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IMEX: MICE Industry is Confident

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IMEX: MICE Industry is Confident

IMEX in Frankfurt, which takes place at Messe Frankfurt and runs until Thursday 2 June, marks a milestone moment for the industry: its biggest global gathering since the pandemic. The next three days will see the community reunite – many for the first time in three years – to reconnect and do business, providing a global snapshot of the sector.

With exhibitors representing over 100 countries, the show floor is the ultimate living reflection of the international business events market. The show, celebrating its 20th year, reflects a new business reality – and it’s one of steady and sustained confidence.

There are over 40 new stands, and many returning suppliers who have expanded their presence at the show – all with a strong story to tell that reflects recent and significant investment in the sector.

This includes ExCeL London’s expansion, Ethiopia’s new convention bureau, the launch of Transcend Cruises and St Louis who are marking the start of direct flights to Frankfurt by bringing a high-level delegation to the show. Destinations are also using IMEX in Frankfurt as the stage to launch new venues, they include Uzbekistan, New Zealand, Austria, Heidelberg, Bahrain and Bangkok.

With over 2,800 buyers registered and thousands of appointments made, the next three days effectively hold up a mirror to the international business events and meetings community as it reignites; showcasing its state of business readiness and its short and long-term growth prospects.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, explains: “This week’s IMEX in Frankfurt represents a microcosm of the global marketplace and is at the heart of the industry’s restart. We’re in the early stages of rebuilding our sector but have every reason to be confident.

“Over the next few days the show floor will play host to partners, buyers and suppliers from across the globe, and the deals discussed here will lead directly to job creation, professional development and industry advancement, in turn helping to generate positive economic impact the world over.”
Source: eTN / Image: IMEX

Free learning programme at IMEX in Frankfurt reflects new business reality

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Free learning programme at IMEX in Frankfurt reflects new business reality

In the three years since the last IMEX in Frankfurt, technology has transformed the event landscape and the delegate experience whether it’s in-person, virtually or as an avatar in the metaverse. The free learning programme at IMEX in Frankfurt, taking place 31 May – 2 June, explores the latest innovations in this field as well as diving into current issues around sustainability, event design, wellbeing, contract negotiations and more.

The expert-led programme focuses on the new skills and mindsets needed for a changed business climate with topics including Professional Development and Upskilling; Creativity in Communication; Diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility; Innovation and Tech; and Purposeful Recovery. All eligible sessions qualify for CMP points accredited by EIC (Events Industry Council) while some are also CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional) approved.

Moments in the metaverse

Trévon Hill, entrepreneur and co-founder of online event production agency, West Peek Productions, has a distinctive approach to the events sector having run his first ever event during the pandemic – end to end in just four days. Trévon and his co-founder Scooter, both in their early twenties, expected just a few hundred guests to attend their impromptu virtual conference – the final turnout was over 5,000 attendees. The business has now expanded into a full-service production agency with a growing team and 300 virtual and hybrid events scheduled for the year ahead.

Trévon explains: “We wanted to bring together some of our mentors and community and create a big moment of learning and sharing. ‘Learn, Partner, Connect’ were our pillars at the beginning.” He’s set to share some learnings from his journey to event professional in two sessions: Communication hacks during a hybrid event shows how to use technology to streamline communication and Entering the metaverse gives the lowdown on the metaverse, its platforms and infrastructure, ending with a taste of a metaverse event.

Ryan Phillips, creative director of DRPG, also delves into the metaverse in The Metaverse: Fleeting fad or future of the industry? He’ll detail the platforms, players and technologies that currently make up the metaverse event experience and share what audiences may want from metaverse interactions now and in the future.
Want to know about the latest technology solutions but don’t know where to start? In The Ultimate Guide to Event Tech in 2022, by Skift Meetings’ editor in chief Miguel Neves, offers a rundown of current tools and services while predicting where event technology is heading.

What’s your Foodprint?

Sustainability, a core value for the IMEX Group, is explored on the show’s education programme as well as at the IMEX | EIC People & Planet Village. This area highlights DEI and sustainability best practices, advice and hands-on activities. Visitors to the innovative installation should lookout for a special message from climate scientist, Professor Ed Hawkins MBE. Ed and his team famously created the iconic Warming Stripes climate change graphic.

