With high participant numbers and an impressive interaction rate, the SPS Connect, which took place from 24-26 November 2020, illustrated the continuing importance of a professional exchange between suppliers and users, and clearly demonstrated that technological progress in the automation industry cannot be stopped even in the midst of a pandemic. For organizer Mesago, the event has been a resounding success.
SPS Connect saw a total of 239 exhibitors and their 4329 employees showcase more than 2,500 products. 9,008 active participants, including 27% from outside of Germany, accessed the virtual platform over the three-day event to discover the latest trends and innovations, and extend their professional network. The platform is to remain active until the end of the year to give interested parties the opportunity to connect with others and consume video content on-demand.
Cooperation partner Siemens also commented on the digital event: “As the largest exhibitor at the physical SPS fair, it was important to us that the virtual format enjoys a positive image in the form of a strong partnership in this difficult situation. It was equally important for us to reach our customers and interested parties personally this year. For this purpose we created our own virtual format, the Siemens Digital Enterprise SPS Dialog, which was closely linked with the SPS Connect,” stated Marcus Bliesze, Marketing Manager Factory Automation at Siemens Digital Industries.
Event content well received
The varied SPS Connect agenda included 120 program elements in 3 parallel streams and several round tables, and attracted up to 1,300 live viewers for the most popular presentations.
A particular highlight was the talk given by Bavarian Minister President Dr. Markus Söder, who discussed the opportunities and limits of politics in dealing with the pandemic as well as the development of new technological possibilities. The keynotes “Standstill as an Accelerator” by Karl-Heinz Land, “AI: from Automation to a Digital Business Model” by Dr. Holger Schmidt, and “Cyber Security in Industry” by Prof. Thomas R. Köhler were also well received.
AI-based networking a success for participants and exhibitors
The event saw 21310 networking contacts established between participants and the generation of 4166 business meetings by the end of the live event week. 702 further meetings have been planned for the first week of December; following this participants will have the opportunity to use the chat function.
For Ulrich Leidecker, COO and President of Business Area Industry Management und Automation, returning long-term exhibitor company Phoenix Contact Electronics GmbH, the idea of integrating matchmaking into SPS Connect and making it a key area of focus was “truly inspired”. “Looking back over the last few days, it is clear that we made some very promising contacts via the platform.”
In this regard, it is also interesting to note that the virtual format has opened up completely new target groups; as Fausto Carboni reports: “Thanks to the possibilities offered by the SPS Connect digital platform, it seems that we have been able to get in contact with a varied audience, and reached an audience different from the physical fair. Looking at the statistics so far, we can see that we have been able to make new contacts and relationships.” explains the CEO of Italian drive system manufacturer Bonfiglioli.
Mehmet Gülbey Yanar is one of the participants who has been able to take part in the event for the first time thanks to SPS Connect. “For me, SPS Connect represented a great platform with which to expand my business world in a targeted manner,” explains the project manager from Mercedes Benz Türk A., who dialed in to the event from Turkey.
An important milestone in extraordinary times
As Sylke Schulz-Metzner, Vice President SPS at Mesago, explains; “We have been delighted with the results of the SPS Connect and are pleased that this year’s digital format allowed us to once again offer the automation industry an opportunity for exchange. Our special thanks go out to everyone who took part as well as our long-standing exhibitors, without whom the virtual format would have been impossible.”
This sentiment was echoed by Steffen Winkler, Sales Manager of the Automation & Electrification Solutions Business Unit at Bosch Rexroth AG; “For us, SPS is the most important annual exhibition for the industry, so its continued existence is something that is very close to our hearts. We were happy to support this through our participation.”
Networking and presentations on demand until the end of the year
The virtual platform will remain active until the end of the year, allowing participants to continue to exchange information via chats and to view all presentations during this period, the agreement of business meetings and the viewing of all contributions to the main program. The meeting function is available until 4 December.
Next year, SPS will return to Nuremberg in the regular format from 23-25 November 2021. For more information on the event, visit sps-exhibition.com.