Are you Ready? It’s time to go big with IOT

Executive Summary

The Internet of Things (IoT) has shaped the future of several industries and has become more and more integrated into our daily lives. It is not about connecting things or services, but it is about changing the way things and services deliver value, which play a vital role in revolutionizing MICE industry. In MICE industry, there are numbers of IoT that have been adopted to optimize the activities such as an attendee management through BLE and heat map, or the IoT smart pen in leverage the experiences and connectivity. However, before investing in IoT, there are three aspects that stakeholders need to concern in implementation of IoT which are business model, IoT selection, and the security compliance. After stakeholders be able to comply, it’s time to revolutionize approach to IoT!

Key Fact and Figures:

  • According to IDC, the worldwide spending on the IoT is forecasted to reach $745bn in 2019, an increase of 15.4% from the $646 billion spent in 2018. 
  • Expected by Gartner analyst, over 26 billion of IoT devices will be used by 2020. 
  • Ericsson forecasted the number of cellular IoT subscriptions will grow to 4.1 billion devices by 2024. 
  • According to IoT Analytics, a leading IoT market research company based in Germany, Smart City projects contribute most to the global share of IoT projects in 2018


IoT, a buzz word that is being heard for many years. It is expected by Gartner analyst that by 2020, over 26 billion of IoT devices will be used. According to IDC, the worldwide spending on the IoT is forecasted to reach $745bn in 2019, an increase of 15.4% from the $646 billion spent in 2018. These surprising numbers leads to the question of ‘Why is IoT important?’. IoT has been connected to the term ‘Smart’, such as smart devices, smart grids, smart home and smart networks, and all these ‘smart’ things are trending now. It is largely due to its abilities to connect devices together through internet, execute automated data-analytic, and perform real-time decision making, which are a huge attribute for users in leading the convenient lifestyles. Even though IoT devices can perform analysis on massive sets of information and data and transform them into actions through destination devices, users could still monitor and control their IoT devices though their mobile applications. Thus, users are able to choose whether to send the orders to their IoT devices manually through their mobile applications or automatically based on the automated data-analytic. To conclude, IoT devices, network connectivity and mobile applications are the key essentials that make IoT works.

The use of IoT has been spreading vastly in various industries. According to IoT Analytics, a leading IoT market research company based in Germany, Smart City projects contribute most to the global share of IoT projects in 2018, followed by the industrial industry, construction industry, automotive industry and smart energy sector. Also, the overall number of IoT projects that were announced publicly in the global scale added up to 1,600 projects in 2018. Furthermore, forecasted by Ericsson that the number of cellular IoT subscriptions will grow to 4.1 billion devices by 2024. 

IoT in optimizing MICE activities management

The use of IoT in MICE industry is not totally new, there has been many successful use cases, but the advancement of technologies in this generation are what pushes the use of IoT to reach its fullest potential. Registration, application, and event management technologies have been adopted in the MICE industry to enhance the outcome of the events. IoT could go beyond providing people with the convenience, it could also generate effective responses to the attendees through data analytic as well.

Case Study 1: IoT and attendee management

The San Diego Convention Center has been utilizing the smart badge and heat map technologies in managing the attendees. Regarding the smart badge, it uses the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to locate the visitors in the convention center, and with those information, real-time information and suggestions could be sent to the visitors via their smartphones. Furthermore, the event organizers could distribute the smart badges to their VIP guests or guest speakers in order to efficiently track the individuals that have roles in the events to ensure that all programs run smoothly. Thus, the smart badge benefits both the organizers and the attendees, and so, the San Diego Convention Center offers the smart badge to event organizers for rental. With regards to the heat map, the San Diego Convention Center chose to lay the sensors on the venue floors, which are used to track the walking patterns of the visitors. The walking patterns and the density of people in each location would then be analyzed to provide the event organizers with the insights for improving the events in real-time. With the heat map technology, venue owners and event organizers could use the insights generated to ensure that the visitors or the attendees enjoyed a pleasant experience at the events.

In adopting geolocation intelligence strategy, IoT could optimize MICE activities to best match the needs of the visitors. Geolocation intelligence is the real-time monitoring of the attendees in which online data will be sent to the cloud where data analytic takes place. Finally, the analysis will be delivered as a form of recommendations to the attendees. Furthermore, the geolocation intelligence also allows event organizers to manage the unexpected numbers of crowds using real-time data analytics and is able to predict the density of each location in each time frame as well. Thus, with the collection of data and insights, the operational plan and the layout design for future events could be improved accordingly too. 

