The COVID-19 pandemic is still going strong, even after a large portion of the population getting vaccinated, which means authorities are still recommending safety measures like wearing masks and washing hands. Sophisticated measurements are recommended (and imposed in many cases) in many areas, such as gathering limits and contact tracing, so if anything goes wrong the local health authority can handle the outbreak.
This is why when organizing an event these days, organizers should be registering and checking in attendees to follow health protocols and avoid any unfortunate consequences. An event is usually a high-risk activity because many people gather together, sometimes in a confined space. So, even after taking the highest precautions, it is not unusual for a COVID-19 exposure to occur. Having a contact tracing solution to check in attendees easily is the best course of action.
But how does an attendee check-in system work? Well, in the traditional way, a staff member is placed at the entrance or at the reception desk where participants can write down their names and contact details, so in case there is a COVID-19 exposure, authorities can use the record book to track who attended the event and may have been exposed. However, this “manual” solution does not always work. Here’s why:
- When there is a large number of attendees, there is a higher chance they will have to form a long line to get into the event because writing down contact information takes time and has be done one at a time.
- When attendees are writing down their details in a physical record book, they are essentially breaking social distancing protocols, unless the book is being cleaned every time someone checks in.
- The record book contains potentially sensitive contact information and if somehow the book is misplaced, attendees’ contact details are exposed!
- If there is a COVID-19 exposure, it is extremely difficult to find all contacts who were present in the event within a specific time period.
- There is a high risk of information being recorded wrong in the manual process!
There are many risks of a manual contact tracing process for events. They have the potential to make the whole purpose of contact tracing meaningless if anything goes wrong.
What’s the solution? Setting up a digital contact tracing solution for events.
How? We are going to explain that in four easy steps!
Digital Contact Tracing for Events
The automated, digital contact tracing system works in the same way as the manual one because the purpose is the same: recording attendees’ contact information accurately. However, the biggest difference is that in the digital process, most of the work is done automatically. Also, the digital contact tracing process is more user-friendly.
The core idea is that attendees do not need to write anything in any record book. They can just send a quick text message to complete the check-in or fill out a short digital form. Each of the time-stamped entries are automatically recorded in a central online database.
Sounds easy, right? Let’s break the whole process down!
Step #1 Keyword & Shortcode
There are two ways to help attendees complete the self-check-in. The first way is to send a text message to a specific number. SMS keyword and shortcodes are used to build this system.
In this process, each attendee can send their name along with a keyword to a short phone number. For instance, the keyword can be EVENT and the shortcode can be 123456. So, if an attendee texts “EVENT ANDREW WATSON” to 123456, the system will automatically detect the keyword in the SMS message and automatically generate an entry in a secured database for Andrew. Andrew will receive a confirmation message and then Andrew can simply walk in the door, show the confirmation message at the front desk, and join the event!
Step #2 Digital Form
The other way to help attendees check in is to ask them submit a digital form. The digital form can be accessed via a short link. For example, Andrew wants to check in via the digital form. So, Andrew will access the digital form, fill out his name and contact details, and then submit the form. An entry will be generated in the same database where the SMS-based check-in details are stored. Andrew will receive a text message that confirms the completion of the check-in process. Similar to the previous process, Andrew will simply walk in and show the confirmation message to the front desk staff before joining the event.
Step #3 Post Signage
So, you have two ways for your attendees to check in by themselves, but how do they know what to do? To prevent any miscommunication, the event management can simply hang a large poster or banner at the entrance of the event with detailed instructions to check in via text message or digital form. For the convenience of the attendees, the digital form link can be embedded in a QR code so they can simply scan it to access the form.
Step #4 Recording Check-ins
We have already described the process above. Every time an attendee checks in to the event, a time-stamped record will be created in a central database. That database can be accessed by designated staff at any time and customized reports can be downloaded if required by local health authorities due to a COVID-19 exposure.
So, that is how the digital contact tracing for events works! No more long lines, no more crowded spaces, no more undue risks! Attendees can check themselves in effortlessly and the event management can rest assured that contacts are being traced accurately.
How Do I Build a Solution Like This?
This solution, despite sounding so intriguing, can be tough to execute because it involves many digital tools such as SMS marketing, digital forms, email marketing, a CRM, and an automation platform. Obtaining these tools alone is a big task and on top of that, the tools should be connected and streamlined using an automation platform.
Fortunately, SimplyCast has already built a digital contact tracing solution that you can use to secure your event. We have used our in-house digital engagement tools to build the solution powered by our cutting-edge digital engagement platform. We can customize the contact tracing solution to fit your business requirements as well.
The solution is highly scalable, reliable, and can deploy a multi-channel approach. Also, SimplyCast is an ISO 27001:2013-certified company so you can relax by knowing that your attendees’ contact details are stored in our secured server.
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