Here’s a fascinating thought: one day, all our devices will be connected and internet-enabled through wireless networks. “Everything will be connected to everything”, says technology futurist, Jim Pinto. And this will be true no matter the device’s operating system, network, or IP address scheme. In this new age, event automation is bound to be increasingly important if you want to keep up with the pace.
There’s more though. This wireless connection of devices – more commonly known as the Internet of Things (IoT) – doesn’t just include the connection of mobile devices, laptops, tablets or the likes. When Pinto says “everything”, he is referring to the connection of previously ‘passive’ objects too (like your toaster, garage door, or water sprinkler system in your garden) to turn them into smart devices that can send and receive data, and learn from and respond to the information that they collect.
And, as a blog by The Content Strategist points out, this means that,“[w]ith sensors, [any] product can go from being a tool to an actual medium of communication between the marketer and the consumer.” This sounds like an event marketer’s dream!
The IoT may have a while to go before it becomes an event planner’s daily reality – or does it?
With regard to the events industry, the IoT is bound to augment our event automation activities. This includes the ways in which we collect data about our guests’ interactions with our brand. Paired with existing event automation technology, the IoT can help further “automate, personalise and measure our event management and marketing activities” to increase leads, sales and revenue.
McDonald’s has already begun harnessing the power of the IoT to learn more about consumer behaviour
According to a blog by The Content Strategist, McDonald’s has already gotten in on the IoT action by partnering with a solution provider called Piper to develop an app that uses Bluetooth to send greeting messages to customers as they walk through a restaurant’s door. The same app pushes other information their way – like free coupons, surveys for them to complete, or quick Q&As for their response. The end goal for McDonalds is to gather data to monitor their consumers’ behaviour and to then put that data to good use for the brand.
Event automation and smart devices working in tandem in the event’s space is already a reality
The IoT can be used to augment a business’ event automation processes. iBeacons, for example, are low-powered transmitters that make use of a device’s Bluetooth capabilities to push messages to guests and track their consumer behaviour. At an event, iBeacons can be used to send direct messages to guests on their arrival to remind them to register, for example. The same technology then allows them to ‘check in’ via their mobile devices. Existing event automation and registration software then retrieves, confirms and completes this registration process.
Currently, The RSVP Agency’s event registration software uses QR codes unique to each guest to scan participants in at events using our iPad-based app. Guest’s information, captured during the online registration process prior to the event, can be embedded in these QR codes to help streamline the catering process and give them their easier access to shuttle transport services, VIP venues, workshops and the likes. iBeacons take this functionality one step further by enabling a more continuous flow of communication between guests and the event organiser.
The idea is that, one day, event guests will attend your events and remain constantly connected to your brand and the event experience via their devices and the IoT. The IoT will become an integral part of your event automation activities.