On Nov. 10, technology expert Corbin Ball presented a Smart Meetings webinar where he discussed the explosive growth of the Internet of things. He talked about how technology is changing the meetings and event industry, and provided tips on recent trends and applications. His articles have appeared in hundreds of national and international publications, he has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA Today, and he has been named one of “The 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry” four times by industry publications. The webinar was sponsored by Aria.

To hear an archived transcript of the presentation, click here.

Since Ball did not have the opportunity to answer all the questions posed from the audience during the webinar, he is happy to provide those answers below.

corbin-ball-circle-shot Corbin Ball
General Manager
Corbin Ball Associates


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 I’ve been hearing that mobile apps for educational meetings are causing more problems than they are helpful. What’s the best way to determine if a mobile app is going to be successful at your event? 

I think there can be a case to use an app for nearly any event. They reduce paper, increase engagement and can provide new ways of connecting never before possible. The challenge can be to find the best fit, as the quality, features and ease of use vary considerably. Nearly everyone is carrying around a smartphone. One way to narrow it down is to ask your peers what apps they like.

Besides mobile apps for participants, what other technology or apps can you recommend for planners?

The list is nearly endless. See www.corbinball.com/bookmarks for a start.

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Is the iBeacon technology you talked about tied into the mobile app?

In most cases it is. There are, however, standalone wearable beacons such as www.loopd.com and www.limefy.com

Any suggestions on getting a slow-to-change-with-the-times company to adopt mobile apps?

A cost/benefit analysis can oftentimes do the trick. Stress the reduced printing costs and increased engagement. Also, look at smartphone adoption statistics (90% of business travelers are carrying around smartphones. Also, by the end of this decade, millennials will be the largest segment of the work force. They are mobile natives.)

Any tips on how to get attendees more engaged with using your mobile app at events?

A key step is to advertise before and during the event. Let them know the benefits. Also, depending on the event, gamification/mobile contests/social media amplification can increase usage.

Is there pricing on the wearable beacons?

Yes. This ranges from about $10/person-$40/person (with the pricing coming down)

What technology is needed to use a heatmap for an event? Is it only beacon technology, or is there other software that need to be involved?

There are several methods, but beacons tied to mobile event apps seem to be the most promising. This is still in its infancy, but one of the most developed products is: http://www.sherpa-solutions.com/

With so much data available, do you see any developments on protecting people’s data/mobile security with mobile devices?

Yes. It will be a constant battle between the good and bad forces. Hackers will continue to get more sophisticated, but so will the protection programs.  We are increasingly carrying around large amounts of personal data. I see that biometrics will be used in the future to help protect.