Again and again we receive inquiries from our customers whether the snapADDY CardScanner and snapADDY VisitReport can also read trade fair badges. Especially at trade fairs and events in North America, the traditional exchange of business cards is sometimes canceled. Instead, the trade fair tickets - better known as badges in the trade jargon - are scanned. This would be much easier for the sales colleagues at the stand, they say. With this article we would like to give you a general overview and disprove two myths about trade fair badges.
Myth 1: Trade fair badge equals trade fair badge.
There is always a QR code on it.
No, a QR Code is not always the same and a fair badge does not necessarily have to be a QR Code. There is a variety of square codes, which can also contain different information. There are barcodes, Aztec codes, QR codes and all these codes can contain different information.
One can easily compare such a QR code with a USB stick: It is basically first of all a way to store data on the flash drive. The USB-stick can contain a video, a Word document or also a PDF document. If I connect the USB stick, for example, I can only display the PDF on my PC if I have a PDF reader installed.
If you find a QR code on a business card, data is usually stored in the form of a vCard. This data can be read with the snapADDY CardScanner but also with many other tools. All information is stored in the code.
Why don't you give it a try?
Scan the code with your snapADDY app or the camera of your smartphone. The data is readable. But even here you can already identify a disadvantage: I intentionally put some wrong information in the QR code.
The QR Code Reader reads the information exactly as it is stored. So QR Codes do not stop at typing error and wrong information.
In this picture you can see a second QR code.
What is noticeable? The QR Code has much fewer dots and is not as filigree as the code from the first example. Therefore, less information is transferred. In this case it is only the URL of our website.
These codes are often used on posters or for actions to refer to a landing page. In the same way, this code can also contain only a number or ID, behind which a person is hidden at the end.
This code contains the following information:
This structure is from a real trade fair badge. It shows an ID to a contact as well as basic information about the person wearing the trade fair badge around their neck.
Myth 2: The data quality on trade fair badges is very good
That really makes me smile. Have you ever given your complete address data including telephone extension and mobile phone number to register for an event or trade fair? I have not. And the result is reflected in the data from the trade fair badges. Data stored there belong to the trade fair organisers and are requested during registration. Without guarantee of accuracy.
The real decision-makers, who do not want to be swamped with advertising e-mails and phone calls for weeks after an event, are careful when entering your data.
How does it work now with the trade fair badges?
- Variant 1: The code contains a vCard and is readable
One works with a quasi open code and everyone can read data from the badges.
- Variant 2: The code contains an ID that can be decrypted by API
An ID can be read from the code to identify the person. The personal data is then requested via an API interface of the trade fair organiser, usually subject to a fee. It is therefore also possible to see the person's contact details directly.
My verdict: It can be expensive.
- Variant 3: The code contains an ID for subsequent data retrieval
In this case, you just collect the IDs during the trade fair, hand them over to the organizer at the end of the event and then you will get an Excel list with the data, for example.
My verdict: Unnecessary delay.
- Variant 4: The code contains an ID and parts of the contact data
As shown in example 3, a few snippets about the contact can be read directly from the code. The remaining data can be retrieved again via the ID, either by interface or Excel list.
My verdict: Complicated data merging.
With the variants 2, 3 and 4 it has to be checked individually whether the snapADDY apps can process the codes. snapADDY already cooperates with some fair operators in this field. Please feel free to contact us!
My final conclusion
The data from trade fair badges is not a real option or comparable to a business card. If I have the opportunity to get a business card at a trade fair or event, I should always take the opportunity. In addition, trade fair companies can pay a very high price for data access via API or Excel file.
What makes it even more difficult is that there is no standardized offer for reading trade fair badges worldwide. Many trade fairs work with their own systems, which differ significantly in format, structure and interfaces. Depending on their intensity, this requires many individual solutions for data collection for you as a trade fair participant. Often the costs are therefore out of proportion to the data quality. We at snapADDY are currently working on an alternative that builds up a basic data set live from business networks and the Internet, so that the reading of trade fair badges is no longer necessary.