Event planning has been undergoing something of an evolution as of late. This has largely been a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, out of the necessity to explore hybrid and remote options, many planners have found technology is not just a stop-gap but a route to new opportunities. Whether in hybrid or in-person spaces, it can help you to become more agile and creative.
Among the most interesting tech tools at your disposal at the moment is the internet of things (IoT). These are devices in a growing connected ecosystem you can leverage to make your events more efficient, safe, and innovative. While the IoT is not exactly new, many planners are unclear on how best to use it.
So, let’s review a few of the current ways you can make the most of this technology in event planning.
Payments and Tickets
At the most basic level, devices in the IoT can be used to sell and scan tickets. Smartphones are among the most common items in the IoT and you can produce and issue tickets via one of the multiple apps currently on the market. These usually operate using a quick-response (QR) code, and it’s not necessary for both you and the attendee to share an app.
However, during the event, your staff can scan the ticket codes using the app. They can then track in real-time your attendee demographics and interactions. This is particularly useful for in-event VIP areas, in which you can issue QR codes to give access, rather than rely on badges or wristbands. This can also be used to give access to limited-access online areas for hybrid events.
If you’re selling tickets on-site, IoT mobile payment solutions can also be a wise approach. This eliminates the need to handle cash. Indeed, card readers can be attached to tablet devices and smartphones. These function through apps and can be shared across all your ticketing and merchandise points.
This not only helps to streamline payments but also falls in line with the fact that many attendees prefer to make payments using smartphones or other forms of contactless device. Understandably both you and your attendees may have concerns about data safety during events.
However, mobile payments are more secure than they’ve ever been, you just need to make sure strict measures and behaviors are followed. This includes ensuring the shared Wi-Fi network at the event is secured and any apps and platforms are based on reliable encryption protocols.
Prepping and Analysis
One of the most important elements in the prepping and analysis of any event is keeping well organized. There’s a lot of data flying around throughout the process. Without tools and protocols to keep it in check you’re going to lose valuable information.
One of the great aspects of the internet of things is the range of organizational applications that can be shared across multiple devices. Some allow large teams to collaborate efficiently online, which is suitable for hybrid events spaces and planning with remote employees. Others are aimed at agile project management. They keep tasks, goals, and outcomes visible across platforms in real-time to allow key staff to make appropriate adjustments.
Alongside organizational applications, the use of connected devices gives you the best quality information for planning future events and reviewing outcomes. Particularly if you’re managing an online event, you should ensure compatibility with a wide variety of devices. Don’t just focus on smartphones and tablets, but also digital assistants.
Encourage attendees to access elements of your event by asking Alexa, Siri, or Google to connect them to the panel you’re offering. Arrange for swipe-through connection to sales, booking, or live streams through social media posts and stories. These not only provide convenience but are vital in giving you engagement insights that help you better direct your future planning and marketing efforts.
Safety and Security
In any event, keeping your attendees safe should always be a top priority. This is, of course, an ethical imperative. You’re inviting people to interact with you. Therefore you have a responsibility to keep their experience positive and with minimal risk.
It’s also a distinct business plus. Any actions or elements showing a disregard for attendees’ wellbeing can spread across social media in an instant. This damages your reputation. It’s important to understand how the IoT can be another tool for keeping everyone safe.
As a result of the recent pandemic, there is a greater emphasis on sanitation standards. Tracking-chips and sensors placed inside any passes or wristbands you issue can be useful here. As these are connected to the IoT, you can create and access heatmaps to see what areas of your event have been frequented most often and what elements attendees have interacted with. This empowers you to adjust cleaning procedures toward areas subjected to most use.
That said, the contemporary online events landscape means you can’t just consider physical safety. Any event in which attendees are connecting with your platforms can present a cybersecurity risk. Their financial information from ticket or merchandise transactions, their personal data from interactions, and even technology during in-person events are all points of vulnerability.
Review where you can make your connections stronger. Blockchain has become an agile yet robust way to address security concerns within the IoT. The decentralized nature of this method is well suited to activities that see you sharing data across multiple platforms and devices. The fact that this sensitive data is stored securely in several locations means your event staff can access and utilize it even if one point of the network crashes.
We are living in a connected digital landscape. One of the most important ways your events planning business can benefit from this is through the IoT. Consider how it can streamline your payment and ticketing processes.
Take time to engage with platforms to make your planning and analysis more agile. Perhaps above all else, review how you can make your attendees and your event more safe and secure through your use of IoT devices and protocols. This approach not only makes for great events, but it can also give you a competitive edge.