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Registration Kiosks
4 October 2007, by , in Data Management, 3 comments

I've been hearing a lot lately from vendors about "registration kiosks." These are computers or kiosks set up in a meeting registration area to allow self-check-in for meeting registrants. The concept is similar to what you see at the airport now when you go to check in: the meeting attendee goes to the kiosk, slides a credit card to identify him- or herself, and then walks through the process of checking in.

I've actually used this check-in process at the Avectra Users and Developers Conference (although I needed someone to help me check in). I know that ARC Solutions is also offering this type of service. At ASAE's Annual Meeting, they do a similar thing with "wandering registrars" who carry barcode scanners and can check you in without you having to stand in line.

I'm curious to hear stories (success or failure) on this concept. Have you ever used registration kiosks at your conference? Or have you ever attended a conference that had registration kiosks? What has been the big advantage or serious impediment?

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3 Comments on "Registration Kiosks"

Becky Granger - 5 October 2007 Reply

We've had self-check-in kiosks at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference since 2000. It's worked really well but we have learned a few lessons along the way: - Bring the database and web application onsite - don't rely on the internet because if it goes down, you are in big trouble. - Segment the registration server and kiosks onto their own private VLAN to keep other network traffic from impacting performance. - The kiosk should ask short yes/no questions. More clicks are better than complex questions. - Don't ask the users to remember where to go after the y finish at the kiosk because they won't. We are actually changing our entire layout this year to address that issue.

Wes Trochlil - 9 October 2007 Reply

Great thoughts, Becky. Your point about relying on the internet is well-taken, but in this age of hosted solutions, I'm not sure bringing the database onsite is always possible. But it raises the issue of having a backup plan for when (not if) the internet connection goes down.

Becky Granger - 9 October 2007 Reply

Great point. I should have mentioned that we always make sure to have redundant connections if we are reliant on the internet (in cases where we can't bring the apps onsite). For example, at our annual meeting, we get a dedicated connection set up to a local university but we make sure to have a cutover plan to the facility's connection in case the local loop gets cut (like say by a backhoe in a parking lot...not that it has ever happened or anything). :-)

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