The Internet of Things and Your Next Trade Show
One of the most influential technology trends to emerge in recent years is undoubtedly the internet of things or “IoT” for short. In truth, it's already become such an important part of the daily lives of so many that you can hardly call it a “trend” anymore. It's more a way of life at this point. IoT is a term that refers to the idea of a network of countless devices (including everyday objects) that are all not only connected to the Internet but also sending and receiving data among each another as well.
In our homes, the internet of things is how we tell our thermostats to adjust to the perfect temperature before we get back from work during the winter. In an industrial capacity, the IoT is how a piece of machinery can not only remind you when routine maintenance is necessary but provide information about exactly what needs to be fixed and when. In terms of your next big trade show, the internet of things brings with it a wide range of implications that are worth exploring.
You're Going to Be More Connected Than Ever Before
Mobile devices have been a staple of face-to-face events for the last few years. Savvy exhibitors are using social media to get people's attention when they're elsewhere at the conference or before the show starts.
But the key to understanding the impact of the internet of things is that we will become even more connected. With the vast majority of people walking around with smartwatches or other connected devices, you no longer have to hope that they check their display to see your message. You can pretty much guarantee they will because “maintaining this connection” is part of what the IoT was designed to do in the first place.
Thanks to the Internet of Things, every attendee is a potential target at all times. This is a great position to be in— if you're ready for it. Because whether they're physically standing in front of you or whether they have directly engaged with you will no longer matter. In fact, at a moment's notice, you can essentially “reach out and touch someone” anywhere with IoT and their smart devices.
You're Going to Have Access to More Data Than Ever Before
When you've got these many devices all connected to both the Internet and to one another, you're dealing with significantly larger data volumes than you ever have in the past. Indeed, the Internet of Things is a large part of why there is expected to be about 1.7 megabytes of new information created for every living person on the planet every second by as soon as 2020.
To trade show professionals and other sophisticated marketers, this is a double-edged sword. Yes, you're going to know more about attendees than you ever have in the past— while the show is still going on. But the need to be able to make sense of that data as quickly as possible will pose a challenge. Scoring the leads and other information that you're collecting will no longer be a task for after the show is over. Soon you'll need to be able to do this in real-time, all the time, no exceptions.
This is going to require that trade show professionals invest in powerful analytical solutions to process huge volumes of data as they're being created. Insight from this data does you no good if your prospect has already walked away from your booth. You'll have to process that data as it is being collected. A challenge digital marketers have been hard at work at for the past few years.
But being able to automatically serve up an ad to someone using their data after they've navigated away from your site is one thing. Being able to accomplish the same thing after they've walked away from your booth is something else entirely. This is going essentially change the way we think about trade shows. Because the people you can target are no longer just the ones that you can actually see or the ones that are actually speaking with you.