ShowClix Implements New York Comic Con RFID Solution For Second Successful Year

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ShowClix works alongside ReedPOP using RFID technology to welcome 150,000 fans to New York Comic Con 2014. New RFID applications make their debut, including fan photo stations and exhibitor scanning.

Excited fans wait in line at the Javits Center before New York Comic Con opens.

Excited fans wait in line at the Javits Center before New York Comic Con opens.

“ShowClix is the infrastructure that allows us to have safe, happy fans and a really kickass show.” - Lance Fensterman

A team of ticketing experts from event technology company ShowClix once again worked alongside ReedPOP for the annual New York Comic Con at the massive Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan.

For the second consecutive year, ShowClix and ReedPOP partnered to create an infrastructure with RFID technology that helped ReedPOP manage a crowd of more than 150,000 fans over the course of four days. Launched as part of the partnership in 2013, the RFID solution has given the event “a significantly larger degree of control" and solved "intense capacity issues," according to ReedPOP leadership.

"That was perhaps the largest single project we've undertaken," Lance Fensterman, Group V.P. of Operations for ReedPOP, said.

"It's been the most successful thing we've done for controlling crowds and counterfeit badges."

While complex conventions like New York Comic Con are major targets for scalpers and ticket counterfeiters, RFID provides an added layer of fraud prevention by tying in the registration process to the totally secure RFID badge itself.

As a result, registering and getting into the event has become faster than ever for the fans.

After what Fensterman called a “mind-blowing” success at 2013’s RFID launch, ShowClix and ReedPOP looked for new ways to apply the technology.

"What makes an event successful for us is the fan experience. How is the fan treated?" Paul Dwyer, Registration Director at ReedPOP, said.

"It's more than just ticketing them, having them wait in lines and getting them to the proper places."

In late July — during the midst of other optimizations in preparation for this year’s convention — ReedPOP proposed a new challenge for ShowClix: photo stations for fans that could connect with RFID badges.

"We came to ShowClix with about two months lead time," Dwyer said. "And it was really, really rewarding last night to go by and see people having a great time in front of that photo station interacting with their friends and creating memories."

The photo stations were equipped with HD cameras and RFID scanners. By scanning their badges, multiple attendees could snap a quick photo together. Then, using the registration data stored on their RFID badge, they could choose to instantly receive the photo in an email or publish on their social media accounts.

“It's a keepsake," Nate Good, CTO of ShowClix, said. "Fans want to hang onto their memories after an event. A cumbersome sign-in process might turn people away, but with RFID, we're able to minimize the process down to a couple of quick taps."

Another new implementation of the RFID technology this year came in the form of scanners for exhibitors to interact with attendees.

ShowClix CEO Tom Costa explains that this application is “the beginning of ShowClix delivering on our promise last year to use RFID to create incredible, personalized experiences for the fans.”

ShowClix provided NYCC exhibitors with Nexus 7 devices, which they could then use to can the badges of fans who wished to share their contact info.

Working like a high-tech mailing list, a new potential customer or curious fan could sign up with any exhibitor at the convention. Additionally, the vendors are able to track engagement over the course of the event.

"When we started working with ShowClix, what we were looking for was not a ticket seller, but rather a software solution provider," Fensterman said.

"Together [with ShowClix] we essentially plotted a course. We posed challenges. Together we created solutions with their expertise and our knowledge of our fans and our industry. It was true collaboration."

ShowClix's technology wasn't the only way the company was represented at the convention, either. For major events, ShowClix deploys the Event Operations crew, overseen and managed by Event Ops Manager Katie Smith.

“We don't take the responsibility lightly," Smith said. “We've spent months working closely with their team on this event and others, but nothing really reaches the scale of NYCC."

“How do you comfortably move 150,000 people into the Javits Center in four days? It’s our job to figure that out while managing the admissions technology and keeping Reed’s fans happy.”

Making their second appearance at the annual convention, the Event Ops team implemented networking hotspots, trained staff and provided admissions support and customer service at the gate during the onslaught of attendees.

"NYCC is wonderful pandemonium for geeks. Without ShowClix, the show would be more chaotic than it already is," Fensterman said.

"ShowClix is the infrastructure that allows us to have safe, happy fans and a really kickass show.”

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Brian Edwards
ShowClix
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