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In Naturally creative – ideas with nature workshop, independent creative director, Robert Dunsmore, will challenge attendees to ‘flex extreme innovation skills’ and create a nature-based exhibit. Eric Wallinger from Meet Green, IMEX’s partner in measuring and building on sustainability goals, will unpack environmentally friendly food and beverage planning. In Your event’s environmental “foodprint”, Eric will cover everything from upstream impacts of food production to low-carbon menus. “The decisions your team makes around F&B influence nearly every aspect of your convention or event”, he explains.

Kap Europa – Behind the Scenes

For those interested in sustainable building design concepts, Kap Europa Messe Frankfurt was the first convention building in the world to be awarded Platinum Certification by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) in 2014. Attendees will have the chance to explore this ground-breaking venue in a behind the scenes tour.

The 150+ education sessions at IMEX in Frankfurt 2022 are free of charge and open to all. The programme has been carefully curated – and checked – to ensure it addresses the current business, professional and personal needs of the global IMEX community. Attendees can browse in advance and plan their learning here.

IMEX in Frankfurt takes place 31 May – 2 June 2022 – the business events community can register here. Registration is free. Carina and the team share more information about what to expect at the show here. 

Best Countries for a Workcation

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Best Countries for a Workcation

Workcation stands for a Work vacation. The idea is to pack up at home and reside in another country for a month or a few and do your remote work – most likely on a computer.

Using 22 different factors, the index compared 111 countries according to their remote working conditions and opportunities to really explore outside of a usual 9 – 5 routine. They then ranked these destinations based on six categories, such as how lively the social scene is or local costs of living. Due to the conflict, Russia and Ukraine were removed from the listing.

Categories were ranked by local costs encompassing apartment rental prices per month/day, transport, food & restaurant prices; health and safety, namely political stability, air pollution, LGBT equality, road safety; travel including accessibility, accommodation, car & fuel prices; remote work support such as remote work visas, co-working spaces, internet speeds; and social life English proficiency; culture; bars & clubs per capita.

1. Portugal 100%
2. Spain: 93%
3. Romania: 92%
4. Mauritius: 90%
5. Japan: 90%
6. Malta: 89%
7. Costa Rica: 86%
8. Panama: 85%
9. Czech Republic: 84%
10. Germany: 83%
11. Croatia: 82%
12. Iceland: 81%
13. Sri Lanka: 80%
14. Taiwan: 80%
15. Albania: 79%
16. Thailand: 79%
17. Georgia: 76%
18. Estonia: 75%
19. Mexico: 75%
20. Indonesia: 74%
21. Australia: 74%
22. Malaysia: 72%
23. Greece: 72%
24. Brazil: 71%
25. Luxembourg: 71%
26. Seychelles: 69%
27. Singapore: 69%
28. Dominica: 67%
29. Philippines: 67%
30. Norway: 67%
31. Lithuania: 66%
32. Bulgaria: 66%
33. Netherlands: 64%
34. Poland: 61%
35. Hungary: 61%
36. Curacao: 60%
37. Belgium: 59%
38. Denmark: 59%
39. Colombia: 58%
40. Latvia: 57%
41. United Arab Emirates: 57%
42. Serbia: 56%
43. France: 56%
44. Argentina: 56%
45. Chile: 55%
46. Honduras: 55%
47. El Salvador: 55%
48. Cape Verde: 55%
49. Barbados: 55%
50. Aruba: 55%
51. Sweden: 54%
52. Austria: 55%
53. Jamaica: 53%
54. Ecuador: 53%
55. Montenegro: 52%
56. New Zealand: 52%
57. United States of America: 52%
58. South Africa: 52%
59. North Macedonia: 51%
60. South Korea: 50%
61. Peru: 50%
62. Canada: 50%
63. Nepal: 50%
64. Turkey: 49%
65. Cyprus: 49%
66. Reunion: 49%
67. Vietnam: 49%
68. The Bahamas: 49%
69. Italy: 49%
70. Bolivia: 48%
71. United Kingdom: 48%
72. India: 47%
73. Finland: 46%
74. Kazakhstan: 45%
75. Guatemala: 45%
76. Dominican Republic: 43%
77. Kenya: 42%
78. Tanzania: 42%
79. Jordan: 42%
80. Armenia: 41%
81. Tunisia: 41%
82. China: 40%
83. Puerto Rico: 40%
84. Ireland: 39%
85. Switzerland: 39%
86. Kuwait: 39%
87. Bangladesh: 37%
88. Anguilla: 36%
89. Algeria: 34%
90. Morocco: 32%
91. Pakistan: 32%
92. Nigeria: 31%
93. Uzbekistan: 31%
94. Oman: 30%
95. Hong Kong: 29%
96. Belize: 28%
97. Senegal: 28%
98. Egypt: 28%
99. Israel: 26%
100. Qatar: 26%
101. Cayman Islands: 24%
102. Saudi Arabia: 23%
103. Zimbabwe: 22%
104. Antigua & Barbuda: 22%
105. Lebanon: 18%
106. Bermuda: 12%
107. Maldives: 7%
108. US Virgin Islands: 1%

