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October 24, 2016

How can people counting make events run smoothly?

Whether it’s venue, catering, speakers, delegates or topics, many factors have to come together in just the right way to create a truly successful conference or exhibition. Weeks, or even months, of planning go into ensuring every detail of even the smallest event is the best it can be. So, once we have everything in place and the conference is underway, how do we know that what we’re doing is working and how can we tell which areas of a show are the most engaging?

We can ask people for their feedback and send post-event surveys all we like but nothing beats hard data that tells us, in real time, what we need to know.

At Red Hat Summit 2015 in Boston, one of the biggest open source technology events in the world, we saw just how easily this issue of event analysis can be addressed.

Eurotech’s People Counter Sensors were placed at strategic points around the event to anonymously monitor the comings and goings of attendees. These were connected to Multi-Service IoT Edge Gateways which aggregated the data and sent it to the Everyware Cloud IoT Integration Platform. Then, an interactive dashboard facilitated real-time monitoring of people flow.

The project was led by Eurotech’s provision of People Counters, Multi-Service IoT Edge Gateways and the Everyware Cloud IoT Platform while Red Hat produced the Red Hat Mobile Application Platform for desktop and mobile devices, to display the data on real-time dashboards. WebRatio, another partner, were also able to develop an app using completely different technology, that displayed the same data in their own customised layout.

Not only can this data tell us how many people attended a conference overall, but it also shows what time they arrived, when they left, which speakers or topics interested them, whether or not they stuck around to network afterwards, or even if they bothered coming back from the coffee break at all. The results, presented at two major keynotes, impressed organisers and attendees with their comprehensiveness and the amount of useful information that can be gathered from something as seemingly simple as counting heads.

The beauty of the IoT is that not only can it pull data from dozens of disparate, previously disconnected devices, but it can also make that data available right away so you can make on the spot decisions and adjustments. Keynote not filling up as fast as you’d like? You can see if there’s a traffic accident holding people up and evaluate whether to delay the start. Numbers down after the break? Maybe that speaker isn’t someone you want to book again.

As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and the amount of knowledge that can be instantly at our fingertips due to the ease and flexibility of the IoT is truly something to behold.

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