Singapore Expo & Max Atria has had its first in-person Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) event since the space was repurposed as a community care facility during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The opening ceremony of the third Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific (ITAP) event, the region's go-to platform for exploring Industry 4.0 solutions, was a hybrid one yesterday.
A small group of 100 attendees sat 1m apart from one another, while some 5,000 other participants from 50 countries watched the event online.
Ending tomorrow, ITAP has gone hybrid for the first time, with virtual activities and live-streamed events being held on a platform powered by artificial intelligence. It is also working with other exhibitors to conduct in-person activities held at other locations.
ITAP is one of the events signalling the safe restart of Singapore's business events industry, with hybridisation and reinforced safe event management measures in place, event organiser SingEx said.
At yesterday's opening ceremony, attendees were divided into zones of at most 50 people, with participants in each zone further separated into groups of 10 or 20. People were not allowed to mingle across groups, with various dividers demarcating areas for each. Every group had a designated entrance. Staggered timings for arrival and departure for each group were also implemented.
During lunch, each group was further divided into sections of five at most and participants were given individually packed meals, with food preferences selected from a digital menu.
While the opening ceremony was attended by a live studio audience, it was also broadcast on Web platform ITAP Connected, which was designed by SingEx.
The platform allows event participants to find content personalised to their preferences, seek out networking opportunities and even explore a 3D Smart Factory.
They can also attend physical bolt-on activities, such as small engagement tours to locations in Singapore that showcase industrial transformation and how Industry 4.0 concepts can be deployed. The in-person activities will be streamed concurrently for virtual participants.
SingEx said: "With Covid-19 accelerating the pace at which event formats must continually evolve to meet customers' needs, industry stakeholders' continued participation in trade events like ITAP cannot be taken for granted."
Mr James Boey, SingEx events business executive director, said: "(The event) is all about connecting people, businesses and ideas, and the challenges from Covid-19 brought (about) immense opportunities to redefine the future of how we engage with one another, providing rich observations, learning and insights for industries as they build resilience or pivot to survive and thrive."
He added that SingEx worked with partners to make sure that the Max Atria is safe to use, with high-grade filtration systems in the air-conditioning to ensure participants get fresh air and facilities like escalators frequently sanitised.
"It is important because we want to make sure that we give confidence to all participants and organisers that the Max Atria is indeed a very safe environment, a very safe property for participants to come back again and do business," he said.
Mr Graham Conlon, head of digital supply chain for SAP Asia Pacific and Japan, one of the exhibitors, said: "One of the key benefits of a hybrid event is that it enables more people to attend and access the content, hear from industry experts and 'experience' the technology. With online sessions recorded, delegates also have the ability to listen to interesting tracks again at a time which suits their schedule."