The Inside Scoop: What Planners Are Saying About Facial Recognition
Have you ever wondered how other successful meeting planners use the newest event tech? This series takes you behind the scenes to see how your peers use features like gamification, augmented reality and facial recognition to take their events to the next level.
Facial recognition is an emerging technology with a lot of potential. Given its infancy, however, not many planners are ready to take the leap. If you’re feeling this way about facial recognition, we understand and always encourage you to know which questions to ask before implementing new event technology.
Still, we can safely say that when it comes to facial recognition, you’ll want to remain in the know. Already, industry professionals are intrigued and inspired by its cutting edge possibilities, while addressing some of the early concerns and hesitations involved.
Promising new features
During a beta test we did with Marriott, we learned first-hand that the technology is a fantastic way to serve up personalized experiences. We stationed kiosks throughout the event which used facial recognition to identify guests and provide personalized schedules and directions. And this use of personalization is just the tip of the iceberg. Facial recognition can also serve as enhanced event security, and works wonders for registering and check-in processes. It’s auto-recognition keeps the line moving quickly whereas a manual check-in may require more steps.
As with most new technology, both planners and event guests will grow more comfortable as it is more widely used. Delta Airlines is testing facial recognition for airport check-in and the Apple iPhone X offers facial recognition as a means of unlocking a user’s phone. Both organizations are moving the technology closer to mainstream use.
Safeguarding attendee privacy
It probably goes without saying that the major concerns with the tool are around privacy and cost. It’s important to start with the fact that facial recognition does not have to sacrifice your attendees privacy. Every guest can go through a clear and deliberate opt-in or opt-out process. And at the end of the event, any image collected or used in facial recognition is permanently removed. In fact, under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), attendees have the right to request that their information be forgotten, essentially erasing their personal data including images.
Of course, the onus is on the event planner to communicate what data is being collected and how it will be used, as well as to execute a clear opt-in/opt-out process. As a reminder, guests come to events with the goal of connection and are often excited to participate in innovative meetings. In our beta test with Marriott. we had an 86% opt-in rate. This technology is an opportunity to engage guests in a new way and to wow them.
The cost, and your event’s ROI
As it is now, facial recognition can be pricey. Using the technology will require specific equipment as well as shipping that equipment to and from your location. For small events, it is unlikely the technology will result in a satisfactory ROI. Though, for larger events (1000+ attendees), held domestically, we encourage you to explore your options and consider taking advantage of its highly customizable features. Partnering with a vendor that has experience and expertise is critical!
As this new and exciting technology unfolds, we want to reiterate that working with an experienced vendor is key and it is well worth your research as facial recognition is attention grabbing and engaging—exactly what planners and attendees want! If you have questions or want to learn more about our beta tests, contact us today.