2020 is over and with it the first entirely virtual SPS. By 31 December 2020, the SPS Connect platform had played host to a total of 9,121 visitors, seen interactions with 239 exhibitors, facilitated 4,296 business meetings, and delivered a wealth of information about the latest products in the automation industry. In 2021, however, the event is once again set to take place in person from 23 to 25 November in Nuremberg.
Following the cancellation of the physical SPS at the end of August last year, event organizer Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH decided on a digital alternative; a concept that focused primarily on the interaction between the automation suppliers and users, and which would be supported by an AI-based matchmaking function. Courtesy of this tool, a total of 22,216 connections were made as well as 837,486 recommendations.
Accompanying this was a lecture program looking at the latest industry topics in combination with related discussions. As Dr. Josef Waltl, Principal Group Program Manager – Industrial IoT/Manufacturing, Microsoft Deutschland GmbH states: “The expert presentations and SPS Connect portal were the highlights of the SPS Connect. Software and the application of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence within the industry have struck a chord with many participants and exhibitors. It could also make an interesting digital companion for the ‘regular’ exhibition, which is always a highlight of our calendar.”
Positive outlook for the SPS 2021
The figures for the SPS Connect demonstrate the considerable importance of an exchange of ideas with other professionals from the industry, even if it has to be online. For 2021, however, organizer Mesago is once again making plans for an in-person event: “Interest for the SPS 2021 in November has been great. Currently, figures for stand space and exhibitor numbers are above last year’s level, despite the ongoing pandemic.
This highlights just how important the exhibition is for the automation industry and shows that even a year like 2020 has not changed this significantly,” reports Sylke Schulz-Metzner, Vice President SPS at Mesago Messe Frankfurt. As the organizer explains, a comprehensive range of health protection measures will be taken on site to protect all participants, as had already been planned for the in-person event in 2020. “We’re proceeding with caution,” explains Schulz-Metzner. “We plan to assess the situation periodically throughout the year, and also see how the vaccination program goes, so we can respond accordingly.”
A supplementary digital program is also planned for SPS 2021.