Answering Your Questions About Nothing

Looking Forward to Nothing: How the Next Generation of Tech will Completely Change Events Thanks to everyone who joined us for our latest webinar, “Looking Forward to Nothing: How the Next Generation of Tech will Completely Change Events”, in partnership with etouches. If you registered before the webinar live date, you should have already received the playback link. If you haven’t, you can gain access here. There were a number of questions asked during the webinar – so many that I didn’t have time to answer them all – but I did promise a follow-up blog post to do just that, which you’re reading now. For the sake of brevity, I’m not going to provide a recap of the webinar, so if you didn’t watch it and you’re reading this post, I would urge you to view the replay so that you have context. There were three technologies discussed, of which two received all the questions: Mobile Bluetooth Beacons and Chatbots.


Are there any health concerns related to any of these devices?

No more than wifi or the bluetooth used in your car or your headphones. (Which is to say, none.) Beacons use what’s called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) which emits very little radiation.
“In fact, …the output power of [Bluetooth Low Energy] is so low, the FCC does not require them to be tested for Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), a measure of the rate at which energy is absorbed by the human body when exposed to RF radiation, including microwave radiation).” (Source)

Are there privacy concerns? When using beacons, do you need to let attendees know its being used?

Privacy is always something that should be considered when adopting new technology. However, there are no inherent privacy risks in using these devices. They serve as a unique identifier, just like a bar code on a badge or an NFC RFID chip. Like all unique identifiers, your biggest consideration will be the security of your network and security of your servers. With that said, this is new tech and people will have questions. Most concerns can be mitigated with clear and consistent communication. During the registration process and subsequent communication, spend some time educating your attendees on what these devices are, how they work and what the data will be used for. A little transparency goes a long way.

What hardware is necessary to read the beacons throughout the venue?

Receivers will need to be placed throughout the venue in order to facilitate the use of these beacons. The receivers will be mapped to your specific space so that you can accurately report on traffic patterns and attendance. Receivers will need to be networked so that data can be delivered to the cloud and analyzed. This means wifi or a network cable.

You mentioned that the little token (quarter size) to help keep track of attendees. Where can I get that and what is the average cost?

You can get these from EventHero. Contact me to discuss the specifics of your event.


What about the basics of an agenda overview? Maps?

Just about any information that can be delivered by a dedicated event app can be delivered via a chatbot. If it’s an interactive feature it may not be supported directly by basic SMS/texting, but there’s no reason you couldn’t deliver a URL via this method so that attendees can use this feature in a mobile web browser.

What is the proper etiquette to use an interactive app but have cell phones silenced during sessions?

I’ve always said, you can teach people how to use technology but you can’t expect them to have common sense. The etiquette for these apps are the same as using a cell phone or mobile phone – turn it off or silence it when appropriate.

What are the best app developers for associations?

I don’t know of any chatbot developers with a focus on associations. The technology has just entered the general adoption curve and is too early for specialization. If you have any additional questions, leave them in the comments below or contact me directly via email. As you can hear in The Event Tech Podcast, I love to chat with event planners about new tech! Cheers, -jf. — John Federico CEO & Co-founder EventHero