Source: eTN / Image: Pixabay

New HEPA filters in Düsseldorf for the re-start

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New HEPA filters in Düsseldorf for the re-start

It is the most effective air cleaning technology currently available: HEPA filters remove 99.9% of viruses, bacteria and other particulates from the air and release the cleaned air into the room again. These high-efficiency filters make for highest air quality in ORs, at Intensive Care Units and now also at Messe Düsseldorf and Düsseldorf Congress. Halls 1, 9 to 17 as well as Congress Center Düsseldorf CCD have already been refitted.

This means that the first Düsseldorf trade fairs in 2022, BEAUTY (6 – 8 May 2022) and TOP HAIR (7 – 9 May 2022), as well as the forthcoming conventions, meetings and events by Düsseldorf Congress will be held in best purified air. In the course of the re-start the other halls will also be refitted with this technology so that the entire Düsseldorf Exhibition and Congress Centre will have been fitted with 3,000 HEPA filters by the time the international trade fairs for wire, cable and tubes, wire and Tube, are held from 20 – 24 June 2022. 80% of the EUR 1.4 million invested were paid by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection as part of a funding programme.

Infection risk reduced to a minimum
Stressing the advantages for the re-start, Wolfram N. Diener, President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, says: “Our new HEPA filters help to ensure that we can offer all guests the greatest possible protection during our trade fairs. In combination with our high-performance ventilation system, our voluntary hygiene measures, our spacious premises and halls, we reduce the infection risk to a minimum. After two pandemic years and a period of intense digital communication participants can feel safe when networking, initiating business deals and experiencing innovations in person again.”

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Contribution to sustainability
HEPA filters complement and relieve the already powerful ventilation systems at Messe Düsseldorf. The fully automatic system with 60,000 measuring points safeguards optimal air quality and supplies the halls with ten million cubic metres of fresh outside air via ten kilometres of ventilation pipes every hour. Bernhard J. Stempfle, Managing Director Finance and Infrastructure, emphasises the efficiency: “HEPA filters reduce the heating and cooling energy consumption of our ventilation systems and enable their energetically sensible operation. When outside temperatures are low we can mix the outside air supplied with warm hall air, thereby reducing the heating requirements and still achieve clinically clean incoming air. This means that the HEPA filters also make an important contribution to sustainable trade fairs.”

Additional infection protection is not only provided by the HEPA filters and ventilation systems but also by Messe Düsseldorf’s voluntary hygiene measures. The trade fair company continues recommending attendees to wear medical face masks and keep a 1.5 m distance from other persons on the fairgrounds. Furthermore, Messe Düsseldorf makes sanitizing dispensers available and has frequently used contact surfaces cleaned several times daily. Distance markings in waiting areas help to prevent crowds from forming in front of information counters and ticket offices. Doors, unless they are fire doors, are left open so that they can be passed through contactless. Transparent droplet guards at service and information counters will also remain in place.
Image: Messe Düsseldorf / ctillmann

Knowledge platform HANNOVER MESSE

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Knowledge platform HANNOVER MESSE

Globalization has fostered prosperity around the world, but two years of pandemic and the war in Ukraine are significantly affecting global economic growth. Covid closed borders and interrupted supply chains; the war in Ukraine started an energy crisis. How will these developments influence the world economy in the medium and long term? And which technologies can meet these challenges? From 30 May to 2 June 2022, exhibitors at HANNOVER MESSE discuss these topics and many more.

