by Michael J. Shapiro | March 17, 2017
GES, an event-services and production provider, has acquired Poken, an event-management platform that is built around near-field-communication-enabled devices that can be worn on attendee lanyards. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
The NFC-technology platform, known as Poken 360°, includes a full suite of event services, ranging from digital check-in and attendee tracking to registration, gamification, lead generation, networking and reporting. The product name will remain Poken 360° and become part of the N200|GES event-intelligence team. Founder and CEO Stephane Doutriaux will remain with the platform, joining GES along with the current global Poken team. They will retain Poken's offices in New York City, London and Lausanne, Switzerland. 
Poken and GES already had a strategic partnership in place, but the acquisition will provide the opportunity to develop deeper integration and enhanced benefits.
"This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to being the preferred global live-events partner, offering the most comprehensive breadth of technology and services," said GES president Steve Moster. "We know our clients want engagement and concrete metrics from their events. They will benefit from the technology and insight capabilities that Poken and our existing Visit solution offer together."
The deal comes on the heels of Etouches' acquisition of Loopd [linkto:], a platform that uses Bluetooth sensors and beacons to similar effect. While Poken operates using a different protocol, it is another example of a larger event company purchasing a tech supplier with a device-driven method of collecting attendee and event data.
"This acquisition demonstrates their commitment to being the world leader in event technology, and especially to the importance of measurement and data intelligence," said Doutriaux. "Together, we intend to pursue an aggressive strategy to bring about a truly measurable and connected event."
GES promises enhanced attendee engagement, streamlined event management and measurable insight for event organizers, exhibitors and sponsors as a result of the integration. Poken's suite of products will still be available on a stand-alone basis, as well, or as part of an integrated suite other GES products and services.