Can a virtual.drupa event help the actual event in 2024?

Overcoming the fatigue of business erosion and the pandemic with drupa event

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virtual.drupa event
From the drupa trend reports published in anticipation of drupa 2020 Messe Dusseldorf

https://packagingsouthasia.com/events/kodak-at-virtual-drupa-2021/Although almost 150 companies have signed up for stands at the virtual.drupa event from 20 to 23 April 2021, I think the event is perhaps a year too late. Last year, with the exhibition belatedly postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies in May’s drupa time tried out their virtual muscles with webinars, expos, and demos. Many of these seemed timely diversions for those of us primed for the event.

This year it seems that Messe Dusseldorf themselves are thinking that before the virtual swallows up the entirety of the natural world, they should try their hand at the new way of sharing information and showing equipment running that are crucial for selling capital equipment.

The majority of small and medium print industry businesses are now fatigued by the past year’s pandemic events and the erosion of the economy and their markets by lockdowns. Just when it seemed that the new financial year starting in April held some hope with a formidable rollout of vaccinations, the second wave of the pandemic with new mutant strains has again created an atmosphere of ambiguity.

While it will take great focus to pull off the virtual.drupa event in April, it will not likely attract as many Indian and South Asian printers as the real thing. It may offer an escape valve from the tragic reality of economies laid low for a second consecutive year. Exhibitions are, after all, an efficient way of keeping up with change, opportunity, and innovation. Having understood the importance of the quadrennial event in its absence – both manufacturers and printers and converters crave a live drupa-like event.

Virtual.drupa event will include 150-170 exhibitors around 33 countries

From 20 to 23 April 2021, the virtual.drupa event will take place as a heavyweight digital industry event. It may have as many as 150 to 170 leading exhibitors from around 33 countries – less than a tenth of a real drupa. It will focus on innovations and future technologies for the global print and packaging community, especially in its conference area.

The organizers promise an English-language program with insights into global business trends and best practices in the Conference Area. We can expect presentations from the five special forums ‘drupa cube,’ ‘touchpoint packaging,’ ‘touchpoint textile,’ ‘drupa next age,’ and ‘3D fab+print.’ Of these, touchpoint textile is a new addition to the drupa menu.

Apart from the 128 live web sessions in the exhibition area, several outstanding presentations, panel discussions, and best cases will be presented in over 2,700 minutes in the conference area. Global industry experts, renowned brand owners, and popular speakers from vertical markets will provide insights with keynote speeches.

Knowledge can be downloaded in two continuous live streams between 10 am and 6 pm CEST (from 1230 pm to 830 pm Indian time). The four themes Artificial Intelligence, Circular Economy, Connected Consumer, and Platform Economy, will offer orientation to the participants as theme days during the trade fair.

The extensive lecture program in the conference area

Dr. Erica Walker, assistant professor at Clemson University, will introduce ColorNet in her lecture – An artificial intelligence solution to manage brand colors on screen. This is described as a revolutionary solution that uses artificial intelligence to correct colors in real-time video transmissions. 20 April 2021 from 01:50 pm till 02:10 pm CEST.

Andrew Manly, communications director at AIPIA (the Active & Intelligent Packaging Industry Association), will talk about – The Digitization of Packaging: How new printing technologies are changing the packaging landscape. Manly will cover unique packaging printing solutions, giving examples of the latest packaging printing technologies on 22 April 2021 from 11:40 am till 12 pm CEST.

Ryan McAbee, director of Production Workflow at Keypoint Intelligence, will speak on – The Print Ecosystem Needs Platforms – about the workflows in the printing and packaging industry – on 23 Aprll 2021 from 05:30 pm till 05:50 pm CEST.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.

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