HANNOVER MESSE is a unique knowledge platform that features more than 600 presentations and panel discussions. Various topic-based stages host companies presenting their strategies and solutions for current global challenges

For example, the Main Stage in H’Up focuses on the topics of sustainability, climate protection and green hydrogen. On Monday, energy experts from Bosch, Siemens and Nea Green discuss how important green hydrogen is to energy diversification. On Tuesday, Germany’s Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK) stages the Lightweighting Summit. Dr. Robert Habeck, Germany’s Minister of Economics, is patron. His talk covers climate protection, resource efficiency and resilience – issues that are more relevant than ever.

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The Industry 4.0 Stage in Hall 8 covers topics such as digital twins, B2B platform economies, interoperability, additive manufacturing, predictive maintenance, and cyber security. A new subject is Manufacturing-as-a-Service (MaaS), which offers goods production as a service. MaaS not only enables new business models, but also increases the resilience, transparency, sustainability and flexibility of supply chains. The automobile industry’s large-scale Catena-X project serves as an important MaaS use case, because it uses the Smart Factory Web’s open architecture and realizes a MaaS service landscape.

The International MES Conference, which runs 2 June at the Industrie 4.0 stage, examines ways of making production more sustainable and economical and highlights how MES can enable Industrie 4.0 and sustainability.

The Energy 4.0 Stage in Hall 12 spotlights trends for an energy-intelligent, climate-friendly and sustainable future. Industry experts discuss how we can transform energy systems, use resources more sustainably and radically reduce CO2 emissions.
Source: HANNOVER MESSE

New platform introduces Japan’s second-largest city to tourism and MICE industries

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New platform introduces Japan’s second-largest city to tourism and MICE industries

The Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau (YCVB) has launched a new website to introduce the tourism and MICE elements of Japan’s second-largest city to the world.

Named Virtual Yokohama, the platform allows the city to welcome business-related site visits virtually and to continue to compete for conventions amid governmental restrictions on international travel.

The interactive website features 360˚ images and videos of local scenery, landmarks, hotels, convention facilities, and attractions, alongside stylish illustrations by Satoshi Hashimoto, a Yokohama-born illustrator active in Japan and abroad.

Akiko Hosono, manager of the Business Events Team of YCVB, said: “Virtual Yokohama was created to ensure Yokohama continues to be the city of choice for people in the tourism and MICE industries, by making it easy for them to experience the advantages of Yokohama in an online format.”

As a compact city, with many of its major tourism attractions located within walking distance of its commercial hub, Yokohama suits both tourism and MICE needs, which is highlighted on the website.

There is information suitable for both day visitors and those spending the night. Options include four model itineraries, covering everything from classic tourist spots to off-the-beaten-track gems familiar only to local people, and half-day sightseeing tours, including those that trace the history of Yokohama’s port or showcase its panoramic views.

There are also videos introducing eight unique venues where parties, seminars, and other business events can be held. Among those to choose from are Sky Garden, one of Japan’s highest observatory facilities; the historic Sankeien Garden; and Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise, whose premises, which include an aquarium and amusement park, can be used exclusively.

Virtual Yokohama can be accessed here.
Image: Pixabay

Riedel Delivers on Commitment to Americas Market

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Riedel Delivers on Commitment to Americas Market

Riedel Communications today announced several key moves the company has made that demonstrate its strong commitment to the Americas market. These include moving its North American headquarters from Burbank, California, to a 14,000-square-foot space in the Santa Clarita Valley; stepping up its R&D efforts with a new office in Montreal featuring 20,000 additional square feet and 120 additional workspaces; and making numerous personnel additions across its support, sales, and R&D teams.

