IIFX Announces its 2023 Innovation Awards

IIFX Announces Innovation Award Winners for its Hall of Honor

June 23, 2023 Jackson, Mississippi – The Innovation Institute for Fan Experience (IIFX) announced today its annual Innovation Award Winners.  These awards showcase extraordinary people in sports and entertainment venues who inspire others along with best-in-breed technology and best practices. This recognition also serves to highlight and accelerate adoption of innovative technology that improves the fan journey.  The awards will be presented at the upcoming IIFX conference on July 11, 2023 being held in association with the Association of Luxury Suite Directors (ALSD) Conference and Tradeshow in Indianapolis. Winners will be permanently enshrined in a virtual Hall of Honor experience made possible by Linkroom which will be unveiled for the very first time at the award ceremony. The 2023 IIFX Innovation Award winners are:
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Technology Innovation Leader Joe Coomer, Vice President of Security for AMB Sports + Entertainment for his exceptional work in using new and innovative security technologies to create a more seamless and frictionless security screening process for fans, vendors, and staff at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  His technology and screening processes reduce wait times during entry, allowing fans to spend more time enjoying Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s impressive amenities and enjoy the experience
Women Innovator Award Kasia Hanson, Global Director, Physical and Cybersecurity Ecosystems at Intel Corporation for her outstanding leadership and mentorship to create paths to success for women in the security industry and in the sports and entertainment industry.  Kasia served as the Past Chair of the Security Industry Association Women in Security Forum and established the IIFX Women in Sports & Entertainment Security program to encourage women to become security leaders and help other women develop the skills to succeed throughout the sports and entertainment industry.
Technology Award Wicket Software for developing and deploying next-generation, real-time facial authentication technology that links tickets to faces using selfies, enabling express entry for fans to sports and entertainment venues while reducing the risk of lost or misused tickets and credentials. Their “opt-in” authentication platform protects individual privacy, has zero reported false positives, renders a decision in less than a second, and streamlines entry to sports and entertainment venues, creating a more frictionless fan journey. Wicket’s facial authentication technology can also be deployed for facial payments, access control, and credentialing, showing the promise of biometric solutions throughout a venue and at many critical points along the fan journey.
Venue Award Climate Pledge Arena, located at Seattle Center, is the complete redevelopment of an historic landmark, originally built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. It is the epitome of innovation that delivers on the commitment of its namesake, The Climate Pledge, which was founded by Amazon and Global Optimism in 2019. Home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, Climate Pledge Arena serves as a long-lasting and regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action and consistently delivers an educational, engaging, and memory-making fan experience in a climate-friendly venue. With fan, employee, and vendor support, Climate Pledge Arena is on track to eliminate all plastic from the venue by 2024 and become the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world.
“The fan journey is the experience,” said Dr. Lou Marciani, Director and Co-Founder of the Innovation Institute for Fan Experience. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with both Joe and Kasia, I’ve seen Wicket’s inventive solution in action, and I’m utterly amazed by Climate Pledge Arena,” said Marciani.
“I know that innovative leaders, technologies, and venues deliver safety, security, sustainable operations, and excellent service; they help fans create memory-making experiences,” continued Marciani. “We look forward to adding each of them to our new virtual Sports & Entertainment Industry Hall of Fame.”
Visit the official IIFX-ALSD Conference & Tradeshow website to learn more about conference and register. Make your hotel reservation today before the low price room block closes at the end of June.
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About the Innovation Institute for Fan Experience

The Innovation Institute for Fan Experience (IIFX) was founded in 2020.  IIFX’s vision is to be the leading and most trusted global authority on providing exceptional, memory-making fan experiences for the sports and entertainment industry. The Institute focuses on the fan journey and creating the ideal fan experience for its member organizations, one that results in increased revenue, sustainable growth, operational efficiency, a diversified workforce, new and repeat attendance, and maximized health, safety, and security through best practices, innovative technology solutions, and high-quality services.  IIFX produces content and events and facilitates dialogue and collaboration around its core areas of expertise. Learn more about Dr. Lou Marciani HERE.

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