Interview with Sabine Geldermann, project director drupa, Messe Düsseldorf
Though the original plan for drupa 2021 was to have a live event from April 20-28, at the fairgrounds in Düsseldorf, Germany, plans changed due to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now a virtual event is taking place at virtual.drupa.com, April 20-23.
How will moving to a virtual format alter the experience for attendees?
No virtual format will be able to replace the experience of a face-to-face event, where attendees explore with all their senses products, innovations, technology trends and, above all, engage in personal meetings. However, we consider it our responsibility to offer our global print and packaging community a virtual industry platform that provides new impetus for reactivating business and offers digital sales opportunities. Our goal is to enable customer contact points and to expand our expertise in the interests of our community via digital formats as well. The three preview days in 2020 already have successfully demonstrated our goal to combine the best of both worlds.
What can attendees expect from the event?
Attendees will meet a representative number of international key players along the entire value chain of the print and packaging industry in three sections: Conference Area, Exhibition Space and Networking Plaza. Personal contact also is possible in the form of meetings in virtual chat rooms with exhibitors. We are only just starting to admit exhibitors, who now are gradually completing their online profiles and also uploading videos, web sessions and product information. The process is in full swing and is intensifying as we get closer to the event.
In addition, we will offer a high-quality conference program that is aligned with relevant technology trends and global megatrends and will highlight important impulses for future business models. Keynotes, industry experts and brand owners are on the agenda, and we will publish a preview of the program soon.
What opportunities should attendees be sure not to miss?
The daily keynotes at the kick-off of the virtual drupa will certainly be a highlight and will of course – if attendance is difficult due to time differences – be available on demand 24/7. The program offers fascinating brand stories, case studies and future technology topics – which is why participants should register for the event free of charge starting in March at virtual.drupa.com.
Participants should use all three segments of virtual.drupa to continuously contact exhibitors of their network, and they also should search for product innovations in addition to new contacts via the matchmaking tool and an intelligent keyword search to achieve the best contact results.
What are you looking forward to with virtual.drupa?
We are looking forward to seeing customers from all over the world – at least digitally – after a long time and providing a platform that enables business activity and networking in times of the pandemic. Already, in preparation for the event, we are hosting regular video conferences with exhibitors, partners, associations and our worldwide representatives, which underline the importance of customer connectivity that we globally enable. We need to remain optimistic and serve the needs of customers until we can hopefully schedule face-to-face meetings around the world again, starting in the summer.
All customers are talking about digital fatigue and can hardly wait for the return to live events. This is what we are looking forward to the most, because the industry needs a new perspective, trust and confidence for the near future.