IBM uses RFID to Track Conference Attendees

Just caught this story  on IBM’s first  use of RFID technology to track conference attendees

At its Information on Demand conference in Las Vegas, IBM is deploying RFID technology on name tags worn by attendees that automatically tracks their session and meal attendance.

The use of RFID in the badges was not a secret, and attendees were given the option to opt out

Of the 6,500 people here, approximately 2 percent didn’t want a name tag with an RFID chip in it, said Mary Ann Alberry, IBM’s conference manager.

I wonder if we will be seeing this technology at Lotusphere this year as the article explains the benefits,,

The real-time aspects of the system help with day-to-day conference management. If a room gets filled to capacity, a decision can be made to repeat the session. If a person needs to be reached in an emergency, he or she can also be tracked down, Alberry said.

I personally have no problem if they want to put an RFID tag in my badge, if it helps them manage the conference, it should help me get to the sessions I want to, and make sure the sessions being repeated are the ones with the demand.  Does anyone have any strong objections to this?  IBM Uses RFID to Track Conference Attendees

2 Responses to IBM uses RFID to Track Conference Attendees
  1. Aleks Ozerov
    October 17, 2007 | 9:46 pm

    Hmm I get chills just thinking that I may be so easily tracked. Especially since the “24-character identifier includes the name, title and company of the person wearing it”. So they don’t just look for the number of attendees but at the actual individuals.
    It is not to say that I don’t see the positive use of such direct targeting. It similar to the Google’s approach to advertising, or Amazon’s approach to product offerings … and just like with Google and Amazon we don’t know what IBM can and will do with their data.

  2. Nathan T. Freeman
    October 18, 2007 | 5:25 am

    I’m trying to think of what the abuse might be in an environment like Lotusphere. The only thing I can come up with is…

    1) It being a travel junket, there are certainly things that people do that they wouldn’t necessarily want their families to be aware of.

    2) You could track proximity of people to monitor business relationships. For instance, it would be easy to see who spent a lot of time hanging out with the Microsoft attendees.