Amanda AI takes on Traction Conf

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Last week, Traction Conf captured Vancouver’s budding tech scene in a nutshell—forward-thinking, multi-faceted, and dynamic. The Amanda AI team from TTT Studios thrives in this environment. For two days, we delivered quick, convenient, and innovative facial recognition check-in to 1,000+ people at five different locations across Vancouver.

This is how we did it. 

What is Traction?

Traction Conf is an annual Vancouver tech conference catered to business leaders interested in product strategy and growth. This year, the conference spanned two days from August 7th to 8th and was organized by the amazing teams at Launch Academy and Boast.AI. The speaker lineup featured nearly 30 C-suite, growth, and product executives from some of the fastest-growing companies in the world including Netflix, Shopify, Mailchimp, Duolingo, and Atlassian.       

Traction attendees waiting for a presentation to begin
Fireside chat with Kathryn Petralia, president and co-founder of Kabbage

Your face is your ticket

At TTT, we specialize in all things facial recognition. Having previously set up facial recognition check-in for the SingularityU Canada Summit and KPMG’s Ignition Centre, we wanted to bring the same standards of efficiency and innovation that we shared with them to Traction.

Set-up and deployment

Prior to the event, Traction gave event attendees the choice to opt-in to facial recognition and upload a photo at ticket purchase or through their registration mobile app. The Traction Conf team included that information in our e-mail communication leading up to the conference, allowing attendees to give consent and upload an image of themselves. As with all our events, these photos were deleted immediately at the conclusion of the conference.  

AmandaAI facial recognition kiosk

On the first day, we were on-site at 7 am setting up our facial recognition system for check-in at three different locations: the Terminal City Club, SFU Morris J Wosk Centre, and Grouse Mountain. For attendees who had opted in to facial recognition, the initial check-in process was simple: 

  1. Approach iPad kiosk and select sign-in
  2. The iPad performs a scan of the attendee’s face in less than a second
  3. If recognized, the attendee confirms that the identity and information displayed is correct
  4. If an attendee had not opted in to use facial recognition, check-in via email or QR code was available
  5. The option to submit a photo for facial recognition opt-in later in the event (if not already done so) was given
  6. Print event name badge on-demand 

In the evening, we tore down our kiosks and re-assembled them at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden where attendees gathered for the opening reception. The attendees who had badges from the morning check-in immediately entered, while the Amanda AI system checked-in remaining attendees and provided seamless badge re-printing for attendees who misplaced their badges. The same procedure was followed for the second day when event attendees headed to the JW Marriott Parq Grand Ballroom for keynote presentations and fireside chats. Thanks to Amanda AI, long line-ups typical of events this size were non-existent.

Reception

At every event where we provide facial recognition check-in, our goal is threefold. We want to:

  1. Provide that “wow” factor. Amanda AI personalizes the user experience from the get-go, placing attendees in the mindset to network and engage. We achieve this through name badges that are printed on-demand as event attendees register, the novelty of the technology, and the speed of the check-in process.
  2. Expedite lines, if there is a line at all. Based on data collected from previous events at which we’ve set up, Amanda AI is 2 to 4 times faster than traditional methods of registration and check-in, including mobile/paper QR code ticketing and name + email input. 
  3. Mitigate ticket fraud. Amanda AI doesn’t just bring value to the end user through an enhanced attendee experience—it also maximizes event revenues. Since “your face is your ticket” and attendees can no longer swap tickets or name badges to give someone else access to the event, otherwise lost revenue that result from traditional registration and check-in methods is salvaged. 

To say that the Traction Conf was a success would be an understatement. There was significant opt-in for facial recognition and it was the most widely used check-in method. It was incredible to see how excited attendees were when Amanda AI instantly recognized them. The positive vibes from the innovative check-in process placed attendees in the mindset to engage with others at the event. It was an interesting contrast to those who had not opted-in to use facial recognition and were stuck fumbling around, digging through their bags for their phone or ticket to scan their QR codes.

Amanda AI #yourfaceisyourticket contest

One of my highlights of the conference was the atmosphere. Everyone was high-spirited and driven to build impactful technology. There was no place that this excitement was more evident than at our booth, where we gamified our Amanda AI set-up. The game was simple: be the company with the most visits to our TTT booth. Each time a unique company representative came to visit us, Amanda would recognize them, project their name and company beside their face on our TV monitor, and add to the tally of visits on the leaderboard. It was super fun seeing the competitive spirit from all the companies who participated—some were slacking their coworkers during the conference to urge them over to our booth!

It came down to the wire, but the final leaderboard looked like this…

AmandaAI identifies TTT Studios staff and projects their name and company beside their face on TV monitor

Don’t mind the infectious smiles of our TTT family—zoom in on the leaderboard to the right, and you’ll see that Later pulled away with the narrow victory. As a trophy, they were awarded a gift basket from Meinhardt along with some TTT swag!

Gift basket filled with treats from Meinhardt and TTT swag
Later, winner of the gift basket, poses for a picture at their office

What we’re building toward 

At every event where we get to showcase our facial recognition system, from the SingularityU Canada Summit to our Canada Day booth at the Vancouver Convention Centre, we learn more about the best way to execute our set-up. We use these learnings to tweak the UX to make the check-in process even more efficient. As we continue iterating our existing technology, we’re also exploring innovative ways to create even more value for our clients and their users. 

Amanda AI for the office  

In addition to facilitating registration and check-in at events and conferences, Amanda AI also operates in offices as a virtual assistant by using facial recognition to oversee access control and visitor management. It also features the ability to greet and sign in office guests, allow them to sign our NDA, and notify the meeting host by email or SMS when their guest arrives.

Amanda AI for lead retrieval

What if companies who set up booths at large conferences could target high-profile attendees and gauge the interest of potential clients using quantitative metrics? The next project in store for us is a facial recognition based lead capture tool consisting of an in-booth camera and web portal to provide high-value prospect “flagging” pre-event, smart notifications as high-value attendees approach, and real-time in-person lead scoring. We’re currently working on developing customer validation feedback loops to identify desired features and create a list of early adopters. The end goal is to eventually incorporate useful metrics (eg. average time at booth) into our facial recognition lead retrieval system and create what would essentially be a full-fledged “in-person” CRM software specific to events. 

In addition to the benefits it brings, we are also aware of the underlying ethical concerns with facial recognition. These concerns have largely been ushered to the forefront of dialogue around AI by instances in which facial recognition has been exploited and irresponsibly deployed. At TTT, we keep these concerns top-of-mind to deliver a quick and convenient check-in process without compromising user privacy. Traction Conf was just the beginning of our innovation potential with facial recognition AI. It allowed us to showcase the future we’re building toward —a future in which facial recognition is employed ethically and purposefully to bring value to companies and enhance their user experience. 

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