The Rising Threat of Cyber Attacks in Events and 4 Other Technology Stories Planners Should Read

In this month’s round-up of top event tech news, we look at the rising threat of cyber attacks in the events industry and what kind of precautions organisations need to take.  We also bring an overview of this year’s Event Tech Live show in London, which aside from showcasing the latest tech innovations, highlighted just how important the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is going to be for meetings and events, globally next year. Finally, we look at some interesting updates from social media giants, Snapchat and Facebook, as well as the launch of the first NFC-enabled event app.

Have a look at what you may have missed:

Skift: The Meetings Industry Is Not Worried Enough About Cybersecurity

It seems cyber security is not a priority for most meeting planners, but experts warn that it’s just a mater of time before the industry is hit with a major breach, according to this article from Skift.  Just about every week, we hear about another fairly big cyber-security incident that gets talked about in public (think Equifax and Uber) – and there are many more that don’t. According to the article, there is no hard data yet on how widespread hacking is in meetings and events because planners and venue managers are hesitant to discuss it publicly, but that doesn’t mean breaches aren’t happening. One expert from a cyber security training company cites how he gets at least one call a month from event planners who have either had a meeting breached or attendee data compromised.

The article highlights how hackers could steal and use stolen data from events and the kind of things that motivate them, including identity theft, corporate espionage, social activism and practice hacks.  One of the easiest way to get data, for example, is through Wi-Fi at hotels and venues, where they either hack the system itself or set up a hotspot with an official sounding name. The article also makes recommendations on how to make events less vulnerable, including the installation of anti-virus and malware software on staff devices and the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and password managers.

Read: Infographic – How to Keep Your Event Data Safe

Event Tech Talk: 4 Tech Trends from Experts at Europe’s Main Event Tech Show

The annual Event Tech Live show took place in London this month, and once again, it didn’t disappoint.   As Europe’s only dedicated exhibition and conference for event professionals interested in event technology, the show brought together a number of experts debating some of the latest technology trends and issues shaping our industry today.  One topic that kept coming up again and again was the upcoming EU GDPR, which is set to radically change the way events collect and use the personal information of people coming to their events.  And yet an audience poll at the show revealed that MOST event planners had actually very little understanding about the new regulation – which is quite alarming, given the implications.

Read: The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance

Another interesting topic discussed at the show was the future of event apps and whether or not events will start moving towards other alternatives like chatbots in the next year. There were also some interesting questions around personalisation and how event planners decide how much personalisation they should actually do. This was the basis of one panel discussion between Eventsforce, Haymarket Media and the British Council which unveiled the results of a new research study on event personalisation.  Aside from the conference, the event was also a good opportunity to see some of the latest innovations on offer, including an event check-in solution that uses facial recognition technology and a system which scraps the need for spreadsheets when recruiting, scheduling and paying temporary staff around events.  Read more.

TSNN: Noodle Live Launch First-Ever NFC-Enabled Event App

Noodle Live announced this month the availability of the first-ever NFC-enabled app for live events. Instead of using hardware to scan badges, event organisers will be able to design and encode ‘smart’ posters which can be displayed throughout an event. All attendees have to do is download the app, tap their phone on a poster that contains one of these small NFC chips so that they can access event swag, collect contacts and check-in to sessions.

By replacing the need for placing screens around an event venue and scanning badges using QR codes or RFID, the new technology could change the way event touch points work as well as really cut down the cost of implementing contactless technology. More importantly, it means that every aspect of an attendee’s experience is brought back to their own device which makes things easier for them and promotes further engagement.  Read more.

Ad Week: Events Can Now Add Website Links to Snapchat Lenses and Filters

Snapchat is adding a feature to its ads that will allow brands and events to direct followers to websites after playing with a sponsored lens or filter – which is good news for those of you who target Snapchat users and want to use the platform to drive ticket sales for your events. The company also recently rolled out its long-awaited pixel, which allows you to analyse whether or not the ads you place on the platform are driving any traffic to your websites.

These features are all part of Snap’s newly launched ad offering, also dubbed Context Cards, which allow users to view more information about a Snap tagged with a location.  Swiping on a Snap geo-tagged with a location pulls up information like tips, directions, reviews and booking rides through Snapchat’s partnerships like TripAdvisor and Uber.  Read more.

Event MB: Facebook Announces Oculus Venues

According to Event MB, the VR revolution is finally happening – whether we like it or not. Last month, Facebook unveiled Oculus Venues – a new app that allows users to enjoy events, concerts and movies with other people via VR technology. Launching in 2018, the Oculus Venues app works with Facebook’s Oculus Rift and the new affordable Oculus Go mobile VR headset – all part of the social media giant’s plan to get 1 billion people into VR. Click here for the full article which highlights some of the implications VR will bring to the events industry and whether or not it will replace face-to-face experiences.  It also has a video demonstrating how the new Facebook app works.

While on the subject of Facebook, it’s worth noting that group video chat is now available to all Workplace by Facebook users on desktop and mobile – a really great tool for communicating and collaborating with team members and stakeholders around events. Up to 50 people can be included in the group video chats – all you need to do is create a chat group and click the video button to start a video chat with your whole team. Find out more here.

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