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BW Events Tech

We are going next to Show Imaging. We have Caitlin and Jon from Show Imaging, who are going to talk about a really cool technology that they have produced with Swoogo.

Hi, everyone. How are you feeling? Oh I really can't see it all.

Bear with me. So we also have with us Maddie today, one of our amazing event managers, so I just wanna give her a shout out. And I know our time up here is brief, but we did wanna say thank you to Swoogo. Not only for bringing us here today, but more specifically, for being such amazing partners over the past two and a half years. It's news to no one in this room that you have the best support team in town, on top of being incredibly responsive and helpful. You're just genuinely nice people.

So, yes, please give it up for Swoogo, thank you.

So we are Show Imaging. We are a national, full service, event production company; a true one-stop-shop for strategic event management, content design and creation, and AV production.

We initially signed up for Swoogo in 2020, when we were looking for a solution to have a platform for hosting the live streams that we were broadcasting for our clients. It was easily the best decision we made that year. And even coming out of that challenging season, and moving away from virtual events, it's still been a really powerful tool for us. It's given us the freedom to think creatively about new ways to enrich our client's events.

The first way ... our first like foray into unconventional thinking was for our university clients. We needed a way to sort of dynamically render lower thirds for students as they were walking across the stage for commencement.

And so we unified the university database with Swoogo's registration platform through API and sample integrations, and we were able to provide a ticket to those students with a QR code on it.

The QR code would be scanned as they were, you know, lining up in front of the stage, which would put their information into a queue. We had an operator backstage that would see that queue and advance the names as they were called. And so their lower third was rendered in real time, saying, Jon Juarez, Bachelor's in Software Engineering, and, you know, that was, it was a real time update, which was really exciting for us. It's been a successful tool that we've used since we signed up for Swoogo, and being able to, sort of leverage your features has given us a confidence to think about other ways that we can do that. Which brings us to Melon, which is the real thing we wanted to share with you today. So, this is our fun little startup screen.

And ...

Yeah. So we produce multiple, large-scale festivals, and realized there was a need for more robust access control. So the way we saw this is, I think we needed to introduce something like RFID. So our solution introduced RFID wristbands.

I think we had something like ninety days until our next festival, but we like a challenge, so we said, oh, let's just go for it.

It was nice knowing that we could leverage Swoogo's webhooks and robust API. So using Melon, we were able to automate security's decision-making at the gates. So what we did is, we had different zones all over the festival and we made sure that people weren't able to access those zones, using the RFID wristband.

And also helped our clients with their guest list registration. So they were able to get a spreadsheet and upload it to Swoogo.

What you see here, this box on the right, is our version one of our Melon scanning station, this particular model was branded for one of our festival clients and attendees. Well, we used it specifically for anyone that needed back-of-house access, so staff, production, media, VIPs, artists, artists' guests, etc. They would hold their wristband up to the scan-here sticker, and see visual cues on both the LED screen and the lights on top that would grant them access. There were audio queues as well for access granted or denied.

We do have a video of it, but ... Okay, great.

So this is the station in action.

For this festival, we had twenty-one access points with three or four unique sort of zone permissions. So depending on your wristband type, you would either have access to those points or not.

And you may be wondering why did we call it Melon? Well, initially, we referred to this project internally as code name Project Gandalf, thanks to the very iconic, You shall not pass, scene. Access control. It makes sense. I'm a big nerd. For obvious reasons, we can't actually call this Project Gandalf. So we pivoted to Melon, which is still a very subtle reference to that same scene. If you know it, amazing. If you'd like to know it, ask me and I'd love to share with you. But it's been fun to sort of maintain this little easter egg to our origin story for Melon.

So, why's Swoogo? Obviously, robust registration, and we've relied heavily on the who's attending widget for issuing the credentials.

Yeah. And not to mention, they have a very accessible and highly supported API.

I just saw Postman get updated like yesterday, so and also the webhook and reliable servers.

And the previously aforementioned best support team in town.

So RFID wristbands, they have unique IDs and they need to be attached to users' ... to users' registrations. When they pick up their credentials. Kinda like we picked up our credentials up there. So, how we solve this is we created a custom UI leveraging serverless functions, and Swoogo's who's attending widget, and their API.

So, with using off-the-shelf USB RFID scanners, Box Office was able to quickly issue wristbands to their registrants.

This is an example of the who's attending widget in action. This is what our Box Office staff would see, and as a staff member would come up to collect their credentials, they could search for them by name or company. They would see which type of credential they should receive, as well as visual cues for whether those credentials were valid, which zones they had access to, etc, and they would press the manage button, which would pop up our custom UI.

At this point, they would take the RFID wristband, tap it on the USB scanner, which would attach the RFID, UID to their registrant profile in Swoogo. They would see a successful message, or an error message if something went wrong. They could also detach the wristband if they maybe, grabbed the wrong type, or needed to reset a person's creds.

So we're going to get a little more technical here. We implemented a webhook consumer to utilize Swoogo's webhook features in order to have real time updates to our registrants. So, let's say someone, you know, got their wristband taken away, we could instantly get an update at our middleware database.

Next, we would pull Swoogo's API periodically, just in case like, you know, things happen with the servers and sometimes we get misses. So, we would constantly pull it and obviously we did it off enough that we didn't hit the rate limits.

The scanners that would download the issuances locally in case of connection issues. So, like, let's say a forklift happened to run over a CAT 6 cable, which happens. Often.

Yeah. So what this really meant for our client and our events team is that we were able to update credentials and zone permissions in real time. So if somebody had access to backstage earlier in the day, but didn't have access afterwards, you could update that in Swoogo. If there was a security issue and we needed to revoke someone's credentials, we could do that remotely, versus having security try and track that person down and cut the wristband off physically. So it was super helpful for being able to update things in real time.

And that's Melon. The one thing I didn't mention is that the the scanning station was custom-designed, engineered, and built in-house by our software IT and fabrication departments.

We are still developing it, and we've implemented it successfully on a few festivals, and are gonna continue to implement it throughout this year, but it's been a really exciting project to work on. And if you have questions, please ask us after. Thank you so much.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you, Caitlyn, and John.

You really lived up to your titles as senior software services and senior engineering.

And when you book Beyonce, if I could get that all-access pass, please.