The Internet of things (IoT) has been a big buzz word in 2015. Everyone is talking about it with numerous new companies joining in on this new category of technology.
How can we connect physical objects like your kitchen appliances, lights or even your curtains to communicate with an application to automate processes that would essentially require a user to act on?
There are so many use cases in the market for IoT now:
- Remote Lighting
By incorporating smart lightbulbs in your house or integrating your light switches through wireless connections, users can now control the lights in the house remotely from their mobile devices.
- Smart Thermostats
Used with centralized air conditioning, the smart thermostat is able to learn of the usual temperature settings throughout the day and adjusts the temperature automatically based on the common trends and learns.
- Elderly Care
Sensors can be placed throughout a home or through the use of wearables to monitor the movements of an elderly person. Should the sensor or wearable detect either an unusual activity or a fall, an alert can be sent to the caregiver about the immediate need for assistance.
Those were some of the more commonly known uses for IoT – but what about within the MICE industry?
Many of the current use cases can be implemented in the context of the MICE environment. We can already start incorporating sensors and devices to change the way we communicate and engage with our audiences at event or exhibitions. This would help you with your event management and event marketing efforts.
Automated Onsite Registration
The latest mobile devices now include connectivities like BLE, NFC, GPS and WiFi. These connections can be used to automate the registration for attendees at events. With BLE connectivity, attendees can use their mobile phones to communicate with the onsite registration software to check-in users when they are around the event venue. At the same time, a notification can be sent to their mobile phones and prompt them to proceed to a badge collection booth to collect their event badges. This cuts down on waiting time and manpower required to manage the onsite registrations.
Heat Map and Movements
If we get attendees to connect to the event WiFi or if we add BLE chips into the event badges, we can start to generate a heat map of the event floor plan where most attendees are currently at. We can also start to see the common ways attendees navigate around the event venue when we start to track the routes attendees take. With this new data available, we are able to start improving the way organizers create event venue layouts. Organizers are also able to start selling “hot” zones where most attendees are shown to always walk along. This creates new channels for marketing or price increases for booths in certain areas.
Through the use of NFC, attendees can start to use their mobile devices to tap on posters or products that they are interested in to get more information. At the same time, these provide the exhibitor with a list of potential customers who are interested in their product offerings.
Those were just 2 cases of implementing sensors or devices around the event to collect or provide information to the audiences. Having said that, the potential of IoT doesn’t just stop at making inanimate devices smart or connected. The true value of IoT is having data collected from every device. If an event organizer integrates or consolidates all event and attendee data together with the attendee and event data, it gives them a wealth of information for which they can use to create more personalized experiences with the audiences.
This allows the organizers to:
- Provide targeted recommendations to attendees
- Allow exhibitors to see a list potential attendees who are interested in their offerings
- Drive people to exhibitor booths or sessions that they are near to
- Spread out the crowd on exhibition floor when certain areas are over crowded
In the attendee’s perspective, imagine reaching the event venue and before you start to look at where to go, a notification gets sent to your phone telling you to go to Level 2 – Booth 3 to collect your event badge. In the background though, the onsite management platform knows that you have arrived and automatically prints your badge at Booth 3 – which was the next available booth. You then proceed to Level 2 and go to Booth 3 to see your badge waiting for you with a personalized screen welcoming you to the event, telling you to go for your 1st session.
When you walk around the exhibition floor, you stop at an interesting booth and start to look at their offerings. Tapping your mobile device at the product poster gives you more information about the exhibitor. You then proceed to walk around the exhibition floor and stopping at other booths. Your profile gets built up based on the booths you’re stopping at, providing the organizers with data that they can use to personalize your experience further at the event. If there was a session starting soon or an exhibitor with similar interests, an e-invitation could be sent to your mobile device.
As you leave the event venue, you receive a notification that thanks you for visiting the event and a link to an event survey. At the same time, an email is sent to you with the list of exhibitors that you’ve visited and information about their service offerings.
In summary, having a lot of devices communicating and receiving data is but the first step towards IoT. Looking at the bigger picture, it’s how event organizers make use of the data collected to create more engaging experiences for their audiences, and to then reconnect back through the devices around the event.
Want to learn more about the Internet of Things?
Join us at the GEVME Xchange on 12 January 2016 to get the latest on the events industry.