interzum @home 2021 is the beginning of future trend for trade fairs
Interview with Maik Fischer, interzum director
In a special interaction with Maik Fischer, interzum director, Koelnmesse, reveals the plans for the first ever digitally hosted interzum @home.
Modern Woodwork: Due to the development of the pandemic, you have decided to host the interzum purely digitally. What do you have in store for the visitors of the interzum @home?
Maik Fischer: Our exhibitors must be able to make reliable plans. Due to the continued dynamic development of the pandemic, we have decided, in close coordination with the industry, to host the interzum purely digitally. The exclusively digital format of the interzum @home makes the visitors experience the trade fair in a completely new way; at the same time, it offers them many of the advantages they are used to: talking and networking with industry experts, plenty of varied inspiration provided by the industry’s innovators and trendsetters. All of this precisely at the point in time when the manufacturers are in need of impulses for a new design season.
MW: Which exhibitors will take part in the online event?
MF:We are currently still busy with the marketing process, which will be ongoing until at least the middle of April. However, we have already been able to convince market-leading companies such as Hettich, Häfele, Blum, Vauth-Sagel, Grass, Kesseböhmer, Schüco Alu Competence, Titus, Samet, Rehau, Hawa Sliding Solutions, Hailo, Agoform, Sugatsune, Mesan, Servetto, Elektra, Halemeier, Schattdecor, Impress, Surteco, Continental, Unilin, Fantoni, Sonae Arauco, Grupo Alvic, Senosan, 3B, Europlac, Leggett & Platt International Bedding, Global Systems Group, Spühl, Masias, Fecken-Kirfel, Albrecht Bäumer, Vita Group and Boyteks of the interzum @home concept.
MW: What exactly will the trade fair look like? What opportunities will there be for the exhibitors and the visitors to interact?
MF: Thanks to numerous features, the interzum @home will offer the whole bandwidth of possibilities. The interzum @home 2021 will meet two major objectives for the exhibitors taking part: it will focus on content, meaning new products, knowledge, insights and trends, as well as networking opportunities. There will be various options for presenting products and trends, for example, as well as knowledge transfer solutions. The respective platforms will include digital exhibitor showrooms, product stages (virtual presentation stages for the exhibitors), the interzum stages themselves as well as round tables (digital workshop sessions by the exhibitors). The objective of these digital platforms is the maximisation of the overall reach. In this respect, the development of new international contacts is just as important as the maintenance of relationships with existing customers – particularly in these current times of social distancing. The main purpose as well as the main driver of the interzum @home is therefore networking. Our business platform offers the exhibitors and the visitors the chance to find exactly the right person for their individual business amongst all of the participants. A visual “discovery graph” makes it extremely easy to discover relevant contacts and companies in an entertaining and interactive way – either through the networks, through personal contacts or via a matching service on the basis of the interests stated. All in all, the platform is designed to be particularly easy and intuitive to use. Regardless of the users’ previous digital experience, the home page, the so-called lobby, leads them to all areas. The visitors are shown the current highlights and can have a look at their personal communication and agenda. In that way, the interzum @home gives every user the genuine trade fair experience.
MW: Which opportunities and potential, or which development perspectives, do you see for the trade fair – above all also with the 2023 event in mind?
MF: In my opinion, the trade fair concepts of the future will be hybrid events, as these make what is happening on site at the trade fair suitable for online presentation and participation; accordingly, the event can be streamed worldwide and enriched with digital additional offers and a longer term online presence. Granted, this does not mean that a digital platform can replace the successful event format “trade fair”, but it will definitely extend it in a sensible and useful way even after the coronavirus crisis. The digital building blocks represent a logical complementary addition to the physical presentation in the exhibition halls. In this way, our trade fairs will reach a worldwide audience of millions, far more than just the attending stakeholders. Roughly put: knowledge and content online, experience and socialising on site, always with flowing transitions. The element that connects both is networking, which is possible online as well as offline, and will continue to remain important. However, this assumes that everyone is willing to rethink trade fairs. No event will be like another. We are creating bespoke analogue-digital suits. The more perfectly they fit, the more resounding the success of the trade fair for all participants.