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Salt Lake Comic Con FanX Event Uses NFC RFID

At last week's convention, Utah Media Group utilized Seriali.com RFID technology for access control, and to track demographics and volumes of attendees in real time, as well as for business analytics.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 02, 2015

During Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience (FanX), a comic book convention held last week in Salt Lake City, Utah, Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID technology was used to reduce the length of lines in front of the venue's entrance, as well as to prevent fraud and collect information regarding attendees during the event.

The solution is provided by Utah Media Group (formerly MediaOne of Utah), the publisher of The Salt Lake Tribune and other Utah newspapers and magazines. Through its GrowTix division, Utah Media Group provides ticketing and access-control services and apps for several comic cons around the United States, including Florida Supercon and Planet ComiCon in Kansas. FanX was the first event for which GrowTix provided NFC-enabled technology.

At the FanX convention, 25 kiosks were installed at the event's entrance gates, each equipped with an iPad running the GrowTix software, and connected via Bluetooth to a Serialio.com Scanfob NFC-BB2 reader.
Salt Lake Comic Con was first held in September 2013, and has since been offered three more times, including a FanX event held in April 2014 and Salt Lake Comic Con 2014, held last September. It has been one of the most highly attended such events in North America, with up to 120,000 attendees. The next Salt Lake Comic Con event is scheduled for September 2015.

Utah Media Group—which provides ticketing and advertising management services to Comic Con FanX's producer, Dan Farr Productions—has been interested in incorporating NFC RFID into wristbands for convention attendees for some time, according to John Sloan, Utah Media Group's VP of marketing and business development. Other companies hold similar entertainment and comic fan conventions at various cities worldwide, and some have used NFC. For instance, New York Comic Con has employed NFC technology since 2013 in the form of badges obtained by ticket holders, in order to manage access control (see New York Comic Con Adopts RFID to Control Counterfeiting).

Utah Media Group wanted to begin testing an NFC system at the smaller January event for the purpose of access control, as well as to collect attendee-related data for business-analytics purposes and identify ticket fraud. However, the firm's long-term plans are to make the technology available to exhibitors at the larger Salt Lake Comic Con event, so that they could then use the system to identify individuals who visit their booths and follow up to provide them with information via social media or e-mails.

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