New proof of concept validated

IFA Director Dirk Koslowski looks back at the 2020 Special Edition

We asked IFA Director Dirk Koslowski to give us his thoughts on this year’s show.

First and foremost, everyone was wondering whether it would be possible to organise an event according to the current circumstances with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic. And if a show was organised in Berlin, how could this be managed? Everyone we talked to was highly confident that this kind of role model or blueprint could work for the future. It’s even much safer than what had been expected, because the aisles are quite wide, and according to security measures and standards, we reached out for the maximum, not for the minimum.

From the exhibitor side, we had some “wow” moments. One of them was at the LG Press Conference, with their holographic presentation. I was also fascinated by the presentations of Ecovacs and Neato robotics. It showed that not only the big names are able to promote themselves in a highly professional way.

It must have been a massive task to put all this together, under the circumstances.
It has been a roller-coaster ride over the past four or five months. While the situation with regard to Asia and the Americas is very tricky, even here in Europe the situation remains unclear. So, nothing could be taken for granted. Making preparations, but then having to readjust and readapt again and again was highly challenging.

We can announce that for 2021, so far more than 60% of the exhibition space has already been booked. 

Would you say that this event now becomes a model for the entire global events industry?
That was one of our major targets. The positive aspect is that we have proven it’s possible to run an event like this in the current circumstances. With the healthcare institutions in Berlin, we have carved out a role model. It’s good for Messe Berlin, for other trade shows which can now hopefully step into the planning process for events in mid-2021. A global trade show has to finalise its preparations at least six months before the event itself. If you miss the time loop, you can’t run the show. On the other hand, if you look at the entire service industry that relies on trade shows, including restaurants, hotels, transport, and so on, they are taking this as an energising factor heading into the future. For us, this year was very special, because by doing this, we have strengthened the position of IFA as a brand.

What lessons did you learn from this event?
Firstly, people want to meet each other – to look into the faces of their partners and customers. Secondly, the network of IFA is stable and strong – not just with regard to the headquarters of our industry partners, but also in the media landscape. They are supporting us in these times of crisis. And lesson number three – for us as trade show organisers, it’s not fun organising such a show. We want to get back a full-scale IFA with high energy dynamic, with all the consumers here, and with more than 40 show floors full of exhibitors.

What are the plans for 2021?
We can announce that for 2021, so far more than 60% of the exhibition space has already been booked. All the industry partners are now watching carefully to see what will happen to other major events between now and the next IFA, and they will have to decide by March at latest what they will do at IFA 2021. Another exciting piece of news is that next year we will be partnering with Berlin Photo Week, which will start a few days before our show.

•••• Save the Date IFA 2021, Sep 3-7 ••••

Photo: Dirk Koslowski, IFA Director