What is attendance tracking?
The purpose of attendance tracking is to control access and record attendance to various sessions at your event. The results can be used to gain insight into your event as well as issuing attendance certificates to your audience. A common use case is the issuing of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) points for the attendance of conferences and seminars.
How to track attendance?
Modern attendance tracking solutions aim to automate the process of attendees having to accurately sign an attendance register and then manually entering the results in a database or spreadsheet. This is typically done by scanning barcoded tickets or name badges per session. Some solutions also offer name badges with hidden RfiD (Radio Frequency Identification) or NFC (Near Field Communication) tags.
Advantages of attendance tracking software
Attendance tracking software aims to automate the recording of attendance and reporting:
- Generate name badges: Attendance tracking software can generate tickets or name badges with unique barcodes to be scanned at your event.
- Automate tracking: Scanners can dramatically speed up recording attendance as the scanning of a name badge or ticket is instantaneous. No need for your attendees to stand in long queues or pass around an attendance register to sign.
- Control access: Good attendance tracking software will allow you to control access to your session by displaying whether the scanned badge is valid and whether it has been scanned before.
- Upload results: An advantage of attendance tracking software is that the results can automatically be uploaded to a central database. No need to manually enter results or upload a csv file.
- Work off-line: For instances where a reliable internet connection is not available, it is crucial for the attendance tracking software to be able to work off-line.
- Attendance reports: Software should allow you to generate detailed attendance reports per session and allow you to export the results. You will be able to provide your speakers and sponsors with a list of who attended.
- CPD certificates: A very useful feature is to be able to configure a branded CPD certificate which summarizes attendees’ points earned and can then automatically be emailed to all attendees.
Considerations when planning your event
- What is your budget?: Although technologies like RfiD and NFC can be an effective way of tracking attendance, it can add considerable costs as the badges and recording devices are expensive. A cost-effective solution would be to scan QR coded badges with a hand-held scanner or at a scanning station.
- Controlling access to sessions: If you need to control access to your sessions you will require a staff member to scan badges and your software to display whether it’s a valid badge or not.
- How many staff and devices will you require?: This will depend on the number of sessions you are hosting as well as the total number of registered attendees.
- Do you have internet?: If you don’t have reliable internet, make sure your system can work off-line or consider scanning attendance records to a hardware device which can be uploaded at a later stage.
- Security: If you are tracking attendance in an area which is accessible by the general public or if security is a concern, you need to make sure that a staff member or security personnel is present where your scanning devices, PC’s or hand held devices are located.
- Does my staff require training?: Make sure your staff members know how to scan badges and look up attendees to manually enter a scan if they have lost their ticket or badge.
- Will I have virtual attendees?: Many virtual streaming platforms can be configured to record attendees that join sessions virtually. Make sure that your virtual sessions are configured correctly and that you know how to integrate the results with your reporting software.
- How many CPD points are allocated?: Make sure your CPD activities are accredited before the time and that you know the number of points that may be allocated per session.