by Leo Jakobson and Alex Palmer | March 02, 2017
Event management software firm etouches announced today that it has acquired Loopd, a maker of wearable smart badges, apps, and analytics software that makes it easy for attendees to connect with each other, track session participation, and gather leads.

The Loopd badge is a button-sized Bluetooth device that weighs just five grams and can be worn with a lanyard or clip. It replaces traditional name badges with simple and automated tracking of event entrance, session sign-in, and the gathering marketing materials. More importantly, the Loopd device and its related app allows people to exchange contact information and keep a comprehensive record of who they met and what they did throughout the event, as well as manage direct messaging and social media tools.

On the back end, the Loopd Analytics tool tracks attendee actions in real time, allowing planners and event owners to see where attendees are going with traffic flow patterns, time spent with exhibitors and other partners, and which sessions are the most popular. Other tools identify and track event influencers and manage surveys.

"Loopd reinforces our worldview that data is the future of events," Oni Chukwu, CEO of etouches, told Successful Meetings. "It helps us to become the leaders in giving good, actionable data back to event organizers in a manner they can use."

Loopd CEO Brian Friedman, who will join etouches as director of product for mobile, data and engagement, emphasized the importance of actionable data for planners.

"Data is king, but if you don't understand what it means, it doesn't provide much value," said Friedman. "For an attendee using Loopd, they can easily exchange contact info, and also context -- where they met the person, messages sent back and forth, and the attendee's journey at an event."

The Loopd device, app, and software platform will be integrated into etouches' own cloud-based end-to-end event management solution, which offers 16 modules covering everything from venue and hotel sourcing and event marketing, to content management, registration and event logistics, to budgeting, analytics and ROI tools. It also offers engagement tools, attendees apps, and around-the-clock worldwide support.

Over the next few months, etouches will integrate Loopd into its event management and performance measurement tools, said Shane Edmonds, CTO of etouches. 

"The combination of [Loopd's] technology and what we've built will bring to market the ability for planners to gain access to a level of data that they never would have had access to before," said Shane Edmonds, CTO of etouches. "It makes analysis of that data more accessible to planners, where they can see their outcome more clearly and understand what happened at the event down to the single attendee level." 

The acquisition also gives what Chukwu called a "beachhead in Taiwan," where Loopd has development offices, providing the tech company with a "launchpad into mainland China."