When Hannover Messe went digital for the second consecutive year in 2021, it cemented a departure that seemed temporary amidst the chaos and scrambling of the COVID pandemic a year ago.
But, as we sit perched, ready to descend on the “new normal,” it’s beginning to dawn on us that many of the inconveniences we endured over the past year were really just changes in what we’d come to expect. And no one likes change, at least, not at first.
Those videoconferencing calls that revealed our own technological shortcomings and distanced us from associates and co-workers ultimately shored up our bandwidths, upgraded our software and brought us closer together with family, friends and colleagues in other parts of the country and the world.
Remote connectivity has also shown that we don’t need as much real estate as we once did, and artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous robots have quickened the journey to replace labor.
The new normal is a hybrid of new and normal. Hannover Messe is a great example.
"Hannover Messe Digital Edition demonstrated the innovative power of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and IT companies. At the same time, it showed that the trade show of the future is hybrid," says Dr. Jochen Köckler, CEO of Deutsche Messe AG. "Together with our exhibitors and partners, we succeeded in strengthening the core brand of the world's most important industrial show."
The 1,800 participating companies presented 10,500 products and innovations to 90,000 registered participants. The conference featured 1,500 experts discussing topics such as Industry 4.0, digitalization of industrial processes, supply chain management, lightweight construction, hydrogen and electromobility.
"A digital trade show cannot replace the magic of a physical event," says Köckler, citing trust-building face-to-face discussions, concrete leads at the booth and the hands-on product experience, as well as chance encounters that can lead to new business partnerships. "The personal contact simply is not there."
The digital Hannover Messe confirmed that the path is taking us in the right direction, says Köckler.
“In the future we will bring together the best of the digital and analog worlds to provide our customers with a holistic hybrid trade-show experience," explains Köckler.
The next Hannover Messe runs from April 25-29, 2022.