Hacking the fridge

Supplier and ContractorsThe Internet of ThingsReftech
Keyboard-stock-new-resized.jpg

Simon Clayton, chief ideas officer at RefTech, asks if the Internet of Things has practical applications for the exhibition industry

 

The internet of things (IoT) has suffered some bad press of late due to the current lack of any security standards. Robert Graham, CEO of Errata Security, recently documented his experience setting up a $55 JideTech security camera at home. According to Graham’s series of Twitter posts, his camera was taken over by the Mirai botnet and compromised in just 98 seconds.

 

Whilst it is interesting to see how quickly a completely unprotected device can be compromised, this tells us two things. Firstly, that some hardware manufacturers don’t really understand security. Secondly, firewalls are good, but in the real world I doubt most users could connect any device outside of their firewall – mainly because practically no home routers would offer that facility without an in depth knowledge of networking.

 

That said, I think the biggest problem with a lot of these news stories is that they can easily fall into the category of ‘don’t understand – never mind’ and the reader moves on.

 

Hacking someone’s internet connected security camera, or indeed their fridge, may seem a mildly amusing thing to do. But if the fridge is connected to the internet so that it can cleverly buy you milk when you run out, then it might have your credit card details stored somewhere.

 

But there’s no need to be overly concerned. Aside from lots of articles saying ‘IoT will be the next big thing in the exhibition industry’, has anyone actually seen any specific ideas for devices that might be useful? I can’t recall actually seeing a single example of an IoT device designed specifically for the exhibition industry, but if I’ve missed something revolutionary I’d be happy for someone to show me.

 

A while ago, we introduced barcode scanners with real-time data verification. They aren’t actually IoT, because they weren’t connected to the internet, but a similar device could be. Our scanners enable exhibition organisers to immediately see how many visitors are in attendance or in certain seminar rooms so that they can better manage their events and the flow of people.

 

But we found that most organisers don’t actually want a continuous stream of data. We can, of course, report on attendance figures any time an organiser wants, but we find they usually only want an update a few times a day. There are instances where real-time verification can be very useful, like if visitors have to pre-book attendance for seminars, but we don’t get asked for that very often.

 

Our industry runs events, and events involve getting people together so exhibition organisers are out there too. They’re on the floor witnessing first hand how the exhibition is going, seeing how busy it is, talking to their customers and solving problems that arise. In our experience, they don’t generally sit in the organiser’s office monitoring figures on a screen.

 

It is true that data can be an effective way to back up our experiences – to give substance to our observations and gut feelings. But many people still do have a quiet, underlying mistrust of technology. They may look at the data, but there’s no substitute for heading to the hall to see how things are first hand.

 

As with any new technology, before it is introduced an organiser must ask themselves “what’s the benefit? What’s in it for me”. Any new technology must offer tangible benefits that will impact on a company or its events – otherwise, there’s no point. The IoT may have an impact on our events in the future, but it’s not going to happen for a while – which is, I think a good thing because I don’t think our industry has a need for it yet and when we find a reason, we need to be really careful it doesn’t compromise data security!

 

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

Related Stories

Fast Forward 15 encourages future female talent to apply

Industry initiative Fast Forward 15 is looking for its third intake of mentees.

ESSA partners with Department for International Trade

The Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) has announced it has entered into a partnership with the Department for International Trade (DIT) aimed at giving members resources for overseas trading.

Hawthorn celebrates record year

Technical event production company Hawthorn has recorded a 25 per cent increase in turnover up to £18m in the last financial year.

Others on EN

10 years in the making

10 years in the making

As the association has gone from strength to strength over the last 10 years, Andrew Harrison, ESSA director talks achievements, expertise and knowledge.
The Dealmaker in January

The Dealmaker in January

Steve Monnington of Mayfield Media Strategies runs the rule over the latest global exhibition deals.
‘We are the torchbearers’

‘We are the torchbearers’

Julian Agostini, Mash Media MD, on the importance of sticking to your guns and not making excuses.

WATCH THE EN AWARDS 2016 HIGHLIGHTS


silverstream.tv

Most Read Stories

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.
Steve Monnington: The Dealmaker in March

Steve Monnington: The Dealmaker in March

Steve Monnington of Mayfield Media Strategies, runs the rule over the latest global exhibition deals.
Helen Lowe: Marketing déjà vu

Helen Lowe: Marketing déjà vu

Helen Lowe, events and marketing manager at Europa International, talks about the importance of keeping up with the creativity amidst the chaos.

Latest News

Fast Forward 15 encourages future female talent to apply

Fast Forward 15 encourages future female talent to apply

Industry initiative Fast Forward 15 is looking for its third intake of mentees.
ESSA partners with Department for International Trade

ESSA partners with Department for International Trade

The Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) has announced it has entered into a partnership with the Department for International Trade (DIT) aimed at giving members resources for overseas trading.
Hiring companies announced for The Eventice

Hiring companies announced for The Eventice

Apprentice-style competition The Eventice has announced that Bluehat Group, Artexis Easyfairs and Identity Group will be offering event industry roles to the winners.

Latest Features

The art of brewing

The art of brewing

If you’re having a dry January, look away. Thirsty ale lovers read on for a taste of the upcoming Manchester Beer and Cider Festival.
Last Word with Ed Tranter

Last Word with Ed Tranter

The managing director of MA Exhibitions on his ocean blue Gibson Les Paul, wanting a licence to kill and being pen pals with the Queen.
My Working Life by Thomas Standley

My Working Life by Thomas Standley

The managing director, Technology, CloserStill Media on being an Essex boy with a Suffolk twist, his love of cooking and having a potty mouth.

Latest Galleries

London Boat Show 2017

London Boat Show 2017

Award-winning British actress Joanna Lumley OBE was on hand when the London Boat Show officially opened to crowds at ExCeL London.
NHM’s last dance with Dippy

NHM’s last dance with Dippy

The Natural History Museum hosted a New Year celebration for 600 revellers to make history and be part of the final event with the iconic Dippy the Diplodocus in the Hintze Hall.
Christmas lunch at ExCeL

Christmas lunch at ExCeL

Mash Media, ExCeL London and Brand Events came together with other industry bodies to host a festive lunch across East End London for Newham communities.