Like all big data, availability is not the problem; it’s consolidating, qualifying and understanding it that can lead to opportunity and innovation. The event industry is in the early stages of understanding data gathered from mobile apps, beacons and other technologies, and according to founder and CEO of Presdo Inc. Eric Ly, “There’s a lot of data being collected, but no one is making valuable use of the data.”

Major challenges event producers have to manage is merging multiple data platforms that include registration, membership and marketing automation along with other systems. But because different databases are used to interact at events, it is difficult to track a single individual throughout an event accurately.

Qualifying data is another obstacle that makes it hard to leverage data because there are instances when attendees give false information just to get the registration process complete. Good data is a lacking component that can be optimized by using less registration forms and integrating universally accessed data from online networks such as Linkedin that can provide single click attendee registration processes in the future.

Ly believes that in order to use data collected from events in a mass scale, structural changes need to be identified by event organizers and strategic plans should be put in place to address issues with legacy systems and processes that are essentially holding the industry back. Open-data standards can also set up a common language across the industry and make it easier to share and integrate data.

Ultimately, investment in new technologies will be required for experimentation because “data that this industry has is not that different that the data that exists outside of the industry. There’s a huge opportunity to learn from other industries about the value of data that we haven’t even begun to understand” says Ly.