“Over the past two years, we’ve focused heavily on expanding our presence in the Americas,” said Rik Hoerée, CEO, Product Division, Riedel Communications. “Our new Santa Clarita Valley headquarters and additions to our sales and service teams help us do this while maintaining unmatched levels of service and support. And by reinforcing our R&D team and providing them with a new facility for innovation — complete with a spacious lab and manufacturing area, demo room, green room for filming, and multiple collaborative rooms and creative spaces — we’re well positioned to achieve a leading position in the Americas video market.”

To further penetrate the Americas market through the development, implementation, and measurement of localized marketing strategies, Riedel has hired Sara Kudrle as senior marketing manager, Americas. As sales operations manager, Kirsten Ballard is helping lead the company’s sales efforts in the region. Richard Kraemer and Josh Yagjian have joined Riedel as regional sales representatives. Kraemer is overseeing sales in Canada, while Yagjian is helping to cover accounts in the Northeastern region of the U.S.

To ensure Riedel’s stellar service and support isn’t outpaced by its rapid growth, the company named David Perkins the manager of service and support for Riedel Americas. In this role, he oversees the company’s internal technical support and service teams while enhancing the processes and practices used to set and exceed customer satisfaction goals.

Riedel’s service department was further bolstered with the addition of Maer Infante and Anees Bhaiyat as service and support specialists, which has freed up Joshua Harrison to transition into a system consulting role. Finally, to maintain warehouse inventory and ensure accurate and on-time product delivery, Riedel hired Gene Arrington as logistics specialist.

To further advance Riedel’s R&D efforts, the company has named Sébastien Roberge as head of R&D, Montreal. He brings with him more than 10 years of experience in director roles with Grass Valley and Miranda Technologies. Also from Grass Valley, software designers Mathieu Grignon, Tracy Bertrand, Marc-André Parent, and Simon Provost have joined Riedel in Montreal. Together with new QA specialist Waleed Abdullah, they have formed a new engineering team. The hardware team has expanded with the additions of Jean-François Garcia-Galvez and Valère Sailly, both of whom come from Grass Valley.

To help Riedel Communications continue its exploration of emerging technologies and reach out to new markets, the company has named Mathieu McKinnon as senior FPGA designer and Antonio Jimenez as SQA engineer. In addition, Rick Snow and Xavier Désautels have joined Riedel’s NPI Team as team manager and software developer, respectively. As senior technical writer, Kevin Journaux will help the R&D team with documentation production and updates.
Source: Riedel Communications

allseated – bring event visions to life

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allseated – bring event visions to life

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Mail: germany@allseated.com
Internet: https://allseated.com

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Messe Düsseldorf partners with AUVSI

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Messe Düsseldorf partners with AUVSI

Messe Düsseldorf Group and the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) have entered into a strategic partnership for the further development of XPONENTIAL starting with the 2023 event. Messe Düsseldorf North America (MDNA) acquires 60 percent of the shares in the trademark rights of the world’s leading trade show for uncrewed systems. The XPONENTIAL trade show will be held annually in different cities in the USA. Messe Düsseldorf is thus strengthening its position in the North American market and tapping into a future-oriented sector with growth potential.

Through its subsidiary Messe Düsseldorf North America (MDNA), Messe Düsseldorf has secured access to a promising field that offers enormous growth potential. It is entering into a comprehensive partnership with the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) in Washington, D.C., the world’s largest association for the advancement of autonomous systems and robotics. AUVSI is composed of more than 350 member companies from 60 countries and represents more than 5,000 members. A key meeting place for the industry, the association and its members, is XPONENTIAL, the world’s leading trade show and conference for uncrewed and autonomous systems across ground, maritime, and air domains.

„With this strategic investment, we are underlining the demands we put on ourselves to further develop our portfolio in the interests of our customers and to enter promising markets of the future,“ says Wolfram N. Diener, President and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, about the upcoming partnership.

