Fira Barcelona awarded for implementing the ‘NFC Badge’, a mobile contactless pass

Fira Barcelona’s commitment to innovation has been rewarded. The institution has received the Best Innovation Award from the International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC) for the virtual ‘NFC Badge’, a mobile contactless access pass which visitors and exhibitors were able to use during the 2013 GSMA Mobile World Congress. The new system, developed in collaboration with the GSMA, allowed entrance to the Gran Via venue by using a handset equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.

This innovative technique, which was used for the first time on a large scale in an exhibition centre, enabled attendees to replace the traditional plastic badge with a badge on their mobile device. The new pass made it more convenient for attendees since they avoided queues and, thanks to a photo validation process via the handset, did not need to repeatedly show their Photo-ID every time they wanted to access the venue.

This solution, developed jointly with the GSMA (the association that represents the interests of nearly 800 mobile operators globally) and Fira de Barcelona’s Operations, Technology, Safety and Customer Service Departments, was well received by visitors to the event: it was used by 10.500 attendees and 19,500 scanning operations were recorded over five days. Furthermore, 18 access points were set up with NFC technology -which eliminated waiting times for users of this type of pass- and a specific 45 people team was trained to assist users who opted for this identification formula.

“This award recognises the project implemented by Fira de Barcelona as the best innovation of the year in exhibition centre management and confirms that our institution is among the sector’s elite. It is a project that, at the Mobile World Capital, allows us to show the world not only the infinite potential of mobile technology, but also to offer a better and tailored service to our clients”, said Salvador Tasqué, Operations Director at Fira de Barcelona.

“The NFC Experience at Mobile World Congress was an exciting first for our event, providing attendees the opportunity to experience first-hand the power of NFC technology both throughout Fira Gran Via, as well as in the city of Barcelona. We are very pleased to have partnered with Fira Barcelona to bring this innovation to Mobile World Congress attendees,” commented Eulàlia Ripoll, Event Director, GSMA Mobile World Congress.

The virtual mobile-activated badge means a reduction in “environmental footprint” at events, since it eliminates the need to print passes on paper or plastic for visitors. This new technology also allows organisers to expand services provided to attendees by rewarding those who ‘tap’ with instant access to download information on the conference sessions, and keynotes and get discount vouchers on restaurants and tourist attractions around Barcelona itself all via their mobile phone.The advantages for organisers go far beyond, since they can connect directly with trade fair attendees by sending them personal push notifications to their smartphones and even withdraw their accreditation remotely should they have to be denied access for some reason.

Barcelona, 9th July 2013