The Future of Events and Exhibitions - Finding new ways to excite, engage and thrive
As we celebrate Global Exhibitions Day on 2 June 2021, we take this opportunity to look back on how we connected, reconnected and rebuilt our communities in times of change. With unprecedented challenges in the past year and ahead, we’ve consistently found new ways to excite, engage and thrive with new offerings that brought the best of both the physical and digital worlds to our customers.
Together with resilience, an innovative spirit and a bold approach, we look forward to delivering new formats in the events and exhibitions space that help to forge meaningful connections that will be key in economic recovery.
Digital engagement with Content-on-demand
When the pandemic first hit, many of our shows had to go fully digital. For B2B shows like Carehab, BuildTech Asia and the Franchising and Licensing Asia (FLA), the organisers held a digital series to support their respective industries as they recognised that transformation in their sectors cannot stop. Communities interacted and exchanged ideas and forged new relationships via an online platform with content-on demand.
Along with these, B2C events such as Beerfest Asia, tech sector shows like the COMEX and IT show and SITEX; as well as GOP 2020 (a 3-in-1 event comprising of :Singapore Gifts and Premiums Fair, Office Expo, Print Pack Sign) also went fully digital last year. Some highlights in their respective programmes included live digital music performances, customised home packages and live auction sales. They set the stage for transformation and brand new ways to utilise technology to engage audiences and bring together local communities and regional partners in play digitally.
High-touch engagement in a low-touch world
Recognising that face-to-face meetings remain a preferred way to connect communities and economies, Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific (ITAP) 2020 was the first show to test the hybrid format locally with Safe Management Measures in place at Singapore EXPO and MAX Atria. Along with its AI/ML based engines for content and people recommendation via the ITAP connected platform, the 3-day long event had physical onsite activities held across Singapore. It was a mark of confidence in displaying how events are key in rebuilding economies. Not only did it help to strengthen Singapore’s foundations for manufacturing, it helped to set standards and promote business linkages across borders.
Fast forward to December 2020, the Singapore Fintech Festival and Singapore Week of Innovation and TEchnology (SFF x SWITCH) brought the hybrid event format onto a global scale. Its Online City offered 24/5 live streamed content across three time zones and 45 cities showcasing FinTech hubs around the world and drove cross border commercial opportunities via a self-driven online networking and workshops. The event was a platform to unveil key industry initiatives such as green finance and was key in forging partnerships between startups, big-name players like Microsoft, banks and policy makers.
While the journey last year was just the beginning of an evolution from a digital-only to a hybrid events model space, our teams have ensured that each prototype phase development was centered on meeting the needs and addressing the desires of our customers. Not only did digital platforms help to facilitate engagement like never before, the excitement of a physical show and face-to-face touchpoints was also made possible in a safe manner.
Exhibitions are all about bringing communities, opportunities and ideas together. #GED2021 marks an opportunity to recognise the impact of exhibitions on rebuilding economies – both in building businesses and connecting people all around the world. We look forward to the recovery of the MICE events industry and towards reimagining and building a future together. Happy GED 2021!