Case Study 2: SMART Pen in Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum 

Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City has make use of ‘SMART Pen’ to offer an interactive and immersive experience for each of their visitors. At the exhibition entrance, every visitor will each receive a SMART Pen and an admission ticket that contains a numerical code generated for each visitor. One of the key benefits of SMART Pen includes visitors being able to interact with the contents on touch screens and create contents to be shared with other visitors too. If visitors want to collect the details of each exhibition goods or works, they could simply press the flat at the end of the pen to any museum label and then all data including the videos, pictures, designed items and everything about their journey will be uploaded to the website. Then, the visitors would only need to fill in their numerical codes as shown on the admission tickets onto the website to retrieve those information. 

Even though this case is not related to the MICE industry, the IoT technologies used in this case is a good example that could be applied to the MICE industry as well.  As for the MICE industry, the event planners can adapt these technologies to improve visitors’ experiences. There is a potential in using SMART Pen in collecting all information at the events or exhibitions, including contact information, the details of goods or services, video contents, photos and every other data they desire too. With this SMART Pen, visitors can maximize the use of information and get the spectacular experiences ever.

3 Checklists in IoT Implementation

In optimizing the IoT technology, the MICE stakeholders must not only know how IoT works, they must pay attentions to the following three aspects as well.

Define business model - Know the business and how IoT will enhance the business

Defining business model will provide a clear channel towards IoT implementation. Thus, defining a clear business model is the top priority before anything else. Since a clear business model enables stakeholders to see the strengths, pain points, and opportunities in developing and improving their own products or services, it will allow them to identify the gaps that IoT could fulfil in their businesses. Therefore, to optimize the use of IoT, the implementation of the IoT technology must fulfill the opportunities gaps or eliminate the pain points of the businesses. Moreover, since the IoT technology require quite a huge investment, the monetary benefits should be rational to the adoption of IoT technology too. 

In defining the business model to find the channel for IoT to enter, there are 3 main issues that stakeholders need to answer; 1) Top priority of IoT usage and its benefits, 2) The technology assets that already exists in the business and 3) Cost efficiency in implementing IoT technology. If the stakeholders can clearly answer these 3 mains issues, they could continue with the planning for the implementation of IoT. 

Select IoT technology and platform - The integrated and scalable performance should be the priority consideration.

In choosing the best IoT technologies for the MICE activities, one must not forget to check the quality and the possible evolution of the selected IoT technologies. The IoT technologies to be chosen should completely support the company’s goals and actions. Therefore, when choosing the IoT technologies that best fit the companies, one must take into consideration the integrated and scalable performance of those technologies as well. Selecting the right IoT technologies is crucial as it could come with the benefits of enhancing either economy of scale or economy of scope. End-to-end integration and the compatibility of the IoT and the connected devices are also needed to be strictly checked too. Thus, if one is able to select the IoT technology or platform that best fit their businesses, the risk of failing in adopting IoT would be lowered as well. 

The sustainability of the IoT technology is important for the long-term strategy and offer cost saving for organizers. Once the complexity and technology are well checked, effectiveness and efficiency will follow and this is the first step for stakeholders in overcoming the difficulties before the real usage. 

Ensure the security and performance compliance - GDPR and the data protection law compliance should be strictly complied.

IoT is a mass data-driven system and a high quantity of data collected are usually personal data. However, with the ongoing MICE activities, IoT systems need to take place in order to provide real time analysis to the event organizers and visitors. Therefore, ensuring the encryption of the attendees’ personal data needed to be strictly obliged. Stakeholders also needs to embrace the privacy concern on the privacy data that IoT have been collected. Laws and regulations of each countries are the important factor that stakeholders should complied as one of the top priorities. A strict check on the data protection laws such as the General data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Privacy law and ICT law is a must. Do it before it is too late, before the cyber attack results in trust broken.

Once the MICE stakeholders are able to comply with the above checklist, the effectiveness and sustainability in the implementation of IoT in MICE activities would be ensured. Be sure to get ready to embrace the opportunities IoT could create and go BIG with IoT!