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Autonomous transportation of people and cargo is increasingly relevant for a wide variety of everyday areas, but also for the industrial, agricultural, and service sectors: the market for drones or uncrewed aerial systems (UAV, UAS), autonomous cars or trucks, uncrewed rail vehicles and ground vehicles (UGV, UGS), as well as marine systems and vehicles (surface and underwater UMV, UMS) offers an extensive range of possibilities. For these fast-growing application areas, XPONENTIAL with its comprehensive technology exhibitions and focused programming, is an indispensable meeting point to present innovations, discuss trends, and jointly set the course for this future market.

Brian Wynne, President and CEO of AUVSI, sounded the following congratulatory note: “The announcement of this partnership represents a win for AUVSI members and the uncrewed systems industry at large, and is a fitting turning point for our association as we celebrate our 50th anniversary. With the Messe Düsseldorf Group’s international reach and trade show expertise, XPONENTIAL will continue its namesake trajectory, cementing its status as the must-attend event of the year.”

The partnership between MDNA and AUVSI lays the foundation for the consistent evolution of XPONENTIAL, which in recent years has grown into a trade show with more than 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and a conference with an industry-leading program and more than 8,000 attendees.

Tom Mitchell, President Messe Düsseldorf North America Inc, has a clear goal in mind: „With our know-how as one of the world’s largest organizers of international trade shows, we will work together with AUVSI to make XPONENTIAL an even bigger and better show for all participants from the 2023 event onwards by offering an even broader range of topics and new target groups. We are looking forward to a productive collaboration with all partners.“
Source: Messe Düsseldorf Group / Image: @AUVSI

Ron Schneider of Schachzug and the CES in Las Vegas

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Ron Schneider of Schachzug and the CES in Las Vegas
Ron Schneider visited CES in Les Vegas (Photo: Schachzug)

Ron Schneider, CEO of the German agency Schachzug in Erlangen, attended CES in Las Vegas and gives an exclusive report on his impressions of the event. His impression: ‘Just the right amount of wrong’.

CES, the most important trade fair for innovations in the world, is taking place in Las Vegas once again – but no-one actually appears to be going. Looking at social media over the last few days has made that pretty clear. A very long list of cancellations from renowned manufacturers roundly confirmed this, with various expert opinions decrying the fact the trade fair was taking place at all and calling it absolute madness. And honestly? It did have an impact on us. Even on the journey to the airport, the team discussed whether or not we should cancel our Live CES Screening 2022 after all.

In the end, we came to a decision and boarded the aircraft with a reasonably firm agenda in mind:

1) How will the CES in-person event be managed despite the increasing Omicron infection rate?

2) How can companies position themselves in a hybrid way in the digital/real-life CES environment?

3) Which brands create the most exciting brand spaces and what did their communication look like?

4) What top trends and innovations can we expect to see in 2022?

One missed connecting flight and one night we were forced to spend in -11 degree Chicago later, we actually landed in fabulous Las Vegas on 5 January 2022. At the airport, there were several CES counters where we could pick up our badges. And even at the first touchpoint, it was obvious that CES was taking things seriously. Despite several planes arriving at the same time, there was enough staff there to help everyone, meaning we didn’t have to queue.

We were asked for our registration, ID and proof of vaccination. Along with our badge, we also received an antigen self testing kit so we could test ourselves every day before going to the trade fair. We were also made aware of the ‘Safe Live’ app again, which offered various Covid-related functions and features such as ‘Report Suspicious Activity’, ‘Report Incident’, ‘Emergency Options’ and ‘Resources’. In addition to the communication we received in advance, which focused on information relating to our arrival, and the ongoing updates provided via the CES app, we had a good grasp of the situation and were finally able to head off to the trade fair.

Once there, we went through the next security check. This meant we had arrived properly and found ourselves standing in the Central Hall of the LVCC. And it was clear from the first glance that it might be true that some brands had cancelled, but wrong to say there were few or no visitors. Compared to the past few years there were certainly fewer visitors but the trade fair was still well attended and several relevant media outlets were also present.

And what was there to see? From brilliant high level brand experiences similar to the pre-Covid era and intelligent space management in empty areas to, sorry, almost complete refusal to do any work, it had everything. But let’s be at least a bit positive about the technical side of things and talk about the joyful experiences we had. Inside the hall, Samsung gave a clear insight into what the future will bring. Access to the stand was professionally managed via appointment and app, the experience was made safe thanks to the one-way system and there were innovations to see around every corner, which are very much ready to launch on the market. Absolutely superb, both organisation and content-wise.

