After attending the past 2 Tech.Ed’s, I understand why changes are being made this year. Upon arrival, attendees are presented with their lanyards including a printed barcode. This barcode is used to track numbers of attendees in each event at Tech.Ed, as well as how many attendees visit booths in the main hall.
Having to cue at the entry to session rooms or having 2 present the barcode for scanning at booths is not efficient, or very advanced. This year Microsoft are implementing new technology (new to Tech.Ed, not new to the world), to measure attendance at different locations around the conference.
For this to work effectively, the RFID readers will need to be strong enough to interpret tags, without attendees having to present the tag. If all goes well, this should provide for easy and convenient gathering of attendee metrics, allowing them to determine the popularity of each.
Armed with this information I would expect Microsoft to adjust Tech.Ed 2009 session validity, room sizes, booth selection and arrangement, making for a better, improved Tech.Ed experience for attendees.
Only time will tell, but with the conference on the 2-5th September, we won’t have to wait long to see if RFID is truly ready for large scale conferences. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it to this years Tech.Ed, so if your attending, please let me know about your RFID experience.