The advantages of having access to full personal profiles of all attendees at a conference are unquestionable for the exhibitors and for the company organizing the event. The event organizers could build the kind of big data-driven consumer profiles that would make Mark Zuckerberg’s mouth water. They could even follow Facebook’s business model, offering free attendance and selling the information to advertisers—or exhibitors—as a way to make money. These kinds of business models are becoming increasingly popular in the age of social media.
The technology is already catching on outside of events, too. One Swedish men’s apparel brand is selling a near field communication (NFC) RFID shirt, allowing wearers to emit business card information which can be read by the smartphones of passers-by.
For events, the applications of this could be manifold. As well as giving exhibitors access to reams of information about guests, it could also facilitate networking between guests themselves, particularly if the information is readable via a smartphone app. Used in this way, business events could be totally shaken up.
Creating a database of attendee information is only the first step. RFID tags can be an important part of an augmented reality (AR) setup. Many brands are slowly embracing AR in the retail sector. AR fitting rooms allow shoppers to hold clothes up in front of interactive mirrors, which then display live 3D images of what the customer would look like if they were wearing the outfits.
This could be implemented in events, too. Using either mobile phones, interactive mirrors, or Google Glass-style goggles, guests or hosts could see information such as the names and employers of other guests to help with the networking aspect of conferences. But it’s not just about networking. RFID-enabled t-shirts and wristbands could turn events into AR adventures, almost literally adding another dimension to the proceedings.
Thanks to tiny chips embedded into garments, events may become more interactive and more valuable than they ever have been before.