Recording trade fair contacts in accordance with the GDPR
Recording trade fair contacts in accordance with the GDPR

Much has happened in the world of trade fairs as far as data protection is concerned – just a few years ago, exhibitors collected the business cards of their booth visitors manually in order to enter the personal data into central directories and contact lists. On 25 May 2018, the coming into effect of the GDPR entailed many changes for this process – and with it for the SIMLEA Lead App. We recently discussed these new requirements with Thomas Stegemann, certified data protection officer and owner of dacuro GmbH.

Mr. Stegemann, personal data collected practically everywhere at trade fairs. What do exhibitors have to consider to meet the GDPR requirements in the best possible way?

At trade fairs, exhibitors naturally have an interest of collecting the contact details of their booth visitors. The latter usually provide this contact information voluntarily through their business cards. According to the GDPR, exhibitors should inform their new contacts that they want to store the data and should give them the opportunity to object to the data storage at a later point. Moreover, the exhibitor has to document the data collection by business cards directly at the booth.


Are there any legal differences between the manual and electronic recording of business card data?

Theoretically, there are no major differences between the manual and the electronic data capture. Nevertheless, the electronic way has some unbeatable advantages over manual paperwork. Apart from the efficiency in the storage of contact data, these advantages mainly concern the field of data security. After all, once the electronic data capture has established in compliance with GDPR, the automated processes reliably prevent the data from being incorrectly recorded or lost. In terms of data security, backups and encrypted https connections offer a benefit over manual data collection. The SIMLEA Lead App guarantees its customers all these advantages of electronic data storage.


How exactly do the GDPR requirements affect the SIMLEA Lead App?

To protect the personal data of the SIMLEA Lead App customers, simlea GmbH concludes an order processing contract (AV contract) with each of them. On the one hand, this contract defines the technical and organizational measures. According to the GDPR, simlea GmbH guarantees by these measures that it will protect the data of the companies exhibiting at the trade fairs in the best possible way. The allocation of passwords according to complexity rules and the creation of user profiles are just two examples of the wide range of technical-organisational measures provided for in the AV contract. The contract also states that simlea GmbH makes it possible to delete the stored data of its customers at any time.


Simultaneously, simlea GmbH must enable its customers, i.e., the exhibitors, to use the SIMLEA Lead App to record the trade fair visitors' data in a legally correct manner.

That's right. simlea GmbH has developed the SIMLEA Lead App in such a way that it correctly records the personal data of trade fair visitors in accordance with the GDPR guidelines. After reading the booth visitors’ data in via OCR recognition on the smartphone or tablet, the app thus transmits the data encrypted in accordance with the GDPR to a system of the exhibitor. There, the data is available within seconds as an export or via synchronization in the API. In this way, the SIMLEA Lead App guarantees the best possible protection for the personal data of booth visitors.


What else do customers of the SIMLEA Lead App have to consider at trade fairs to comply with the GDPR guidelines?

Foremost, exhibitors not allowed to collect the business card data via third parties. For example, if a booth visitor would like to present the exhibitor with the business card of a colleague on the latter’s behalf, the exhibitor may not accept it. At the same time, it is in any case necessary to inform stand visitors that their contact details have stored electronically and to point out that they can request the deletion of their data at any time. In this context, the Lead App allows stand visitors to agree to all of this with an electronic signature on their tablet or smartphone. As soon as this signature is available, exhibitors can send an e-mail of thanks to their booth visitors during the trade fair. Orders of newsletters, on the other hand, require the booth visitors’ additional consent. They should be sent in a separate e-mail using the double opt-in procedure.


Many thanks for the interview!


If you would like to record your trade fair contacts in compliance with GDPR regulations, I would be happy to advise you!



Oliver Edinger

Geschäftsführender Gesellschafter der simlea GmbH

Telefon: +49 (0) 6203 6799 870 | E-Mail:

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