impression” experience, but there is still room for improvement.

At INSIGHT, I had the opportunity to attend a session about the RSA Conference, the largest cybersecurity event of the year, attracting over 40,000 people annually to the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Speakers Mike DeFronzo from RSA Conference and Michael Kemp from Nth Degree shared what goes into putting on this impressive event and how they’ve employed technology to improve the experience for attendees (something they were later recognized for when they won an innovation award for the most innovative use of on-site technology).

But one thing that stood out to me was when Michael said that for most conferences, “registration can suck the life out of the conference.” Standing in long lines just to get your badge printed can be a real buzz kill, and RSA Conference and Nth Degree have made significant efforts to, as Michael said, “make registration a breeze.”

This is precisely where facial authentication solutions like Wicket can help by allowing attendees to simply use their face as their identity to pick up their badge, instead of traditional on-site check-in kiosks or needing to show QR codes or IDs. Thanks to Wicket’s native integration with Rainfocus, INSIGHT attendees got to experience this firsthand as Rainfocus offered an Express Check-in option for the conference, and the attendees’ reaction was fantastic. One attendee called the technology a “game changer,” making the entire process more efficient, while another noted that it adds a little “VIP experience to the check-in process.”

In another session, Wicket’s CTO, Rob Seaner, spoke with Rainfocus’ Wayne Woodfield and Laura DeGood from Salesforce about how this approach improved the registration process at Dreamforce and other Salesforce events. Citing an impressive 4x improvement in badge pick-up times, they shared three key learnings and insights for employing facial authentication for event check-in. These included the need for clear and consistent pre-event communications, the ability for attendees to easily opt-in on-site, and the importance of layout optimization to make facial check-in front and center.

I also had a unique opportunity to participate in the Rainfocus Pitch Tank, a fun adaptation of a famous TV show in which I “competed” against four other vendors in front of a panel of judges. Although the judges were much nicer than the typical sharks, it was great to hear one judge – Mark Williams – say that he hadn’t “seen anything like this in a good decade” regarding the difference the technology brings to the conference experience. Even more rewarding was hearing this week that Wicket won the Pitch Tank audience vote with a nearly perfect score. You can see the full Pitch Tank presentation here and judge for yourself!

All in all, Rainfocus INSIGHT was a fantastic experience for the Wicket team and me, and we left convinced that facial authentication could improve the event-going experience. We sparked quite a few discussions at the event that will see Wicket used at many more conferences this year, and we would be happy to discuss how Wicket can help you deliver a sensational event experience.

About Wicket

Wicket Software is a privacy-first facial authentication platform provider with patented computer vision AI technology that enables sensational event experiences for fans, guests, and employees with frictionless touchpoints that delight users and strengthen security.

Wicket has been in use since 2020 and deployed for facial ticketing, credentialing, access control, and payments in numerous sports stadiums, at major conferences, and in corporate office environments.

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