Zebra printers were the behind-the-scenes heroes of the successful CardTech/SecurTech show held recently in Las Vegas. The printers spit out more than 4,000 contactless smart card badges that tracked attendees throughout the conference. Their badges were scanned when they entered conference sessions, and even when they showed up to eat (to determine if they were eligible for lunch).
Ten Printers Created 4,000 Contactless Smart Card Badges for Participants at CTST in Las Vegas
ITN International Inc., a leading provider of smart card information management systems, has developed and successfully popularized a universal digital identity platform called bCard for tradeshows, events and meetings. ITN has issued more than 2 million smart bCards in the past six years at events held in North America, Asia, Europe and beyond. Meanwhile, CardTech/SecurTech (CTST) is the premier smart card trade show in North America. At the 2005 show, held in April in Las Vegas, ITN deployed dual technology smart cards printed on ten Zebra P310 printers, creating 4,000 contactless smart card badges in three days for CTST participants.
“This is a great marketing value for the CTST show,” reports Ivan Lazarev, President of Bethesda, Md.-based ITN International, Inc., the provider of bCard registration and lead management. “They are using a card-based system for their conferences. The technology is running in real time.”
ITN provided registration services and access control for show management plus lead management for exhibitors via badges, digital media and smart cards.
A Smart Move
ITN’s founders used magnetic stripe cards for trade show operations, but switched to contact smart cards holding four times more information when they launched the bCard concept in 1999. Moving from magnetic stripe to smart cards took the character storage capacity from 200 to 900 characters. This year, ITN moved up again, to contactless smart bCards. A primary benefit of smart cards is that they can be read and written to in a single operation, which is transparent to the cardholder.
“With smart cards, show management can now tell if a bag has been picked up or if an individual is signed up for or has attended a particular session,” Lazarev explains. “These are simple devices that can procure information that used to require a fully wired PC system.”
At this year’s CTST show, ITN used the contactless smart bCards for the first time at an event that really knows the technology. With previous printer versions, it took three separate processes to create a personalized, contactless smart card. By installing an integrated contactless device from Proactive into the printers, the Zebra P310 printers can now perform all three processes at once in nine seconds.
Smart Cards Track Participants
CTST attendees first checked in at a bank of laptops that served as a self-serve check-in station. Pre-registered participants could fast-track by having their pre-registration scanned for a bar code. Then, they proceeded to badge pickup, where they could get both the plastic smart card badge and a thermal paper badge. The show’s badge holders have two pockets, one for the paper and one for the plastic badge.
The plastic badges gave attendees access to sessions. At each session, an attendant stands outside the door with an IPAQ (a mobile, handheld with a CF contactless reader) and the attendee approaches or touches the card to the machine. This way, access is allowed only to attendees who purchased the sessions, which can be quite expensive. This provides show management with a roster of attendees and enables them to easily share revenue with co-producers.
The lunch area at the conference is set up with three entrances. Again, at each entrance is an attendant with an IPAQ that informs whether or not the person is entitled to a lunch. The CF reader in the IPAQ also writes to the card that the lunch has been picked up, so that the card cannot be used more than once per day.
This same procedure is also used for the bags prepared for show participants. Cards must be presented for bag pickup, and that information is written to the card.
Cards Enable Smart Lead Management
Another major service ITN provides at tradeshows is lead management. This service was provided for 100 companies exhibiting at CTST. Exhibitors are provided with one of three lead retrieval devices to collect and qualify leads.
The handheld device reads the card and a series of screens pop up that the user touches with a stylus. Data is downloaded after the show and provided to the exhibitor via e-mail, USB keys or CD-ROMs. Some exhibitors choose the PC-based system that includes a reader and Windows-based software. These users simply read the cards into their laptops. ITN also provides a printing solution in which the card is read and the user receives an immediate printout.
The Zebra P310 … Las Vegas Today; Orlando Tomorrow
The printers don’t stay in any one location for very long. Once one show is completed, they move onto the next.
“Our Zebra printers are shipped and carried around and beaten up like you wouldn’t believe,” adds Lazarev. “These printers are workhorses. We’ve tried several competitors, but no one could beat Zebra on speed and ease-of-use.”
About the Zebra P310
The Zebra P310 printer offers fast, full-color, high-quality plastic card printing that’s never been more affordable. Printing personalized loyalty and membership cards, employee and visitor badges, and student ID and access control cards is easy, fast, and simple with the Zebra P310. The P310 prints sharp, readable bar codes, ID photos, graphics and text, edge-to-edge, in just seconds. The printer’s space-saving, small footprint design makes it the perfect choice for on-the-spot desktop and countertop printing applications.