January 2014

Geofencing corrals meeting attendees

by Ruth A. Hill

Fencing people inside an enclosed area might seem like a rather forceful way to encourage attendee networking and exhibitor interaction, but “geofences”--one of the industry’s hottest new technology tools--encourage networking and connections inside virtual barriers that don’t seem quite as claustrophobic.

These fences get built with RFID (radio-frequency electromagnetic fields) or GPS software that define a geographical area such as a convention center or hotel ballroom.

Instead of living on your name badge, however, the tech lives in a mobile app. The app triggers mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets whenever attendees enter or leave whatever premises are defined by an administrator. This gives user-attendees instant event registration and event access, and organizers and sponsors know when people enter and leave a fenced area.

Geofences can define multiple locations around the world for the same event, thus drawing in a larger, virtual audience. Topi, a geofencing app that is gaining significant traction for events use, includes the capability of automatic language translation. One app user types a message in his or her own language, and the software translates it into whatever languages recipients use.

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