Don't knock it

Supplier and ContractorsReftech
Iphone-stock-new-resized.jpg

New technologies always seem outlandish, until they don’t, says Simon Clayton, chief ideas officer at RefTech.

 

The recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas has just prompted a whole range of reactions from the press – ranging from the ‘wow’ to the fairly sarcastic. One article highlighted the array of technology created, ‘to solve a problem that just isn’t there’. It criticised the tech industry’s current obsession with sensors to record pretty much everything we do from sleep patterns to the fitness of our pets (I kid you not).

 

People who read my columns may think that I would echo this sentiment, but I don’t. Sometimes what’s not relevant for one person is actually very useful to another. For example, one journalist was rather scathing about a device designed to monitor sleep patterns – ‘How do I manage to go to sleep at night without knowing my bed is monitoring my heart rate?’ – but that device could prove very useful to someone with life threatening sleep apnoea.

 

There’s also a lot to be said for pushing the boundaries and experimenting even if the return on investment isn’t immediate. As the president of 3M once said, you can’t stumble unless you are moving.

 

The barcode was invented 20 years before the technology to read it. The Apple iPhone was only possible due to the advancement of individual components coming together at the same time. But it has to be fit for purpose.

 

A beauty manufacture has recently come under fire for creating a hairbrush that reads your hair, telling you how dry it is, how tangled etc. It sounds plausible until the $200 price tag is revealed, and then it could sound ridiculous, unless of course it’s bought by a salon that can use the brush to analyse clients’ hair and then recommend further treatments. This way it becomes a tool to sell more treatments or products - which totally changes the value proposition.

 

There’s some great technology being used right now to track Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals in all sorts of public places – from shopping centres to airports and even the London Underground.

 

Dublin airport is a prime example where they are tracking passengers’ mobile device’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals to measure the length of time it takes to go through security.

 

The issue of privacy has been raised though. Dublin airport claim they are only listening to the addresses of the devices which wouldn’t reveal any personal information. This data is also in the public domain and you can easily stop this data collection by turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on your devices.

 

The problem is that our phones can also leak all sorts of private information if companies listening to these signals are less scrupulous. There is a huge lack of awareness around this issue – most people simply don’t realise that their phones are leaking data this way. Once they have tackled the privacy concerns, this could be a great use of technology, but only because it’s a regular day-to-day issue. They can constantly review variances from their baseline data and judge how things are trending over a long period of time.

 

So often technology like this sounds amazing, but just isn’t applicable for events. When you are holding one or two relatively short events per year there isn’t time to get baseline data to make variances meaningful. Even if you had enough data, what are you going to do with it? Visitors take different paths around the show but the hotspots within a show are always going to be where the most interesting stands are (or where there is free food and drink!).

 

While interesting, I can’t see this type of technology being used in events yet. Despite the hype, ibeacons haven’t made any tangible impact on events, but I’m keeping a careful eye on all of this stuff. I’m a gadget freak and I love technology, but I am totally against tech being used with no proven justification or ROI.

Simon Clayton
Posted by Simon Clayton
PopularComments
Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn

Related Stories

Joe Manby reappointed by Ocean Media

Joe Manby Limited is celebrating its reappointment by Ocean Media Group to provide event services for the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) annual exhibition and conference in 2017 and 2018.

Excursions appoints LiveBuzz

Group travel exhibition Excursions has announced the appointment of LiveBuzz to provide a new website, registration and exhibitor hub.

Entry is open for EN30/30 2017!

Nominations for this year’s EN Thirty Under 30 are now open, as EN looks to recognise the most talented individuals involved in the exhibition industry aged under 30.

Others on EN

Show or tell?

Show or tell?

Roopi Woodall, marketing manager at the QEII Centre, asks if the art of conversation on social media is dead – and how to engage with audiences if that’s the case.
You get what you ask for

You get what you ask for

Sue Berry, managing director at TimelessTime Ltd, discusses the importance of people metrics and measurable objectives.
The Anti Cyber Attack Checklist

The Anti Cyber Attack Checklist

Following the global cyber attack on 12 May, event tech supplier RefTech has compiled a checklist for individuals and companies to follow to help them reduce the risk of future attacks.

EN Awards Highlights

silverstream.tv

Most Read Stories

Fit for the 21st century

Fit for the 21st century

Andrew Harrison, ESSA director, says we should always fight to bring talent into the industry and encourage an appetite for success.
I'm a believer

I'm a believer

Sam Cande, group commercial director at Centaur Media, says no secret sales technique can compete with belief in a product.
Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry, director of Easyfairs UK addresses the science behind operations and the profile of our audiences.

Latest News

Joe Manby reappointed by Ocean Media

Joe Manby reappointed by Ocean Media

Joe Manby Limited is celebrating its reappointment by Ocean Media Group to provide event services for the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) annual exhibition and conference in 2017 and 2018.
Excursions appoints LiveBuzz

Excursions appoints LiveBuzz

Group travel exhibition Excursions has announced the appointment of LiveBuzz to provide a new website, registration and exhibitor hub.
Private Healthcare Show launched in joint venture

Private Healthcare Show launched in joint venture

Two major events targeting the private healthcare market have been launched in the UK and Middle East in a joint venture between Turret Media and Pri-Med Global.

Latest Features

Quick interview: EN talks to Black Hat

Quick interview: EN talks to Black Hat

EN sits down with Steve Wylie, general manager of UBM’s Black Hat events, to chat about the Black Hat Academic Scholarship Programme.
Students: Pests or guests?

Students: Pests or guests?

It’s a question all organisers have to address – what should my show’s relationship with students look like?
Flying the nest

Flying the nest

Ever thought about going freelance? Do you have what it takes to go solo? Three event professionals tell EN their stories of building their own businesses.

Latest Galleries

drp's Interactive Expo

drp's Interactive Expo

drp worked with The British Army in Education to produce an interactive exhibition stand at the national Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair on 15-18 March 2017 at the NEC.
Grand Designs Live 2017

Grand Designs Live 2017

The 13th edition of Media 10’s Grand Designs Live returned to ExCeL London from 29 April to 7 May, featuring more than 500 exhibitors across six key sections. Grand Designs star Kevin McCloud one again hosted the nine-day exhibition.
Insomnia60

Insomnia60

Over 50,000 video game fans from across the country descended on Birmingham’s NEC on 14-17 April for Insomnia60, the UK’s largest gaming festival.