The Internet of Things is a fascinating concept that, whilst not new, has been gaining momentum with the advancement of technology in recent years. The internet we use could almost be considered the internet of people. It allows us, humanity, to connect to one another globally via individual IP addresses. The Internet of Things, as the name suggests, has the same function, but connects objects to the internet, allowing them to transfer data via a network in order to talk to one another.
A basic example of how this is poised to work as a chain reaction in the future can be given using your morning routine: your smart watch or fitness tracker senses that you are waking up, sending a signal to your lamp and radio so that they start up, while your curtains begin to open and your bed adjusts itself to room temperature. In turn, your heating starts up in the bathroom and a fresh pot of coffee starts brewing before you’ve even opened your eyes. Sounds pretty enticing doesn’t it?
There are predictions that in the near future, a single person could have a network of 5,000 interconnected ‘things’ working for them at any given time. On a larger scale, every inanimate object might one day have its own IP address. This, of course, has huge implications in both our daily lives and for businesses.
But what does it mean for events?
First and foremost, it means more data. In reality, we only manage to record a fraction of potential data with the limited capabilities available to us right now. But with all manner of objects connected to the internet with the main aim of producing and using data, the amount that can be obtained and processed increases exponentially. There is already sophisticated event technology such as Poken, RFID solutions and interactive data capture hardware and software which can tell you enhanced insights about your event attendees and their journey around your event. But with the Internet of Things in full play, you could gain instant data on how many people pass through a booth, how many people sit on a chair, how many people touched a button, what they ate for lunch, who they spoke to, how many brochures they picked up or read. Essentially, attendee behavioural patterns become less of a mystery and more instantly quantifiable, creating a lead generation goldmine.
The IoT also has huge benefits for your attendees in that they can be connected to everything and everyone at your event at all times. Registration could be automatic, as an RFID device would know when the attendee is approaching and would do the work for them. Networking would be as simple as touching NFC devices together to exchange digital business cards (this is already happening now!) There could be an up-to-the-minute app on the attendee’s phone, with everything from the current temperature to an individually customised schedule with notifications telling them when something they’ve expressed interest in is about to start, where it’s happening on the map, if it’s delayed, how many seats are still available…
Importantly for Event Managers, the Internet of Things could help you to stay in tune with every aspect of your event setup. Lighting, heating, air quality, and product stock levels can be kept in check by the objects in question – you wouldn’t have to lift a finger. If a food kiosk began to run low on stock, it would send an automatic notification to the relevant people who could fill it. A tweet complaining about the air conditioning could be picked up by the unit itself and readjusted to suit the attendee’s needs. Ambient lighting could be changed automatically depending on the surroundings. Not only will this help events to become more sustainable but it will also save time, manpower and money.
If the Internet of Things signals anything for the future of events, it’s higher efficiency. More efficient data production and recording, more efficient monitoring of attendees and more efficient spending. In an age where this type of technology is just starting to become ubiquitous, it’s a good idea to get ahead of the game and implement it into your event to make it more attractive to your ‘digital age’ attendees, who arrive expecting to see at least some facets of technological advancements at the events they attend. The Internet of Things is a fantastic example of this, and with connected objects appearing all the time, it’s a great time to start doing it – to take advantage of the novelty factor while it’s still there.
If you want to experiment with the Internet of Things and incorporate something truly up to the minute and on trend into your event, chat to our team today.