Get real in Hamburg: ITS World Congress 2021 to showcase mobility solutions for the future
With Covid-19, MICE professionals have become experts for ifs, buts and alternatives. The organisers behind the ITS World Congress as the world's largest smart mobility event, this year taking place in Hamburg in October, know all about this.
Nevertheless, they made a very clear decision that this huge showcase of what future mobility holds needs to happen face-to-face, on-site and "for real". With that in mind, the team has built an experience that makes the most of the physical location in times of heightened safety and social distancing.
Purpose deciding event formats
With the pandemic, digital and hybrid formats have impressively proven their potential and capabilities. At the same time, this does not mean that face-to-face will in future be substituted for good but rather that it is now more than ever the purpose of any given event that tips the scales to virtual or physical. The ITS World Congress, taking place every year in another city, embodies this perfectly: The hosting city for this celebration of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) is not "just" the location but an integral and defining part of the event as the real-world stage where the digitalisation of transport is happening.
ITS World Congress with real-life experience at its core
Of the congress's three defining elements congress programme sessions, exhibition, and demonstrations, it is the latter that sit at the heart of the event and require an on-site set-up. The message from the organiser ERTICO - ITS Europe and ITS Hamburg 2021, representing the host city Hamburg for the ITS World Congress 2021, was therefore very clear: There will not be a purely digital ITS World Congress 2021 in Hamburg because knowledge exchange in the field of future mobility needs actual, real-life experience and on-site interaction. This commitment also meant a potential postponement of the event altogether, based on the outcomes of a process of constant monitoring and definition of milestones as a basis for deciding next steps.
Showcasing the long-term benefits of business events
What might for some look like a bold decision to make in times of a pandemic was, in fact, the only choice in order to build the ITS World Congress as an event that stays true to its purpose and to create the basis for delivering the value to attendees that is needed to inspire and engage for lasting success. The up to 15,000 visitors expected in regular times to come to Hamburg for the exhibition and congress at Hamburg Messe and the newly renovated Congress Center Hamburg (CCH) will be able to experience Europe's third largest seaport city as a laboratory for future mobility, allowing insights into how a strategy for introducing intelligent transport systems and services which went hand-in-hand with becoming a host for the ITS World Congress resulted in more than 200 innovative mobility projects. The fact that Hamburg, already a major European logistics hub with a long tradition in transport, has been given another major push towards becoming a model city for future-proof sustainable and integrated mobility and logistics also very neatly shows the impact business events have beyond the actual occasion, highlighting their importance as key drivers for economic development and innovation, which provide a long-term benefit for the public.
Creating engaging experiences for trade and public
Taking attendees out into the field, some 40 technical demonstrations staged in different locations across town cover products and solutions in six core areas, including automated and connected mobility, mobility as a service and intelligent infrastructure. Another important element to facilitate engagement and insights are four mobility transition experience tours showing, e. g., how urban traffic is digitised in Hamburg. All of this, incidentally, is not just for a B2B audience. The Public Day element of the ITS World Congress format has been given a particularly prominent place this year to open up the event and integrate the people who will actually be benefitting from and use so many of the mobility solutions in question. On 14 October, citizens of Hamburg and the surrounding region can therefore attend the exhibition for free and take part in technical demonstration and mobility transition experience tours to experience future mobility.
Just like everything else happening at this year's ITS World Congress, all this is subject to specific safety measures, which include entry subject to vaccination, a negative test or for people who have recovered from Covid-19 as well as contact tracing. The positive booking situation on the exhibitor side and high number of submissions for the congress sessions certainly prove the organising team right in their decision to rule out digital only - the demand for face-to-face business events as platforms for letting people experience progress and innovation is very much alive and showcases such as the ITS World Congress can exemplify their successful execution in our changed industry ecosystem.
For more information on the event, please see www.itsworldcongress.com.