Baa-aaa-aaa! Kiddies! Get Used to Getting Tracked! Start With Your Church

The Data Collection Era

Baa-aaa-aaa! Kiddies! Get Used to Getting Tracked! Start With Your Church

10 August 2008 at 2:13:53 PM

So... what happens when you decide to go to a mega church that is SO LARGE that you must pass through a kiosk to get a badge ... and what about what kind of data collection the church wants to do on you?  I saw this via Frisco-online. from an article today in the DMN

On any given Sunday, about 5,000 kids come into the children's ministry at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano.

Families form lines and check in at 32 kiosks spread among the church's six entrances, swiping "Quick Passes" at the self-service machines. Parents register the kids for classes, then a kiosk spits out sticky name badges for both parent and child with identifying information: child's and parent's names, classroom and any food allergies.

(Baaaaaah! Mooooooo!)

About a dozen of the kiosks have volunteers standing by to help families who have forgotten their digitized cards.

Badges in hand, parents walk their kids to one of 85 classrooms for a Bible-focused story hour, playtime or worship before they themselves head off for services in Prestonwood's main sanctuary.

"This was essential to us," Prestonwood executive pastor Mike Buster said of the technology to ensure children's safety. "Volunteers are at every entrance making sure everyone has a badge."

It's been about 6 years since I was out in The Colony and Frisco looking around, but I remember driving out down 544 and seeing a mammoth chuch with a  huge parking lot. I'm guessing that's where Prestonwood Baptist Church went to when they outgrew their digs. And okay, people can attend whatever kind of church they want, but I do NOT understand why someone would go to a church so huge that you must give out BADGES just to keep track of your kids. What, the parents can't go get their kids after the Sunday school class and walk them to the main service? Or they can't trust the people teaching the classes to keep track of the kids?   And talk about training up your kids from infancy-nothing like getting them used to being part of the *tracking society*, where it's just natural that people would be watching you whereever you go and you can't trust being off on your own without your badge.

Now, these aren't RFID or wireless tracking badges where someone might be watching from some control room and see a blip on the screen to know where at any minute somebody is in the church. Not that there aren't churches that are salivating at the chance to do that, 666 style! From Tony Dye

Just thinking out loud here.  Imagine if we could have everyone in the congregation carry some sort of RFID tag.  (Yes, I know, but imagine with me anyway)  Now, further imagine that we put RFID readers at every outside door, and maybe at a lot of inside doors.  Would we be able to gather enough data to know who is in the building, and perhaps even what room they're in?  Could this provide a complete worship attendance system, as well as children's check-in?

Now, since we're imagining here, let me go a bit further.  How many tags can RFID readers handle simultaneously?  Can a crowd of people walk through readers, jammed together, and can we still catch every tag?  How far fetched is this?

Instead, these are, apparently two tier badges. You either have your regulars that can just do a swipe and get in or those that have to wait in line to get some badges printed (must be pretty lucrative for that church in the offering basket for them to afford stuff like this). Then there are cameras in each Sunday School room to watch the kiddies, and the people picking up have to have a matching badge with the one the kiddies wear.

I was curious about the software used to do this, which is Fellowship One, by Fellowship Technologies.  I notice that your kiddo might not get put in the same Sunday school class every time with his or her pals, because the software load-balances the rooms.

After the phone search we bring the most active households to the top of the result list; We automatically select the most appropriate room based on pre-assignment, best fit by age, and balance the rooms automatically

Beyond this for the kiddies, the software has one database so that churches can really, as the initial article said "slice and dice the data". Why worry that your personal data is being collected by the church, anyway? It isn't like there are any instances, ever, of databases being compromised, right? Oh.....

I believe these must be *special* people who attend churches this large. And I don't mean special in a good way.

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