The Internet of Things and its Impact on Tradeshows and Events

Hundreds of billions of sensors are deploying quietly. They will track our every move and monitor almost everything with which we interact. The Internet of Things (IOT) will transform society and will have a significant impact on tradeshows and events. As everything links with everything else, this will be the next big technology revolution!

IOT Defined
IOT is the connection of objects and people to transfer data over a network without the need for human interaction. Sensor chips in a myriad of “things” (appliances, thermostats, door locks, TVs, watches/bracelets, cars, buildings, roads, power grids, dams, livestock and more) will provide unprecedented efficiency and convenience. A broader term, the Internet of Everything (IOE), is perhaps a more descriptive term for this revolution that will be affecting us all in the near future.
Our Bodies
Most of us are already carrying a very sophisticated set of sensors and a sensor control panel in our pockets – our smart phones. They can track our every movement and can interact with a greatly increasing assortment of things. Other wearable devices (smart watchesNFC rings (requiring no batteries), smart beltsactivity monitors, health monitors (via bracelets/phones/watches), smart clothing, and much more will monitor our location, activity, health and interact automatically with other devices.
Our Home
Homes are a big target for IOT with connected sensors coming in thermostats, door locks, lights, TV/entertainment systems, security systems and appliances. Sensors will recognize us as we approach our homes to automatically unlock/open the door, turn on the lights, and start entertainment systems based on our preferences. Thermostats will recognize our patterns and control the heat accordingly. Appliances will have sensors to alert of pending equipment failures, proper use and even if we are running short on milk. Small items such as baby bottlestoothbrushes and bathroom scales track efficiency and health. It will be likely that, eventually, even mundane items such as a chair will have chips to track inventory and purchase details.
The World
Our bodies and homes are just the start. Connected cars, transportation systems, roadways, parking lots, buildings, power grids and city infrastructure systems are seeing similar explosive growth of sensors to increase efficiency in improve the experience of humans using them.
Applications for Meeting Venues
Indirect results of IOT are coming soon in a wide range of attendee experiences. The hotel room will become “smart” with mobile guestroom door locks and sensors to determine presence for AC adjustment/lighting. Smart TVs are already in many rooms.  Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensors including iBeacons can track attendee movements throughout a meeting facility and local area to provide a wide range of assistance such as location-aware information and directions. The San Diego Convention Center and the downtown Gaslamp district is a great example of how this will develop (video at:   
On a broader basis, hotels and other meeting venues will become more efficient as sensors help to manage lighting, signage, AC, parking, elevators, loss control, security, and crowd control. Smart lighting, in some cases, tune to any color with varying intensities with much lower energy consumption. A convention center, for example, could “paint” the exact show colors of the current conference on the building exterior using connected LED lighting.
Applications for Tradeshows and Events
In the way that smartphones are already transforming the attendee experience at tradeshows and events, other wearable smart devices will bring a new level of convenience avoiding the “fumble factor” of digging out phones from our pockets and purses.
Smart watches and other wearables will likely help event participants to:·         
  • receive GPS directions
  • receive directional indoor way-finding through a convention facility/exhibition hall
  • open guestroom doors
  • make e-wallet transactions that are faster and more secure than credit cards
  • receive conference alerts
  • exchange contact/lead retrieval information
  • use as admission tickets
  • make audience polling responses
  • enable automated check-in for registration/meeting rooms
  • record and track continuing education unit (CEU) credits and much more
Smart phones have changed society greatly in the past seven years. In the next seven years, IOT will take this change to a completely new level affecting many aspects of day-to-day life, hotels, meeting venues, events and tradeshows.

As Technology Changes Events, These Five Things Will Likely Stay the Same

We are living in a time of unprecedented technology change. How will these changes affect meetings and tradeshows? Will events remain a central form of education, networking and marketing? Will virtual meetings and other communication technologies replace the need for face-to-face events and exhibitions? Although there will likely be very significant changes in these next few years, there are some strong drivers that bode well for the future of events.

Here are five constants that will keep meetings viable in the future:

1. Human gregariousness

Humans are social animals. We like to get together. Indeed, there is a biological imperative to do so!  This basic drive will continue to bring people together for face-to-face events of some form for as long as we roam this planet. 

2. Social connectivity -- the desire to meet with people of like interests

Meetings can be considered the original social media and associations the original social networking platforms. The rise of social media tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, enhances our ability to connect with people of like interests – the same goal of many events!  As our social network expands, this continuing desire to connect with these colleagues will keep meetings as an important method of doing so. Social media may expand our contacts; meetings will provide the opportunity to meet them face-to-face!

3. The value of tradeshow and exhibitions as important marketing vehicles

If a product is a commodity, there are opportunities to automate the sales process online. However, there are many businesses that are highly service oriented (such as the hotels, convention centers and meetings management) – they rely on people to deliver the product. Tradeshows and exhibitions afford a great way to meet these service providers and gather information in a condensed, time-efficient and cost-efficient manner. 

4. People like attractive destinations and are enriched by the travel experience

Travel broadens horizons and provides great ways to experience cultures, cuisines, new ideas and much more. Meetings often afford the opportunity to get away from our day-to-day business routine and to experience new horizons.

