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

Record breaking 2016 for Event Marketing Solutions

Global roadshow specialist Event Marketing Solutions (EMS) has announced a record-breaking financial year, with profits reaching £1.04m for the year ending December 2016.

VisitBritain launches new Business Events @ExploreGB event

VisitBritain has announced the launch of a one-day event, to promote Britain as a business events destination to international buyers.

Farnborough's new exhibition venue takes shape

Building work on the new Hall 1 at Farnborough International’s new Exhibition and Conference Centre is progressing as main contractor, Wates Construction, begins with the venue’s 1,300-tonne steel frame.

Others on EN

Good practice with data

Good practice with data

Simon Clayton, chief ideas officer at RefTech, on being open, transparent, and accurate about what you are doing with the data you handle.
Beware of the punter

Beware of the punter

Trevor Punt, managing director of TBG Group, on the rise of the stereotypical punter and the need for nerves of steel.
Peer to peer

Peer to peer

Will Broadfoot, director of Footfall Events & Marketing on unlocking exhibitor potential and improving participation.

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

Revenue rise for Ascential since IPO

Revenue rise for Ascential since IPO

Events and publishing group Ascential plc has had a ’a good year with strong organic growth’, driven by the launch of new products.
Record breaking 2016 for Event Marketing Solutions

Record breaking 2016 for Event Marketing Solutions

Global roadshow specialist Event Marketing Solutions (EMS) has announced a record-breaking financial year, with profits reaching £1.04m for the year ending December 2016.
VisitBritain launches new Business Events @ExploreGB event

VisitBritain launches new Business Events @ExploreGB event

VisitBritain has announced the launch of a one-day event, to promote Britain as a business events destination to international buyers.

Latest Features

Come to Confex and be inspired

Come to Confex and be inspired

The exhibition and events industry is all about the power of face-to-face, the art of exhibiting and networking with old friends and new, which is why EN would like to personally invite you to attend International Confex to learn more.
When is the right time?

When is the right time?

It’s all very well having a successful show, but how do UK exhibition organisers replicate their success across the country and overseas? Three event profs share their experiences
Stand and deliver

Stand and deliver

When it comes to exhibition stands, the only limits are the exhibitor’s imagination (and floor space and budget), three stand building firms tell EN.

Latest Galleries

100% Optical 2017

100% Optical 2017

More than 8,000 visitors arrived at ExCeL London on 4-6 February for the fourth edition of 100% Optical. The show featured more than 175,000 frames, catwalk performances and a comprehensive education programme.
Cumbria Flood Expo 2017

Cumbria Flood Expo 2017

The inaugural Cumbria Flood Expo, organised by flood emergency response charity CERT UK, took place on 2-3 February at Carlisle Racecourse.
Mexia Communications at 10

Mexia Communications at 10

PR and content marketing agency Mexia Communications celebrated its 10th anniversary with a Mexican Fiesta at the Royal College of Physicians on 26 January.