What Is Internet of Things, and Why Should Meeting Planners Care?

By Kelsey Ogletree, May 9, 2016

Implications for Event Attendees

Beyond the wide scope of IoT potential in cities and huge venues, meeting planners and attendees may also directly benefit from the technology one day.

“[IoT could help meeting planners] provide a much more connected experience,” says Whitechurch, providing a play-by-play example of what the attendee experience could look like in the future: “I arrive at the airport, walk off the plane and get a message welcoming me to the show on my phone. When I get to the registration area, I’m already checked in and someone greets me by name. I receive directions to the keynote, and I can see his bio when I walk into the room. He also knows my particular interests prior to the talk and speaks of relevance to those interests.” And the list goes on.

“[IoT could help meeting planners] provide a much more connected experience.”

But will the growth of IoT technology take away from the human element, which has long been fundamental to events? Whitechurch doesn’t think so. “[IoT is] very much about focusing on smaller connections and opportunities, and allowing individuals to connect effectively,” he says. “That’s the value you’re going to get as an event organizer.”

Whitechurch’s example may be a glimpse into the near future. “I think it’s going to take another three or four years to come to the point where consumers are using it without really knowing they are,” he says of IoT.

His point is emphasized with an example from Kargman: “One of the women on my marketing team laughs that she can not control the lights in her bedroom without her phone,” he shares. “She doesn’t think of it as IoT; people just look at it as the future of technology.”

Any way you look at it, IoT certainly gives new meaning to the old adage “if walls could talk.” Tread carefully, as they probably are.

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