Editorial: Event season is upon us…

Author : Mark Gradwell, Consultant Editor

05 December 2018

Mark Gradwell, Consultant Editor of EPDT

Where has the year gone? At the time I was writing our December issue's editorial, I was making my final preparations to fly to Munich for electronica, the world’s leading trade fair for electronic components, systems, applications and solutions – the biggest and most important trade show in our industry.

For the digital issue of this piece, please visit this link – or click here to register for EPDT's magazine.

I recently attended, for instance, the Engineering Impact Awards and NIDays, an event targeted at engineers building test and measurement applications and systems. There’s never enough time to get to every industry event out there, but as event season is upon us, here’s why I think they are important – and why you should try to get to some…

Autumn is often thought of as trade show season in much of the industrial b2b world, partly driven by a range of powerhouse messe events in Germany – where they really know how to put on a trade fair!

Anyone who regularly attends one of the big industry shows out there (like the biennial electronica, which hosts almost 3,000 exhibitors and over 70,000 visitors, from more than 50 countries across 18 halls) knows how vast and overwhelming they can be – but also, how they can help set and drive the agenda for their industry: reflecting, raising awareness of, and educating the market on key technology trends and applications. When done well, technical conferences and industry awards programmes also usually aim to do the same.

While many of the big messe trade shows in Germany are still pretty healthy and impressive, it’s fair to say that live/physical events here in the UK have taken somewhat of a knock over the last couple of decades. As engineering teams have been squeezed, put under pressure to deliver more, faster and often with smaller teams and budgets, it has become harder for engineers to justify time out of the office to attend industry events – especially as, at the same time, information has become so much easier to find and access, online.

This can lead to a vicious cycle effect, where exhibitors and hosting companies pull out due to reduced audience numbers, and ultimately events struggle to stay healthy and profitable. Having been a regular visitor to, host at, and organiser of many different kinds of events over the years, I urge you to rethink any aversion you – or your boss – might have to getting out there to events. Yes, there are bad, weak events out there – and it’s important to try and avoid wasting time and resource on these (do your research!).

But there are plenty of well run, well attended and content-rich events out there, where you can learn about important trends, tech and applications, and make useful connections to grow your network.

Ideally, ask a colleague or peer who has been to an event for advice or a personal recommendation – and oftentimes, you can also find a review and/or preview of an event (expo, conference or awards) from a relevant industry trade publication.

EPDT’s electronica preview can be found in our October issue – and look out for a review of both electronica and NIDays (including the Engineering Impact Awards) next month…

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