Gaggletag in focus

Features World
Gaggletag in focus

Imagine you could find all the photos taken at your event…well now you can, says Gaggletag founder Gideon Summerfield. (originally published in CMW sister title EN)

It’s a question many event organisers have pondered: how can I make full use of the hundreds, or even thousands, of people using social media at my event?

Gideon Summerfield (pictured left), co-founder of image tracking tech company Gaggletag, believes he has the answer.

“Gaggletag is a solution for linking the real world to the virtual world,” he tells EN. “The challenge is capturing the attention of very busy people. They all gather in that one place on that one day, and they don’t have a great deal of time, so you want to provide a way to engage with them with a light touch.”

Put simply, the Gaggletag is a unique marker that can be searched for, scanned and picked out in photos shared online.

If, for instance, an exhibitor had a Gaggletag marker on their stand, any photos taken in front of that stand and posted online could be discovered.

“It uses what we call visual metadata,” explains Summerfield. “It’s kind of like a supercharged QR Code, although we avoid using the term ‘QR Code’ these days because it has quite negative connotations.

“The reason people don’t like QR Code is because you have to download an app, hold your phone steady and wait for the software to confirm it. People don’t have time to do these ‘stand and scan’ interactions.”

Unlike QR Codes, which require real time confirmation, Gaggletag can scan a specific hashtag on Twitter and recognise photos taken at individual locations. It can identify specific markers and send out content related to that product or exhibitor, such as a link to an app or webpage.

“They have visual elements that can be really easily spotted on computer vision,” continues Summerfield. “They won’t be confused with other things that might appear in the photo and can be found even if the marker is really small or at a tight angle.”

Summerfield also has plans to gamify Gaggletag, creating a treasure hunt service called Tweet-go-Seek where users take photos to prove they’ve visited different locations.

“If you share a photo that has a Gaggletag in it then that will prove you’ve been to that specific location,” he explains. “We think there’s a great application to help drive exploration and incentivise people to visit particular areas, and drive footfall to different places.”

While Summerfield and his co-founders have launched their own services using Gaggletag, he’s eager to work with other people who might want to integrate the marker in their own services or apps.

“We have an API for our cloud engine, and if there’s somebody producing a show app, they could do the sort of thing we’re doing,” he says.

Gaggletag is a relatively young company, introducing its first service around seven months ago, and Summerfield and his co-founders are still learning.

“We’ve learnt a lot about what works in terms of calls to action and how to present it,” he tells EN.

“We’ve also learnt about the demographics; most people love sharing photos but with some it’s second nature. You can see the difference between someone who doesn’t post on social media very often and somebody who uses social media all the time.

“Gaggletag is designed for the social media world, and that’s what makes it powerful.”

Conference & Meetings World is published for the international conference and meetings industry. It tackles the issues facing organisers of international events. The editorial is independent, fresh and news driven, with a global reach.

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