Bringing Your CE Tracking and mobile event app together With NFC technology
Continuing education accreditation is often a primary function for trade associations and other professional organizations but managing the process is far from easy. It frequently involves qualifying the candidate, communicating with credentialing agencies, verifying attendance, overseeing testing and exams, issuing certificates of completion, providing records maintenance and handling payment processes.
Several years ago, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry decided to fully integrate their event registration, continuing education tracking and mobile event app. To do so, we recommended near field communication (NFC) technology. NFC is a short-range wireless communications protocol that enables two electronic devices, one of which is usually a portable device, to establish communications when coming with 1 1/2 inches of one another. NFC has been used widely in Europe and other countries for almost a decade, for transportation, ticketing and many other functions. However, until recently, its adoption in the U.S. has been relatively slow. But that’s all changing rapidly now, with Apple announcing last month that it was fully embracing the NFC architecture in iOS 13 to be available in September 2019, thus joining Android devices as being fully capable of reading and writing to other NFC devices.
As an “early adopter” AACD and its membership have gained the benefits and advantages of NFC, where with the simple tap of an attendee’s NFC-encoded name badge, they are granted entrance to their CE session. Moreover, the attendee can immediately view through AACD’s mobile event app, their CE credits earned for that session and their cumulative credits earned from all sessions. When a completed session is selected, the speaker evaluation for that session appears on the app for completion.
And the benefits of NFC usage go well beyond real-time CE credit tracking. NFC registration badges are both readable and writable, meaning that any number of uses can be applied. For example, they can be monetized and used for instant admission to meals and other events or used to pay for transportation. They can also be used by meeting attendees to instantly swap contact information with other attendees at meetings.
NFC is invaluable in the exhibit hall where it can be used much more easily and quickly than QR codes to capture contact information from the attendees badge. A quick tap or hover over the registration badge by an NFC-enabled mobile device will deliver a short beep telling the user that the information has been captured. No more awkward focusing of a camera or needing more light in order to capture a QR code. And, because the NFC badge stores information, exhibitors can add promotions, such as a Starbucks coupon, directly to the attendees badge. Another reason to consider NFC for your next meeting!