Last week we attended the Summer Camps, an event where attendees get trained in different Oracle technologies. Our team consisted on two developers and a platform engineer, each in a different track so we can later share our findings.
Along with the training we also had the opportunity to test drive a Conference application that we created for these types of events. The objective was to understand how our app would fit and to gauge the reaction of the other participants. But before we go into the details, let's introduce the concept.
It all started sometime ago while playing with Beacon techonology. We created two small concepts to demonstrate its use: one for booking meeting rooms and another one for doing fast-track check-ins into events. The latter works as follows: we place a couple of beacons in a registration booth, then as soon as a person approaches with the app open he or she is placed in a queue which is shown on a large screen.
The people arriving do not need to physically queue as they are called by assistants to the different stands, which in turn sends a notification to their devices. Once at the stand, they are handed all the material needed for the event and the check-in is completed.
There are other perks as well: the app displays the event agenda, the list of speakers and the different tracks. It also allows sharing your information with other attendeeds by scanning QR codes.
So, all in all it sounds quite exciting. And we are happy to report that it did work quite well for the most of it, with some very interesting findings.
First and foremost, to use a system like this you need to make sure people download the app. We actually had a mix here: people that did not download it, people that did download it but the app could not connect to the backend server due to network issues, people that didn't use it and finally the ones that did use it. And from the last group we can also segment into those that actually completed the registration and those that didn't - our fault really as we just made it a bit too hard. A good learning.
It would seem though that there needs to be some education as users expect there will be a queue in the registration. When attendees see a queue, well they tend to join it - specially if they see that they are handing out items for the event. However there were a few exceptional cases: they saw their names in the big screen and were waiting to be called, which is exactly how we wanted it to work. We should have added a message in the TV saying they will notified when it is their turn, however, as some of them just kept staring at the screen.
Another idea that we had was to have some sort of "fast track booth", as they do at airports. For that, you need to have a dedicated person in the stand looking for the next candidates and having everything ready. Pretty similar to what we did, actually, but in our case we needed to interrupt an assistant so we could have somebody checked-in.
Overall it was a very good experience and while we need to make a few changes we would consider the outcome to be quite positive. On a more technical note, people we pleasently surprised to learn that the mobile app was actually built using Oracle Jet - even the product manager for Jet asked us twice, just in case.
As a showcase it demonstrates the use of the Oracle Cloud, which we will expand in more detail in the forthcoming months.
If you are interested in using the app for your event, please reach out to us.