Tech Talk: Augmented Reality, Facial Recognition, and Happy Maps

Augmented Reality

Virtual reality (VR) is one innovation that has already started to become more mainstream at meetings and events.  However, VR’s similar counterpart, augmented reality (AR), has distinguishing variations that allows this technology to convey information differently than VR.

While VR only displays computerized graphics, and VR is limited to visual and auditory projections, AR has the ability to blend the real, physical world with digital visuals, working across the visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, and olfactory modalities.

In the meetings and events industry, AR’s mix of physical and digital elements can be used to convey venue/service simulations for prospective clientele sales pitches, company presentations, tradeshow engagement, and enhanced breakout education sessions.  AR can also increase the comprehensibility of complex concepts and ideas through user interaction.

Facial Recognition 2

Photo courtesy of Zenus

Facial Recognition

Physical distancing has increasingly provoked more thought and attention towards event registration as attendees begin to find themselves in clustered check-in lines.  Though much emphasis is already placed on thorough registration and badging, facial recognition may become a more common registration procedure, as this technology signs attendees into events with speed and accuracy, while promoting physical space.

To make this interface functional, attendees must first pre-register for the event.  Attendees will then receive a post-registration email with an “upload” button which allows them to submit a headshot for their facial recognition check-in.

The day of the event, attendees scan their face at a facial recognition station using a webcam, and the device matches each attendee’s face with the corresponding headshot that was uploaded during post-registration.  Once attendees confirm the face and name that appear on the system is correct, their event badge is printed.

Product Cost Includes
Facial Recognition Self-Hosted License $750-$2,000/month Unlimited devices and enrollments
Happy Map Smart Cameras $1,500-$2,000 for camera(s); Rental options available Smart camera; does not include monthly subscription fee upon purchase


Happy Maps 1

Photo courtesy of Zenus

Happy Maps

It can be challenging to incentivize attendees to complete a post-event survey that helps measure attendee satisfaction, and even if they do take the time to submit feedback, it is impossible to gage whether their “ratings” increased or decreased upon leaving the event.

To capture accurate, in-the-moment event data that truly reflect attendees’ interest levels, Happy Maps conducts a sentimental analysis using mountable, palm-size cameras.  This innovation passively scans crowd behavior to determine attendees’ micro-expressions, sex, and age group, with a 95% attendee capture rate.

There are many ways Happy Maps can be used to measure satisfaction and increase retention.  Planners and exhibitors may consider using this technology at their meetings, breakout sessions, or tradeshow booths, where Happy Maps will analyze attendees’ level of interest and produce engagement reports that most accurately reflect event insights.

Innovator Spotlight

Headshot 3

Panos Moutafis has nine years of experience in facial analysis, and he is the co-founder and CEO of Zenus.  He received his B.Sc. in Statistics from the Athens University of Economics & Business in Greece and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Houston.  He has a dozen publications in leading journals and conferences, along with a book chapter in Face Recognition Across the Imaging Spectrum and a US patent in score normalization. He serves on the advisory board at the Lone Star College and enjoys offering talks to schools and universities about startups and careers in science and technology.

About the author

The MEET® Family of Publications

The MEET® Family of Publications produces regional and national publications that keep corporate, association, medical, education, independent, and religious meeting and event planners informed about relevant industry suppliers, news, tech innovations, and resources that impact and influence how and where they plan their upcoming company function(s).