Formnext, the 3D printing industry’s leading European trade show, has announced that its 2020 event will be held entirely online from 10 – 13 November.
Mesago Messe Frankfurt, in light of rising coronavirus infection rates and ongoing health concerns, has decided that it would be “impossible” to hold a physical event in Frankfurt, where the show usually takes place. There are also concerns over the abundance of travel restrictions currently in place, which may make it difficult for exhibitors and attendees alike to experience Formnext in person.
Petra Haarburger, President of Mesago, explains: “The current rise of the Covid-19 infection figures in Germany, Europe and around the world have led to increasing uncertainty among exhibitors and visitors. Together with the renewed tightening of official and in-house travel restrictions, this will no longer allow the otherwise highly international Formnext to be carried out in the accustomed quality.”
The restructured digital event has been renamed to Formnext Connect. Much like the original event, Formnext Connect aims to provide a comprehensive exhibitor and product presentation platform for both veterans and newcomers in the additive manufacturing industry. The program will retain its long-standing structure with conferences, keynotes, showcases, challenges, awards ceremonies, and webinars for a variety of industry topics and trends.
Sascha Wenzler, Vice President of Formnext, adds: “An exchange between technology providers and users is absolutely necessary for this, and we are now putting all our energy into the realization of a virtual Formnext, the Formnext Connect. It will be the central virtual platform for business and knowledge exchange for the global AM community at the end of the year.”
Customizable profiles and artificial intelligence
Exhibitors, without the much needed physical presence, have been given a helping hand by the organizers. The online platform will allow representatives to maintain a distinct customizable company profile with videos and product information, informing prospective customers of the latest innovations.
Visitors will also have their own customizable profiles, which will be used for matchmaking purposes. Formnext Connect has employed artificial intelligence to link up exhibitors and visitors based on their profile choices and registration details. This way, all attendees will be able to see contacts relevant to them and arrange appointments for networking and sales enquiries.
All exchanges will be done in real time, either by text or over video calls. The digital contact functionality has already been set up and integrated into the platform, so users will not need to download any additional applications. To tie it all together, all attendees will be given a personal calendar to add meetings, video calls, and other sessions for a more tailored trade fair agenda.
The content at Formnext Connect can either be live streamed or viewed on-demand until the 31st of December 2020. Without the physical constraints of being Frankfurt-bound, attendees have been given time flexibility to benefit from the event long after it concludes.
Formnext was originally planned to go ahead as normal, albeit with some necessary safety precautions. The organizers had planned out a new show layout for months with modified entrances, booths, and isles. The Formnext 2020 Start-up Challenge was also launched back in June, aiming to provide a boost to budding 3D printing businesses.
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Featured image shows the Formnext trade show. Photo via Formnext.