We are fast approaching the day where almost everything we do will be tied to some kind of network, whether that is the internet, or some replacement network such as the Metaverse. The first stab at bringing this science fiction concept into the real world is the “Internet of Things” (IoT). The Internet of Things is a network based on connecting everyday objects to the internet, creating a more efficient and data-driven network of everyday activities.
The event industry relies on as much data as possible on on things like potential attendees, venues, caterers, and presentation performance. The Internet of Things provides a treasure trove of information for event managers and you may be surprised how prevalent the Internet of Things already is at your events.
This is what the Internet of Things will mean for the future of event management.
Automated Attendee Management
How many attendees have RSVP’d? How many actually showed up? Which sessions at your event are most popular with your attendees?
The Internet of Things already has accurate answers to these crucial questions.
And, in fact, some of these IoT event technologies are ones you may even be unknowingly implementing already, such as:
iBeacon technology uses your phone’s bluetooth capabilities to send schedules to your guests, provide them with mobile check-ins for your event, and provide location information to your guests so they can navigate your venue.
This allows you to keep a numerical track of your guests as well as streamline their experience. SXSW adopted iBeacons last year to great success.
RFID and other types of wearable technology provides a new paperless system that allows your attendees to check in, pay for your event, and even connect with each other.
These types of IoT technologies are leagues ahead of manual processes like physical sign-up sheets and paper information flyers, and will save you time, money, and let you collect reams of helpful data you wouldn’t otherwise have the resources to track.
Do you know what your event attendees like to eat? Chances are you aren’t a mind reader and not everyone has time to take surveys to review the catering services at your event. The last thing you want is wasted food and drink at your event, since that waste costs you money.
Internet of Things steps in to fill this information gap as well. The IoT is a network of everyday objects, including even coffee makers and other food service devices. What if you could accurately predict how much coffee would be drunk at your event based on how much was brewed at a previous event?
The Internet of Things allows you to take these factors into account by logging uses of certain objects, which creates quantifiable data on what to expect at subsequent events. Automatic checkout systems using RFID technology can account for foods either purchased or taken at your event to find out which items you will need for your next event and which items you ought to drop.
Automatically knowing how much food or drink to order to minimize waste saves you money that you can spend to make your events even more awesome.
The clapper made turning lights off easy in a simple household room, but in a room of dozens or hundreds of guests, a clapper is not a practical way to save money and energy for lighting. Luckily, the Internet of Things can make controlling lighting in an event much more cost effective and efficient.
Now, with the adoption of “intelligent lighting” an event manager can control entire lighting systems wirelessly through their own mobile phone. No matter where you are and what changes happen at your event, you can be sure you have control over where there is light and where there is not at the touch of your screen.
Keeping your guests safe and comfortable
A building is a building is a building, right? Wrong. The Internet of Things has also led to the introduction of “smart buildings” that have doors, windows, air conditioning, and power all connected to systems built on the internet that can be centrally monitored and controlled.
With smart buildings, you can control doors to either welcome guests, or keep out unwelcome visitors through remote locks and internet-connected camera surveillance.
Any other environmental aspects of your venue can also be controlled wirelessly in smart buildings, such as heating and air conditioning.
This means you can also measure and improve energy usage at your venue, which can lower the cost of powering your event.
The more devices connected to the internet, the more we can gather data on human actions at events, which will lead to more targeted and efficient event management.
Have you used any of these technologies at your events? Is there anything we missed that should’ve been included? Let us know in the comments below!