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The internet of things: The future of event tech

Holograms and VR are interesting, says Eventbrite's Elsita Sanya, but IoT is where the real innovation in live entertainment is taking place

17 Oct 2016

Elsita Sanya, Eventbrite

Speaking at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg last month, Eventbrite’s Elsita Sanya outlined the ticketing company’s take on the future of festival tech. Holograms like the one of Dio at Wacken, drones and VR helmets are all interesting and headline-grabbing technologies, she said – yet the future of live experiences could be changed much more profoundly by the advent of the internet of things (IoT).

Her case in point: the magical wristband at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Based on advanced sensor reader technology, this allows visitors to check into the park in seconds, skip queues at rides by pre-booking them and pay cashlessly throughout the park. This technology massively improves the attendee experience, and at the same time is providing the operators with invaluable real-time data on visitors’ movements in the park and their preferences. This helps optimise visitor flow, capacity-planning and marketing.

The technology, Sanya said, is also applicable to festivals, where a wristband/sensor combination would allow for much faster and seamless entry, cashless payments, on-site localisation and navigation (eg. for food delivery or emergency services), real-time crowd heatmaps and the easy implementation and control of separate/VIP areas.

IoT is an example of technology unobtrusively delivering real benefits to both fans and festival promoters

Sanya said IoT at events is an example of technology unobtrusively delivering real benefits to both fans and festival organisers. “Too often we are stuck with technology, when what we really want is just stuff that works,” she said, referencing Douglas Adams.

According to Sanya, Eventbrite is working on bringing this technology to event promoters around the world, concentrating its attention in four areas: access control, attendee presence, payments and identity. All four, she said, increase revenue per ticket, increase revenue streams or save money for organisers, as well as providing greater freedom and capabilities for fans.

The internet of things, integrated into a ticketing/registration system and mobile at-event support apps, Sanya said, will transform the attendee experience. For promoters, “enabling IoT is an important way to make their event better to grow sales, and for attendees these innovations will bring the bespoke experience every organiser strives to create,” she concluded.


Elsita Sanya is Eventbrite’s general manager for Germany. The company has successfully trialled its IoT wireless wristbands at several US events, including Okee, Maker Faire New York and SnowGlobe.