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Architects of our own destiny: the new normal

29 Jan 2021

What to do when a global crisis causes sales to plummet? Hope, wait, ruminate? Make a virtue of necessity, take anticyclical steps – slogans are two a penny nowadays. In many cases, however, the appropriate follow-up actions are not mentioned.

Yes, of course, the challenges are enormous. But sitting back and adopting a wait-and-see approach is certainly not the way forward. On the contrary. Excessive restraint can easily destroy what has been built up over the preceding years and decades. And this applies to international hubs for individual industries, too. An old but still apposite trade-fair adage says that you can either spend half a year flying around the world searching for new products and contacts or visit a leading international trade fair.

For professionals in the building-technology-services field – especially when it comes to current-carrying equipment – this means Light + Building, the world’s leading trade fair for the sector, which will be held again in 2022. Naturally, certain aspects can also be experienced digitally. But not the personal aspects. After all, we humans are extremely inquisitive beings and employ all our senses in the pursuit of innovations. And it does one good to find them before anyone else. Of course, we also like to judge the quality of what we find with all our senses, e.g., the surface texture, weight, material properties, efficiency, user interface, etc., something that is only possible at a physical event.

To this must be added what is, perhaps, the most important aspect: the vibrations. No, not those coming from the product. But from our interlocutor. Honestly, how often have you taken the wrong course of action because the email, text, telephone call or video chat could not convey what was actually intended? Even in 3D or with the aid of virtual reality, it is not possible to reflect all that (and more). When we meet in person, our sensory abilities go far beyond the digital spectrum.

Despite all this, there are exceptions and Light + Building is now placing a greater emphasis than ever before on connectivity in the digital sphere. Naturally, this also includes the international search engine for the field of lighting and building technology: the Light + Building Contactor, an independent gateway open 24/7 offering access to the international ‘who’s who’ of the sector. This platform is used not only by export-oriented start-ups and small to medium-sized companies but also by multi-national corporations, which employ videos, photos and detailed information to present both bestsellers and innovations, as well as provide direct links to manufacturers and contact persons. In other words, ‘Contactor’ is the digital twin of the Light + Building trade fair.

Strategy is always the second step. The first is analysis. Just like at the doctor’s where anamnesis and diagnosis is followed by therapy. In a nutshell, knowledge about the driving forces of the sector is fundamental. Accordingly, Light + Building cooperates with the German Electrical and Electronic Engineering Industry (ZVEI) and the German Central Association of Electrical and Information Technology Contractors (ZVEH) to prepare Top Themes. They, too, are part of the digital event package and rate both current and future challenges and opportunities.

The Light + Building Top Themes spotlight what is driving the sector and why. (Source: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH)
The Light + Building Top Themes spotlight what is driving the sector and why. (Source: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH)

Because it is possible to view the same theme from different perspectives, the digital package also comprises panel discussions with panellists including representatives of both manufacturers and users, which enables them to elaborate, for example, areas of application, advantages and disadvantages as well as potentials. The first event of this kind took place as a live stream in May 2020 and was entitled ‘Managing the smart workspace’. Representatives of Fraunhofer IAO, Bachmann, Waldmann, Comfy/Siemens and Haworth, as well as almost 450 interested decision makers, took advantage of this initiative of Messe Frankfurt and Builtworld, the innovative real-estate ecosystem.

Also part of the digital portfolio of Light + Building: the Building Technology Experts podcasts by and with specialists from all parts of the building-technology-services spectrum – from lighting and design, via automation and sensor technology, to connected safety and security. In these podcasts, experts discuss a variety of selected topics, sometimes even somewhat tongue in cheek.

Chris Boos, advisor to the German government with regard to the future and founder of Arago. (Source: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH)
Chris Boos, advisor to the German government with regard to the future and founder of Arago. (Source: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH)

Video discussions are another part of the digital package. In them, experts analyse projects with which they have been associated, and reveal clearly the challenges faced and the pathway to solutions. The aim is to reduce the workload for other professionals by sharing experiences made, and to open up new perspectives.

For building-services experts and other real-estate specialists, there is hardly anything more interesting than a construction-site tour. With growing digitalisation, buildings are becoming more like organisms. For the best-possible results, all organs must correspond with each other and be aware of the detailed role played by each of them and why. Much illustrative material is already available today, especially in the field of purpose-built properties. Accordingly, Light + Building takes digital visitors on video tours of electrifying buildings.

Structures, surfaces, materials, dimensions, functions and, of course, colours are the vital ingredients of all trends and an inexhaustible source of creativity that designers and architects are only too pleased to tap.


Studied Masterpieces is one of three Light + Building Trend Scenarios prepared by the designers of Trendbüro bora.herke.palmisano. (Source: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH)
Studied Masterpieces is one of three Light + Building Trend Scenarios prepared by the designers of Trendbüro bora.herke.palmisano. (Source: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH)

Anything goes and never before have the target groups been so varied as today. Nevertheless, unequivocal tendencies and differing trends are clearly visible and the designers from bora.herke.palmisano. help structure them. The trend scouts visit innumerable shows, exhibitions, projects and fairs around the world and filter out tomorrow’s trends today – for the Light + Building Trend Forum, too. In this way, they pave the way for others, including manufacturers who are dependent on a continuous, uninterrupted flow of new products. Thus, to know what is coming is a must. In fascinating videos, bora.herka.palmisano. show clearly how the individual trends are taking shape and how they reach their conclusions.

Stay tuned!!

+++ The next Light + Building will be held in Frankfurt am Main from 13 to 18 March 2022. +++

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Background information on Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. The Messe Frankfurt Group employs around 2,500* people in a total of 30 subsidiaries. The company generated annual sales of approximately €250* million in 2020. Even in difficult times caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we are globally networked with our industry sectors. We have close ties with our industry sectors and serve our customers’ business interests efficiently within the framework of our Fairs & Events, Locations and Services business fields. One of the Group’s key USPs is its closely knit global sales network, which extends throughout the world. Our comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. We are expanding our digital expertise with new business models. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. Headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).

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* preliminary figures 2020

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