Big Data, Big Opportunities


IBS and Eventmetric Partner to Create a Solution for Accessing and Sharing Big Data in Real-Time

On average, more than 1,500,000 people attend college football bowl games across the United States each year. That’s roughly the population of the State of Idaho.

For companies trying to reach these fans, this number represents a significant opportunity. It also presents them with significant challenges:

  • how to target specific demographics
  • how to accurately measure data
  • how to use that data in a meaningful way

The entertainment industry is just one example.  Automotive, financial and health care organizations targeting large and diverse populations face similar challenges, and their ability to gather, analyze and leverage data quickly and correctly is crucial to a successful business.

IT staffing and solutions company Interactive Business Systems (IBS) and Eventmetric, a location analytics company and subsidiary of experiential marketing company EventLink, partnered to address these challenges. Together, they developed a solution for managing location based big data that can be used by any industry with a digital marketing focus.


The vision 

EventLink works to manage all stages of clients’ events – from creative design to setup and teardown to asset management. Eventmetric, in turn, measures traffic at these events by collecting unique, non-personal identification data via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on phones and tablets. What exactly is that non-personal identification data? Individual device MAC addresses. At the end of the event, clients receive a report so they can see how the event performed.

Neal Welbourne, Chief Technology Officer for EventLink and Eventmetric, and his team recognized their clients’ increasing desire for using large amounts of data to quickly and easily reveal behavioral patterns and trends that would help with better business decisions.

Their vision: capture a live data feed, process it in real time and send it to clients during an actual event.

Welbourne shared Eventmetric’s vision with several location analytics companies who were unable to develop a solution. “There are people in the geospatial world, expert geospatial developers, mathematicians and data scientists, who couldn’t quite grasp what we wanted to do,” he said.

But IBS could.

IBS stepped up to the challenge, and the result was a successful partnership built on trust and innovative thought.



IBS listened and did what so many others could not. They understood what I was talking about and were able to perform the functions I had in my head

-- Neal Welbourne, CTO, EventMetric



Now that I know what you do, let's see how I can improve it

-- Mike Berryman, Developer, IBS Solutions





How it came together 

Eventmetric has been collecting and extracting data for clients’ use for several years, but their process was largely manual. When IBS joined forces with them, the team was able to create a more streamlined and optimized approach. Eventmetric was using six different programs to track data. With the help of IBS, they now use only one. This change not only facilitated the work, but streamlined processes to save time and money.




There are people in the geospatial world, expert geospatial developers, mathematicians and data scientists, who couldn’t quite grasp what we wanted to do.

-- Neal Welbourne



“Data extraction used to take 13-14 minutes. Now it happens in real-time,” said Welbourne. “Now, we’re able to take on more work and more clients.”

What did it take to get there? A lot of communication, trust and passion.The project started with several kick-off meetings to discuss goals and ideas, establishing a united front for solving the big data problem. 

“During the first two weeks, we talked through how Eventmetric was using their current tools,” said Mike Berryman, developer for IBS. “We took loose requirements and big ideas and translated them into a workable solution. I told them, ‘Now that I know what you do, let’s see how I can improve it.’”

Eventmetric had a big idea, but they needed someone with the technical and analytical skills to bridge the gap between idea and reality. According to Welbourne, IBS was the only company capable of bridging that gap.

“IBS listened and did what so many others could not. They understood what I was talking about and were able to perform the functions I had in my head,” said Welbourne. “Above all, they proved that trust was there. That’s huge in the technology industry.”


Berryman’s first task was to take Eventmetric’s process from manual to real-time. He accomplished this by writing a middleware program that tracks people over time, in specific zones, during an event. “If companies want to see how many people were in a certain location between 2 and 4 pm, now they can,” said Berryman. 

IBS uses a satellite view of each location and sections off areas based on coordinates, rather than longitude and latitude points, which were necessary before. Now, a customer can point to a spot on a map and ask for details. This knowledge translates to marketing data, and the opportunities are endless. Health fairs, sporting events, industry trade shows: each of these presents an opportunity to gather large amounts of specific data quickly to hone a marketing and sales approach.

“There could be 100,000 people at an event and each probably has at least one device on them,” said Rick Hermann, another IBS developer on the project. “Tracking this data every two seconds can quickly inflate to millions and millions of GPS data points for companies to use. They can determine the best locations to place their displays or make small changes during events based on popularity.”

Taking it one step further, Hermann worked with Eventmetric to create a website with a dashboard for viewing and analyzing aggregate data. The online tool provides a clean view of data broken down by day or month, and by location. 

“Together, we closed the loop between the physical, digital and mobile marketing experience,” said Wellbourne. “We tied digital marketing and mobile data to a website and physical location, and built a customer trend history.”

Through it all, the partners continued to build upon their strong foundation. “IBS was proactive and provided suggestions,” said Hermann. “We blended ideas with good business suggestions.”

Welbourne agrees. “Partnerships are meant to grow, and I keep going back to trust. IBS has become an arm of our company, which is what everyone wants when they hire someone,” he added.





Partnerships are meant to grow, and I keep going back to trust. IBS has become an arm of our company, which is what everyone wants when they hire someone.

-- Neal Welbourne



Now, and into the future

An Account Manager for IBS, made the initial connection with EventLink for a SharePoint project years ago. She recognizes the potential for this relationship to continue.

“From having been in events marketing previously, I know companies are always interested in getting marketing data faster than the competition,” she said. “IBS and Eventmetric have created an opportunity to offer just that.”

Hermann says one of the next steps is to build advanced, customized reports with the use of Adobe analytics tools. Welbourne added that the teams will continue to partner in many ways as their businesses expand.

“We live in a technological world, where everyone needs connection and data,” said Welbourne. “It is only a matter of time before the mobile device turns into the new household.”

So, how can companies keep pace with these changes? According to Welbourne, companies need partners like IBS: “highly capable, game-changing developers with the skill set to understand the industry needs and scope of work required.”