Home5GIndustry 4.0 loses its Spring-board, as Hannover Messe delayed for coronavirus

Industry 4.0 loses its Spring-board, as Hannover Messe delayed for coronavirus

This year’s Hannover Messe trade fair, arguably the second biggest event for the telecoms market in Europe, has been postponed until July.

Deutsche Messe, which runs the show, made the announcement today (March 4), to put the event back by two months on account of global developments related to coronavirus. The event had been set for April 20-24; it has been rescheduled for July 13-17.

The move follows the late-notice cancellation of MWC 2020 last month by the GSMA, an event expected to play host to around 100,000 people from around the world at the Fira fairground in Barcelona, in Spain. Between these two, Embedded World in Nuremberg (March 24-27) went ahead as scheduled, albeit with fewer exhibitors as a number pulled out.

Industrial trade fair Hannover Messe, an increasingly important event for the telecoms sector as it seeks to spring the Industry 4.0 movement with wireless technologies, hosts over 250,000 people. 

The two shows have worked in recent seasons as bookends, and counterpoints, to the early-season hype around digital transformation, with MWC setting the tone for the telco market’s new assault on sundry industrial sectors, and the Hannover Messe, with a large showing from the German industrial market, seeking a more moderate tone.  

The 2019 edition of Hannover Messe saw major involvement from the likes of Nokia and Qualcomm, alongside German telecoms giant Deutcshe Telekom, rubbing shoulders with the giants of German industry, in the shape of Bosch, Siemens, and Volkswagen, notably. At the same time, these industrialists have sought floor-time at MWC, in recent years. 

The two shows have, together, set the narrative for the interplay between telecoms and industry in recent years; their disruption at the start of 2020 means the story is developing — with notable announcements around industrial 5G in recent days from Lufthansa, in conjunction with Vodafone and Nokia, and BMW, with Deutsche Telekom — with less fanfare. 

The postponement of Hannover Messe 2020, which may turn into cancellation if coronavirus goes unimpeded, was taken with the Hannover Region Health Authority and the Hannover Messe Exhibitors’ Council, as well the two show partners, the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) and German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI).

The Hannover Region Health Authority had recommended Deutsche Messe follow the advice of the Robert Koch Institute for safeguarding health at major events, which included stopping entry to those from risk areas, and installing “fever measuring stations at all entrances”.

Deutsche Messe said such measures, in the end, made the event untenable. “This would have entailed a comprehensive evaluation of all trade fair participants – from exhibitors and visitors to service providers, exhibit builders and catering companies,” it said.

It added: “Deutsche Messe is unable to implement the proposed measures. In addition, their implementation would impair the staging of the event to such an extent that the event would not fulfill its purpose or would do so only with considerable restrictions for exhibitors and visitors.”

Deutsche Messe said the new mid-July date represents the “earliest possible time slot”. Jochen Köckler, chairman of the board at Deutsche Messe, said: “The new date offers great opportunities. Thus the world’s most important industrial trade fair can provide important impetus for the global economy at an early stage.”

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