by Michael Shapiro | April 2, 2012

Last October I wrote about ITN International, a U.S.-based event analytics provider, having received top honors in the EIBTM Technology Watch. The company took the prize for its Citywide Attendee Credential, a badge that also serves as a public transit pass or an electronic ticket for local attractions in the host city. The badge was successfully tested last year in Amsterdam, but its outlook for U.S. use is restricted by this country's slow adoption of NFC -- the Near Field Communication protocol. Depending on whom you talk to, NFC will either take off -- as it has in many other parts of the world -- or will die a slow death, and new wireless communication technologies will soon take over. What caught the attention of the Technology Watch judges, however, was the innovative way in which show organizers could collaborate with a host city to find uses for this technology.
Interestingly, ITN just announced this week that the Citywide Attendee Credential enjoyed a successful debut last month on U.S. soil -- thanks to a pilot program for a group of attendees at the Smart Card Alliance 2012 Payments Summit, held Feb. 8-10 in Salt Lake City. The Smart Card Alliance partnered with the Utah Transportation Authority for the test run, and as a result the attendees could ride public trains using their show badges.
ITN didn't specify the size of the test group, but the Utah Transportation Authority made clear that the technology wasn't quite ready for large-scale use. "While we didn't address all the card-security issues you'd need to address in a national pilot," said the UTA's technology development director, D. Craig Roberts, in a press release, "the test did show you can blend an event credential and a transport card seamlessly."
Ivan Lazarev, ITN's president and CEO, was more grandiose in his optimism: "I look forward to the day when transit systems all over North America are NFC-enabled and event planners can provide their attendees this kind of ‘all-in-one' badge," he said in the same press release. That would be cool, in any case. If you've used some form of NFC technology at your events, anywhere in the world, let us know your impressions below or by emailing me at