It has been a challenging year. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed fundamental and proven structures. But many companies and institutions have also drawn new inspiration from it. Benedikt Weyerer, head of embedded world, shares his thoughts about the new paths the trade show is taking. embedded world 2021 DIGITAL is scheduled for March 1-5, 2021. 
Benedikt Weyerer (Embedded World 2021)
Benedikt Weyerer (Director Exhibitions embedded world, Nürnberg Messe)
Panik: Thank you for taking part in this interview. Please tell us a bit about embedded world this year. What can the participants and exhibitors expect?

Weyerer: embedded world 2021 DIGITAL provides the embedded community with its own platform to connect. This year the event is completely virtual and takes the place of embedded world in Nuremberg. Matchmaking and networking in the community is a priority on the digital platform, and beginning March 1, we offer five days for this instead of the usual three.

Together with the embedded world Conference DIGITAL and the electronic displays Conference DIGITAL, the virtual exhibition presents the entire range of topics related to the development of embedded systems — from components, modules and complete systems to operating systems, hardware, software and services. Around 300 expected exhibitors, including leading industry giants as well as innovative start-ups, present themselves on the digital platform where the virtual exhibition and top-class conferences complement each other perfectly.

In addition to company and product presentations, attendees can look forward to expert talks and application examples in the Exhibitor’s Forum. The highlights of the trade fair include expert panels on the topics of "Embedded Artificial Intelligence," "Safety and Security," "Embedded Vision," "Connectivity in IoT," and diversity as a success factor for innovations. The accompanying conferences provide a first-class lecture program, top keynotes and renowned speakers.

Panik: How has the transition from live to digital been received?

Weyerer: The feedback we’ve received in numerous talks with customers is that the market needs embedded world — especially in times of a pandemic. The virtual format offers new opportunities from which exhibitors and participants benefit. For example, we are planning special time slots in the agenda for participants located in the USA and China to accommodate the different time zones. This most likely would not have been possible at the in-person event.

We are especially pleased about the active participation of exhibitors from all over the world. In addition to companies from the USA, numerous Asian countries such as China, Japan and Taiwan are represented, as well as companies from Europe, even Russia, making embedded world 2021 DIGITAL highly international.

Of course, we also encounter a certain amount of skepticism now and then and have to explain the new format. But that's not surprising; after all, investing in a trade show presence — whether live or virtual — is an important investment for any marketing budget. All in all, the anticipation of embedded world 2021 DIGITAL prevails, and the exhibitors can hardly wait for it to start. Neither can we, by the way!

Panik: The charisma of the staff at an exhibition stand — and, of course, the presentation of the stand — can massively determine how many walk-in customers approach the company. What could make up for this in 2021?

Weyerer: With four exhibitor packages, we have tailored solutions that meet the different requirements of participating companies. We also offer additional, individually bookable services that draw attention to your presence. The key to a successful participation, however, is active involvement before, during, and after the event — even if the event is held virtually. Our participation options, such as presentations in the Exhibitor’s Forum, the matchmaking function, as well as various lead generation options, offer the best conditions for this. Advertising your own presence even now, before the trade show, plays a decisive role. We provide support with customizable assets for digital communication, among other things.

Panik: Trade fairs like yours are an absolute must-have for companies. But many marketers say this may change for all live trade fairs in the post corona future. What's your opinion on this?

Weyerer: Product presentations have been held virtually even prior to Corona, but of course now there is even more focus on digital formats, giving digitization a boost in the trade show industry. Personal exchange however cannot be replaced by purely virtual offerings. The constructive and working atmosphere that characterizes embedded world has to be experienced live, so I'm already looking forward to embedded world 2022!