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adesso helps transform Hannover Messe 2021 into a top-class digital event

During the global pandemic, event organisers have been left no other choice than to plan their events as digital-only experiences and appeal to visitors with exciting online formats. Hannover Messe has been particularly successful in this area, pulling in 90,000 paying visitors in April with its innovative trade fair platform. The concept was put together with the involvement of adesso as a member of a consortium of IT service providers. The digitalisation specialist also successfully implemented the online edition of gamescom in 2020.

A trade fair in a pandemic? No problem, as Hannover Messe demonstrated impressively in April on its originally scheduled dates. The event took place in the spring sunshine of the Hannover Messe fairground, but was also open to visitors around the world via the trade fair’s online platform. Across five days, the world’s leading industry trade fair delivered an exciting mix of online debates, live showrooms and face-to-face meetings with the help of video and chat functions. Attendees were even able to follow the opening ceremony, featuring German Chancellor Angela Merkel, from the comfort of their own home. All in all, the event attracted 90,000 attendees over five days and generated more than 3.5 million page views and 700,000 search queries for exhibitors and products.

Went over the stage with the support of adesso: Digital Hannover Messe 2021 (Copyright: Hannover Messe)

The 2021 edition of Hannover Messe centred on an adesso-developed web application that already forms the basis for the existing Hannover Messe website. The application featured a standardised design throughout all relevant areas and reliably coped with high server loads, allowing visitors and exhibitors to engage with one another just like they would at a physical event.

adesso, an experienced provider of IT solutions for trade fairs and congresses, has been a Deutsche Messe AG partner for over a decade. All of the organiser’s requirements and ideas were implemented on schedule despite the tight time frame. The resulting solution was designed as a modular system, with components that Deutsche Messe AG can also deploy for other digital or hybrid events.

The trade fair platform is based on the FirstSpirit content management system and also draws on external streaming and video services. adesso enhanced the platform with the addition of an innovative Amazon Chime-based business meeting function, which enabled attendees to arrange video calls with exhibitors and also offered search and matchmaking functions and appointment management.

The legacy systems for exhibitors and their product presentations were converted for digital-only or hybrid event formats and now offer exhibitors the chance to maintain their trade fair presence all year round. This was a particularly notable digital benefit for attendees, exhibitors and the trade fair itself, as the sale of after-show tickets for on-demand content allows major events previously only taking place annually to be expanded into permanent informative exhibitions.

Hannover Messe has also reached countless new exhibitors and visitors thanks to its wide range of digital offerings, increasing its coverage and reinforcing the brand’s status as the world’s most important industry trade fair. “The trade fair concept definitely works well online if organisers can deliver inspiring content and diverse formats,” says Dr Jochen Köckler, Chairman of the Managing Board of Deutsche Messe AG. “Together with adesso and our other partners, we have given Hannover Messe a new digital face and demonstrated what the future of the trade fair business looks like. We are becoming more independent from external factors and leveraging new revenue opportunities.”

There were also positive conclusions to be drawn from the provider’s side. “adesso has the industry experience, the technical expertise and the resources to put major events online quickly and reliably,” says Dr Jan Petersen, Head of the Software Development Competence Centre at adesso. “As a result, we can position ourselves as a digitalisation partner for trade fair and event organisers, as gamescom and Hannover Messe have shown. As a long-term partner of both trade fairs, we helped the organisers defy the coronavirus pandemic, establish trade fair experiences online and build up digital business models. After all, the future of trade fairs definitely lies in digital and hybrid formats.”

Next year Deutsche Messe aims to organise Hannover Messe, the world’s leading industry trade fair, as a hybrid event from 25 to 29 April 2022. The organisers already feel well prepared for the digital component.

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