Exhibition News November 2018 - Page 28

COVER FEATURE “It’s hard enough figuring out what construction means, let alone throwing around robotics or artificial intelligence” Top left and below: Exploring the latest tech at Digital Construction Week. Top right: Ecobuild 2018 – Oliver Hughes 28 robotics or artificial intelligence. We wanted to build a show that bridged the gap between some of these technologies and our industry.” The audience of Digital Construction Week, says Hughes, is an interesting combination of architects, engineers, big infrastructure, ‘cool tech geeks’ and decision-makers from the ‘built environment’ sector. “They’re quite traditional in some ways, but ready to learn,” he adds. “They’ve got big challenges and want to find out about these things.” The show is its share of big exhibitors and sponsors, but it also provides an exhibiting option for young startups who couldn’t otherwise come to the show. “They might help a company innovate. Maybe they get to meet someone at [construction giant] BAM, BAM has a problem, they’ve got a solution and it develops an idea,” continues Hughes. “We build the startup village; it’s a cheap way of them exhibiting. They get selected and they just plug in and play, like the pods you would get at a conference. Most of them get a chance to speak on one of the stages as well. We're quite lucky in that regard, because people coming to our show genuinely want to find out what they've got to offer. For a lot of them it’s new, and it’s complex.” Looking to the future The final organiser EN speaks to is Futurebuild Events. Futurebuild (previously Ecobuild) has expanded its focus ahead of its March 2019 event, aiming to ‘explore the latest thinking and debate the biggest issues facing the built environment – now and in the future’, with eco/sustainability issues a section of the show rather than the central focus. November 2018 | exhibitionnews.co.uk Those issues, however, do still dictate how the show operates, with the 2018 event having an aim to deliver zero waste to landfill and, like UK Construction Week, working closely with the Considerate Contractors Scheme. EN asks MD Martin Hurn what he thinks makes the construction industry unique. “The construction industry is so huge, with so many sectors and specialisms – there are a million niches for an event to cater for and entertain,” he explains. “The role of the construction industry is so broad – from planning and design of roads to construction of high-rise office buildings, and installation of utility infrastructure to manufacturing specialist materials for hospitals – there’s so much to explore and so many topics to discuss.” Like the other events covered in this feature, Futurebuild has a diverse array of content sessions, split into Futurebuild Hubs and covering topics such as materials, waste, urban infrastructure and energy. “Because the industry is so large, complex, and critical to us all in our everyday lives, the need to provide inspiring, thought-provoking and solutions-focused content is critical,” continues Hurn. “Futurebuild is created by the industry for the industry, based on input and feedback from those across the industry. But it’s so much more than just another event – it truly is a platform for forward thinking professionals to come together to discuss the biggest issues and agree action plans for tangible, positive change. “We’re not about the glitz of BBC presenters, we make sure we’re working with the right industry-leading partners to create and present our seminar and conference sessions – like having a RIBA architect on our conference curation panel – meaning we’re delivering exactly the conversations and debates our visitors want to be part of. “We know our exhibitors inside-out and can pinpoint who they need to speak to, so our team works to curate and educate our visitors so the time spent at Futurebuild is as valuable as possible. We also know exactly what our visitors want from our exhibitors, so we ensure Futurebuild is more than just row upon row of static stands. Our aim is to deliver an unmissable experience featuring truly unique elements such as exclusive installations, new technology demonstrations, inspiring speakers and full scale builds that attendees can touch and feel.” All four of the organisers EN talks to are at the helm of growing events, steering an industry through an era of unprecedented change and scrutiny. If events are a reflection of an industry they service, then surely this is a cause for celebration. EN