5. Live face-to-face events provide a much richer experience than virtual meetings

Webinars and other virtual meetings are great for short information exchange. However, in today’s multi-tasking and often distracting work environment, attention spans are short. Thirty minutes to an hour is usually the maximum you can expect someone to pay attention to a webinar sitting in front of a monitor.

Meetings, on the other hand, take people to a more focused location with fewer distractions. As long as attendees are informed, entertained and fed, event hosts can keep them engaged for days. At the minimum, there is a social contract to at least look like you are paying attention at an event. This is very different than most virtual events. The opportunities for networking, brainstorming, and relationship building are usually far greater at face-to-face events than online. To put it succinctly, there is no such thing as a virtual beer! 

Meetings provide opportunities for people to connect. Our gregarious nature, our desire to meet with people of like interests, our curiosity to experience new locations and ideas will be constant driving forces to keep meetings a viable means on connecting, educating, and bringing people of like interests together for the foreseeable future.

The True "State of the Art" is In the Infrastructure

Lucas ipsum dolor sit amet calamari moff hutt c-3p0 secura solo padmé dagobah moff hutt. Solo maul lobot vader darth sith ackbar mandalorians secura. R2-d2 maul darth lando skywalker. Dooku wicket lars endor grievous hutt maul. Amidala dantooine hutt skywalker sith. Bothan wookiee organa calrissian lobot ewok k-3po. Darth organa skywalker leia solo skywalker. Antilles sebulba moff gonk ewok dooku. Owen mon qui-gon jinn skywalker ben wicket kenobi lando. Lando grievous leia boba dagobah mandalore hutt.

Dagobah tusken raider r2-d2 moff mace antilles antilles antilles. Palpatine mace lando luke aayla dantooine. Gonk ben wedge jinn gamorrean qui-gon yoda kenobi. Hutt darth skywalker windu dooku tusken raider windu wookiee dagobah. Darth alderaan jango antilles. Ponda mandalore dagobah utapau. Skywalker fett mon darth greedo moff cade mon. Mon coruscant wampa darth mace organa kit. Wookiee kenobi jinn darth wedge. Kenobi fett lars moff. Gamorrean jar antilles jade. Han greedo dagobah chewbacca. Darth tatooine fisto utapau moff kessel leia.

C-3po droid wookiee mustafar. Darth alderaan vader palpatine skywalker antilles c-3p0 chewbacca. Yavin organa ackbar padmé dantooine gonk kashyyyk. Dooku leia ackbar naboo wedge owen. Organa mace yavin moff kashyyyk organa ackbar jade solo. Secura jar antilles solo sidious organa jango wedge. Ponda organa skywalker antilles moff lando wedge hutt. Grievous organa solo coruscant mon tatooine darth. Maul darth kamino ben hutt mandalore organa lars kenobi. Moff darth bespin tatooine. Thrawn dagobah calrissian sidious.

Darth skywalker droid darth. Fett aayla zabrak anakin calrissian jango wicket thrawn. Thrawn alderaan skywalker yavin. Ackbar calrissian organa maul hutt sidious bothan. Sidious endor hutt calamari lars dantooine wookiee darth. Kenobi droid jar antilles hutt thrawn. Aayla sith mustafar darth mustafar lando secura. Moff greedo organa padmé binks thrawn windu moff darth. Coruscant kessel dantooine kessel wookiee fett dagobah. Alderaan organa mustafar yavin darth yoda kenobi. Skywalker antilles mustafar padmé.

Ackbar antilles obi-wan fett fisto moff leia sidious leia. Twi'lek ackbar han fett mon moff darth. Hutt skywalker darth ackbar dooku c-3p0. Jinn biggs calrissian jabba darth antilles palpatine darth. Skywalker yoda lando padmé dagobah dagobah organa mara. Twi'lek wicket ackbar hutt. Padmé endor thrawn secura. Wedge mara gonk mon windu. Coruscant dooku hutt alderaan moff. Fett darth kessel zabrak c-3p0 kit kashyyyk dagobah tatooine. Darth solo jawa jango calamari jar mara skywalker grievous. Hutt moff obi-wan organa yoda.


Informative, thought-provoking, inspiring and fun programs. Read More


Boost your company's technology with Corbin’s consulting services. Read More

Corbin’s Link List

The web’s most extensive list of industry categorized links! Read More


Hundreds of free articles on meetings technology and event planning. Read More


Subscribe to Corbin's Free High-Content Bi-Monthly Newsletter. Read More

Software Tools

Free planning tools, spreadsheets, templates, handbooks, & more. Read More
  • 1

What The Audience Is Saying

  • Sensational session. Worth the entire PCMA registration fee.
    Bonnie Wallsh Chief Strategist
    Bonnie Walsh Associates
  • "Way beyond the best I could have imagined!"
    Russell Clark Environmental Protection Specialist, U.S.
    Environmental Protection Agency
  • "On a scale of 1 to 10, your session was a 20!"
    Joanne Langevin Manger of Meetings and Events
    College of Family Physicians of Canada
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3