Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Big Brother is Watching, and It's Fun

I'm at CDNLive (Cadence Users' Group), and consistent with Cadence adoption of new technology to support users, the conference features new intelligent name badges from nTAG Interactive.

"Name badge" is too mild a description for it. Each attendee gets a device the size of a large remote control with a lanyard. Besides having a traditional name tag sticker, the device functions like a dedicated PDA for the conference. It's chock full of features:

  • Display of your personal conference itinerary. You know which session to go to at what time, and the paper abstract and speaker info is displayed on your nTAG screen.
  • Updated conference schedule. Did presenters cancel or were new ones added? nTAG displays the current agenda.
  • Social Networking! This is a fun feature. You hold up your device in front of another attendee's, and the screen displays something that you have in common (same business market, same hobbies or musical interests). And, at the push of a button, you can exchange business card information. After the conference, I'll be sent a report of all the people I met and a pointer to each session I attended.
  • Online survey submission. After each session, we can rate it with a few clicks on the device. No paper required.
  • A "points" system to encourage networking, filling out surveys, and attending the vendor expo. It's natural to see if you can earn more points. In this conference's case, earning enough points can get you a seat at tonight's poker tournament.

Overall, this gadget is pretty popular with attendees. We're all engineers, so we picked it up quickly and are happy to push all the buttons and explore the features.

What's sneaky is that I'm sure all this data is being transferred back to Cadence for some big-time data mining. They'll certainly track which sessions were attended and get the survey results. What else will they look at? Who networked with whom? I just hope they aren't tracking bathroom breaks. If my device lights up where I expect privacy, it's going down!


Tom Diederich said...

Hey John! I look forward to meeting you at 5:30 p.m. today for a drink (or two) along with Cadence bloggers Jerry Grzenia; Jack Erickson; Bob Dwyer. :-)

Bob said...

Hi John- I'll look forward to chatting with you tonight!