Volan Technology, a startup that specializes in AI-driven, indoor geolocation solutions and software, has debuted the Volan Positioning System, a contact-tracing and analytics platform for use at meetings. The tool consists of Bluetooth-network sensors, small wearable devices that can be placed on attendee lanyards, and a software-analytics package that reveals both live and historical contact-tracing data.
The system is flexible, and can be quickly and easily installed without modifying the venue's existing IT infrastructure. It can even be moved from room to room. The VPS is being marketed to hotels and other meeting venues, as well as to schools and workplaces, for purchase and permanent installation. So in some cases, planners could have the option of contracting directly with a venue to use the platform.
VPS is designed to be extremely accurate, as well, using the Bluetooth LE 5 mesh network standard and 3D location positioning. The software can create precise analytics for who interacted with whom, when and where, so planners can send risk alerts to a list of those most exposed in the case of a positive Covid case. This could replace the need for large quarantines, mass alerts and more painstaking manual contact tracing after the fact.
When it comes to any kind of attendee tracking, there are always privacy concerns. Volan addressed these in the design, so the system tracks people using random ID numbers that are assigned using encryption in an iOS app that can only be accessed by designated administrators. Volan doesn't collect and hold any attendee data or personal information; that is all managed by the meeting planner.
Similar attendee-tracking tools had been gaining traction before the pandemic; as long as planners are clear about what the data will be used for, the VPS could serve a variety of purposes to parse attendee-experience data. The technology "not only provides critical contact-tracing data in seconds, but also advanced analytics that help exhibitors reach top prospects and meeting planners to access data for planning future gatherings," said Tony Yousfi, vice president of hospitality sales for Volan Technology.
Volan debuted the VPS recently at the annual meeting of Associated Luxury Hotels International, to a group of 50 attendees at the Fairmont Austin in Texas. ALHI president and CEO Mike Dominguez — a former colleague of Yousfi's at MGM Resorts — applauded the arrival of the new platform. "Contact tracing has been a highly requested tool from our meeting planning community," Dominguez noted. ALHI is a Volan corporate partner.
For meetings, the cost of the platform varies according to the size and scope of the event, the number of attendees and the level of service required. Volan offers a variety of options, including a full-service package with a Volan team on-site, from installation through the end of the event.