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‘It doesn’t distinguish between interest in a venue or a freebie piece of chocolate’

Simon Clayton, Chief Ideas Officer, RefTech, comments on Radio Frequency ID
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology has revolutionised many industries; it is used on all manner of things from tracking weapons and soldiers, to tracking the sterilisation history of medical equipment, or to tell a train exactly where to stop to allow the doors to open.


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The Amazon event app was near perfect . . .

. . . but had one fatal flaw, reports Simon Clayton, Chief Ideas Officer, RefTech
I recently attended a huge event run by Amazon at ExCeL for over 10,000 techies. It was a really useful and informative day, but one of the most interesting things for me was the event app. Amazon is a giant, a technologically advanced behemoth with huge teams of people at its disposal and the budget and means to create any type of event app they desire.


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Automation, yes, but not in the MICE sector . . .

. . . says Simon Clayton, Chief Ideas Officer, RefTech
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), around 1.5m people in England are at high risk of losing their jobs to automation. The ONS analysed the jobs of 20m people in 2017 and found 7.4% of these were at high risk of being replaced.


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One massively damaging data breach after another ….

…..but nothing ever happens… says Simon Clayton, Chief Ideas Officer, RefTech
2018 saw a number of large companies suffer from huge data breaches, but it’s so commonplace these days that every announcement seems to follow a standard process: we read about it in the press, mutter to ourselves ‘oh that’s bad’ and then we move on to read the next news story.


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Technology can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear

Simon Clayton, Chief Ideas Officer, RefTech, illustrates his point
More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day but only a fraction of these attract the millions of users that are needed for something to be classed as ‘going viral’.


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Dangers of public Wi-Fi

Are you aware of ‘Man-in-the-Middle’ attacks ?
Walk past any café or coffee shop and you will see them – the freelancers and homeworkers who are using these local facilities as their office. The UK’s so-called ‘gig economy’ has encouraged us all to work in a more flexible way and some reports are saying that we will all be embracing the coffee shop working culture in ten years’ time. Our industry is full of freelancers – the very up-and-down nature of events lends itself to people who can work for one employer when needed and move on to another project when not.


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Leading-edge can be double-edged

Pioneer techies often get hurt, says Simon Clayton of RefTech
When it comes to tech, event organisers are often faced with a dilemma: they want to use the very latest technology, but they need it to be completely reliable and dependable. These two factors never go together.


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The new kid on the block

Is Blockchain a solution in search of a problem?
As a concept, Blockchain is actually quite interesting and is known as ‘distributed ledger’ technology. Pretty much everything we do online creates data and Blockchain is a new way of storing and moving that data. Data has to be held somewhere and usually gets stored in clumps in one place – whether that is on a company’s server, your own PC or in the cloud. With Blockchain the data is split into tiny pieces and spread out over thousands of places via a network and then held together with clever cryptography.


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GDPR will make data misuse very obvious

Simon Clayton stresses that data about other people belongs to them not to you
It’s occurred to me that GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) isn’t wildly different from the Data Protection Act that it replaces – except in one major and hugely ground-breaking way.
The overarching goal of GDPR (enforceable in Europe from May 25 2018) is one of transparency and fairness. Its main mission is to encourage companies to be transparent in the way they are storing and using people’s personal data and that they are fair in the decisions they take regarding that data.


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Confusion over new EU data protection law

Simon Clayton says fines are unlikely and offers a free Reftech guide
GDPR: by now, you will know that it is General Data Protection Regulation and when it will be enforceable May 25), but do you actually know exactly what you have to do? You are not alone - there are thousands of companies and millions of people who still don’t know exactly what they need to do either, and there’s good reason for that.


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Barcodes outperform facial recognition

Simon Clayton tells how even Apple’s demo failed
The Apple iPhone X launch has brought facial recognition into the news and so, of course, we need to look at its impact on the events industry. ‘Facial recognition is going to take the events world by storm and the humble barcode will soon be relegated to the past’. At least, that’s what the people selling it are claiming.


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Augmented Reality brings no benefits

AR doesn’t pass the ‘cost v. usefulness’ test, says Simon Clayton
Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR) are the latest shiny tech innovations to hit the events press, so, as usual, I thought I should dispel the myths and fallacies.
I've grouped AR and VR together because they will soon be referred to as one entity; Augmented Reality (the layering of information or images over the real world) and Virtual Reality (completely fabricated worlds) will merge to be one technique.


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Technology should simplify things

But Simon Clayton finds it often makes things more difficultWe like tech, we like gadgets and we have come to expect that as technology marches on, our everyday items will include more tech features, have more functionality and be able to do even more whizzy things for us that will make our lives easier.

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Delegate Data breaches can cripple a company

Simon Clayton says they prove how valuable the data can be
How often do you hear people say: “If it seems too good to be true, then it most probably is…”?
This saying came to mind when we found out that some companies are purporting to sell delegate information from specific events. Emails from a third party company are issued to exhibitors and non-exhibitors alike and claim that they are selling delegate or visitor data from XYZ event.


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Is some high-tech solving problems that are not there?

Or will its use soon become very valuable?
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas prompted a whole range of reactions from the press – ranging from the ‘wow’ to the fairly sarcastic. One article highlighted the array of technology created ‘to solve a problem that just isn’t there’.


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May 25th is a key date in data handling

Simon Clayton explains its importance to event organisers

The EU’s new data protection regime - the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) - will come into force in May 2018, when it will make EU data protection rules a lot stricter.
While the future of data protection law after the UK fully leaves the EU is as yet unknown, the fact remains that the exit is still many years away. In the meantime, the UK’s Information Commissioner has confirmed that the UK will go ahead with implementing GDPR into our own national regulations regardless of the Brexit vote.


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Hacking a fridge…

Simon Clayton warns it might not be so funny

The internet of things (IoT) has suffered some bad press of late due to the current lack of any security standards. Robert Graham, CEO of Errata Security, recently documented his experience setting up a $55 JideTech security camera at home. According to Graham's series of Twitter posts, his camera was taken over by the Mirai botnet and compromised in just 98 seconds.

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No, you don’t have Big Data!

And don't look for meaning in meaningless data, advises Simon Clayton

Big Data: it's a great term, but it's being bandied about our industry like sweets at a kids' party. It's everywhere at the moment. I've been to several conferences and I read the industry press and you can't move for references to it.
But I can state categorically that no-one in the events industry has Big Data. There, I've said it. Every one of the people discussing the use of Big Data within our industry is peddling a misconception. Big Data does not exist in the events industry.


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Has AI now reared its head in the events industry?

Simon Clayton is not convinced

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the stuff of sci-fi for decades and is now finally making some interesting leaps into the consumer world. Seth Shostak, Director of the Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI), says: ‘Within 20 years, you will have one computer that's smarter than all humans put together.’

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How long are you allowed to keep events data?

Simon Clayton highlights the dangers

Event organisers collect a lot of data, but how long can that data be kept, what can be kept and how do you determine what’s safe to retain?
Two of the core principles of European data protection law, under both the old and new regimes, are that the data you collect must be relevant to the ways you are using it and that it must not be retained for longer than is necessary. Event organisers should consider these two standards together.


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