The Internet of Things is the connectivity of everyday objects though a network that allows for the sending and/or receiving of data. This includes items such as the scale in your bathroom, the thermostat in your home and eventually it will be the car you drive and the street you drive it on. According to the Smart Cities Council, the Internet of Things can help address many of the most pressing problems in urban environments today such as congestion, energy use and public safety.

There are more mobile devices than people on this planet, and by 2030 there will be over 50 billion connected devices. (Frost and Sullivan). Even if you are already using technology to enhance your meetings, there are always new innovations on the horizon that help boost engagement and provide greater value for your participants.

Some venues have started implementing Geo-fencing or Beacon technology to enhance guest experiences by providing content such as directions, trivia and even coupons. Levi’s Stadium lets you order your hot dog and soda from your seat, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center uses the technology as a networking tool and Miami International Airport provides relevant information to passengers and staff.

This type of service, personalization and customer engagement is not only being integrated in these large scale facilities, but also in trade shows, conferences, meetings and events. The popular tech buzzword So-Lo-Mo (Social-Local-Mobile) hasn’t gone away. According to Phase One of “The Decision to Attend”, research done by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE), and The Experience Institute, networking and making connections are important to 75% of all respondents, but most important to Gen Y Millennials at 84%, as they are building their base of contacts.

The misconception that the younger generation is anti-social because their noses are buried in their smartphones doesn’t support their reasoning for attending live events. One thing they are used to though is personalized and localized information. Technology has enabled recommendations based on your preferences and location for food, conference session and nearby network connections. Lastly, the growth of mobile apps has only just begun. With the majority of people opening email on their phone and the desire for on-demand access, especially for the digital natives, the usefulness and value will likely put mobile apps at the center of all future events.

This is the new present and future of meetings and events. Are you creating smart experiences?

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