Also worth mentioning at this point is Sony. In contrast to Samsung, Sony struck a compromise by using the entire space but with as little outlay as possible. While others just made it look like an empty warehouse, Sony managed to work creatively with open spaces and create a pleasant atmosphere that made people want to linger. The experience was completed with a large-scale media display that was truly creative and very well done. I for one rarely sit in front of an LED screen for five minutes watching something if I’m not involved with the content in some way. In addition to Sony and Samsung, Razer, Canon, Bosch, Hisense, SK and TCL were also well worth a visit.

And then it was on to the West Hall – which was of course really exciting for us as it focused on the automotive sector. Getting there was a trade fair highlight in itself: we used the LVCC Loop provided by Elon Musk’s Boring Company. They built a tunnel system under the exhibition hall site that serves as a pilot for the whole of Las Vegas. During CES, a total of 80 Teslas were in use ferrying visitors congestion-free from the Central Hall to the West Hall and back again in no time at all. The hub was the LVCC Central Station, which skilfully brought modern mobility to the forefront with its look and feel, whetting our appetite for more.

The West Hall was also busy with visitors but missing almost all the major automotive brands. With three presentations in parallel, Hyundai showcased its various mobility units to a very high standard, consistently conveying a professional image. And then there was Togg. The Turkish car brand used the absence of the major players to its advantage by making its first physical brand presentation, which was incredibly impressive thanks to its compact architecture and kinetic media surfaces. A strong début that was also reflected in the CES PR ratings.

And another player has suddenly emerged at CES too: Vinfast. In the style of a traditional automotive trade fair, the manufacturer from Vietnam presented its fleet on a large stand with impressive curved screen and various exhibits. In a lesson well learnt from Google, the Vinfast activation extended beyond the exhibition site and incorporated prominent media spaces on the Strip in Las Vegas.

Last but not least, we should mention Fisker. A truly sophisticated, flowing stand design inspired by Fisker Ocean, a vehicle that the Austrians knew would impress everyone. Innovations such as a solar roof and reversible display hit a nerve with the CES target group, who were suitably impressed.

Ron Schneider of German agency Schachzug (Photo: Schachzug)

So what about the major German players? Did none of them actually turn up in the end? Not quite true – BMW was there. And they did it more than well. At their regular spot, the outdoor area in front of the Central Hall of the LVCC, the team from Munich awaited their guests. The talk of the town was without a doubt the BMW iX Flow design study. The high-tech film-wrapped car changed its body colour in front of guests’ eyes. A good start that left us wanting more. So we took part in a tour that led us into the Cube, where we participated in tracked media activities. Outside, there were more activities, a lounge and also dynamic driving experiences to be enjoyed. All of which were very well organised in a Covid-safe way. And despite the fact that we were an agency acting for the competition, we were made to feel very welcome. I should also mention that there were specialists available at every station who were more than happy to delve a bit deeper into the subject. So all in all: great show, BMW!

And just like that, the three days were over. We then had a PCR test for the flight back. Also organised by CES as a proactive step.

And now to the main question: was it worth the trip? Definitely! We were all double vaccinated and boostered and, to say it in the words of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas: it was ‘just the right amount of wrong’. Even though it might be a polarising thing to say, Gary Shapiro was right when he said that innovation is often uncomfortable, couched in risk and also a bit messy sometimes. You can spin it any way you want, but the upshot is that there’s little to be gained from being in the comfort zone. And it all showed that having a bit of courage is worthwhile, as can be seen with the approx. 60 per cent share of CES PR that BMW gained or the innovation scene taking new brands seriously.

Of course, I can understand those who said it is too dangerous to fly there in times such as these and I respect that 100%. But Covid-19 is a fact and it’s not going to disappear tomorrow. We need to learn to live with the virus. So I can only implore you to be brave and – dear brands – talk to your agencies and partners. Develop good Covid prevention and resilience strategies and you’ll see that you can manage. And be a part of the game – otherwise other players will do it in your place.

Take care. Ron

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