2,500 to attend largest trade show since Covid-19 hit

Pilot event at MBS will utilise technology to ensure guests comply with safety measures

Robots will be deployed for the Architecture & Building Services event at Marina Bay Sands, including at the entrances of the exhibition halls, to record SafeEntry information of guests and take their temperature.
Robots will be deployed for the Architecture & Building Services event at Marina Bay Sands, including at the entrances of the exhibition halls, to record SafeEntry information of guests and take their temperature.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Some 2,500 in-person business visitors, delegates and exhibitors will gather over three days for a trade show at Marina Bay Sands from June 30, in the largest such pilot since the Covid-19 outbreak.

Organised by Conference and Exhibition Management Services (CEMS), the Architecture & Building Services event will have double the number of in-person attendees compared with the first two pilot large-scale meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) events.

There were about 1,000 in-person participants over two days at Geo Connect Asia, which was held last month, and TravelRevive, held last November.

All three events were organised under the newly developed hybrid event trade show prototype for safe business events, safe itineraries and digital enabler tools, as part of a collaboration under one of the Emerging Stronger Taskforce's Alliance for Action groups.

Another 5,000 virtual attendees are expected at the latest event, which focuses on the built environment and its related sectors, such as safety and facilities management.

To manage the higher number of attendees, the 11,620 sq m exhibition space will be divided into four zones, with four rotating groups comprising 50 people each, spending about 30 minutes in each zone.

Another batch, consisting of another four groups, will enter the exhibition hall after the previous batch completes the two-hour process, with four batches per day.

Technology will also be used to ensure that guests comply with safe management measures.

Robots will be deployed for the event, including at the entrances of the exhibition halls, to record the SafeEntry information of guests and conduct temperature screening.

The CG5 ServBot, which can take the temperature of three people at one go, will help to reduce the manpower needed to be stationed at each entrance. It is currently used at about 50 retail and food and beverage outlets in Singapore.

CEMS managing director Edward Liu said the company is in talks with local technology companies Viatick and Trakomatic to provide solutions used at previous events, such as a Bluetooth-tracking dongle used to flag unauthorised interactions between participants from different zones at last month's Geo Connect Asia, an event focusing on location-based data tech.

In line with the new regulations announced last month by the Ministry of Health, from April 24, those going to Mice events with more than 250 attendees will have to undergo pre-event testing. All local vaccinated attendees who have had time to develop sufficient protection will not have to be tested.

The Mice industry plays an important role in Singapore, supporting more than 34,000 jobs with an economic value add of $3.8 billion, or nearly 1 per cent of gross domestic product, according to a survey commissioned by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in 2019.

Mice business travellers are also high-yield visitors who boost spending in the lifestyle and hospitality sectors. But the Mice industry is among the sectors most severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Andrew Phua, STB's executive director of exhibitions and conferences, said pilots like the Architecture & Building Services event are aimed at proving that larger Mice events can be held safely.

"We will continue to guide and support the industry to build new capabilities, and reimagine the future of Mice events so that the industry will emerge stronger from Covid-19."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2021, with the headline '2,500 to attend largest trade show since Covid-19 hit'. Subscribe