IEN: Could you please give us some reasons why one shouldn't miss HANNOVER MESSE 2014?
Ogbukagu: To remain competitive, companies need to make their manufacturing processes more efficient, and that means greater investment in state-of-the-art automation technology. Their competitiveness also hinges on access to a reliable, sustainable energy supply. The world's leading providers of automation solutions and energy technology will be showcasing solutions to precisely these challenges at HANNOVER MESSE 2014. The world's leading trade fair for industrial technology is an absolute must for anyone in industry who wants to remain competitive. Hannover is one of the main stops along the road to the factory of the future.
IEN: The lead theme of this year's HANNOVER MESSE is "Integrated Industry - NEXT STEPS". Why is the issue so important for today's industry?
Ogbukagu: Industrial companies need to be able to respond swiftly to changes in the market, while at the same time satisfying the growing demand for product individualization and customization. This requires an intelligent, self-organising factory. Many technologies for implementing this paradigm have been developed over recent years. The next steps are about integrating these technologies into industrial production in such a way that they form a synchronized, harmonized and fully networked whole. And this is precisely the focus of HANNOVER MESSE 2014, namely the steps industry needs to take in order to get from its smart-factory vision to a real-life, integrated Industry factory.
IEN: How will this motto be reflected on the fairground?
Ogbukagu: We will be seeing spectacular demonstrators on the stands of many exhibitors. Themes such as standardization and software security will be discussed in the forum Industrial IT in hall 8. The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence will be displaying a smart factory, demonstrating that many technologies for Integrated Industry are already available today. The next steps will be to implement these technologies into current production processes and facilities. Last but not least, we will be offering our visitors an organized tour that will lead to the Integrated Industry-Highlights on the fairground.
IEN: Are there other important key topics this year?
Ogbukagu: "Integrated Industry - NEXT STEPS" also signals the way forward in the ongoing process of energy system transformation. In this process, the main next steps are to upgrade and expand energy transmission and data networks and to find viable ways of connecting the current conventional energy system with the suppliers of renewable energy. In the future, the smart grids that carry energy and the end devices that consume it will communicate with each other, unlocking colossal potential for energy savings. HANNOVER MESSE is the ideal platform for marshalling future-defining technologies and concrete solutions in the interests of promoting and facilitating the transformation from an outmoded, inflexible energy system to a modern, intelligent energy network.
IEN: Please name some of the highlights of the HANNOVER MESSE.
Ogbukagu: An integral part of HANNOVER MESSE, the HERMES AWARD is one of the world's most important and sought-after technology prizes. The companies nominated for the award will be profiled at the HANNOVER MESSE Opening Ceremony on 6 April, and the winning company will be presented with its prize in the presence of Germany's Chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel. Visitors can take part in one of our guided tours for professional visitors at HANNOVER MESSE 2014.The tours are dedicated to specific themes and together cover the entire scope of the HANNOVER MESSE portfolio.
IEN: The official partner country this year are the Netherlands. What are the specific strengths of the Dutch industry?
Ogbukagu: The Netherlands' mechanical engineering sector is enjoying steady growth and is made up predominantly of highly specialized small and medium enterprises. The country also has an extremely competitive industrial subcontracting sector which supplies components, modules and made-to-order solutions to customers all around the world. The Netherlands are also a shining example of European cross-border industry partnership. Exhibitors and visitors from around the world seeking cooperative ventures with Dutch companies in these sectors will be extremely well positioned to do so at HANNOVER MESSE."
IEN: How many Dutch exhibitors will attend, and where will they be located?
Ogbukagu: The Netherlands will have a central Partner County pavilion in Hall 3 and national pavilions in all of HANNOVER MESSE's main theme areas. The current registration status from the Netherlands already exceeds the past events. The number of exhibitors has grown strongly and the exhibition space has more than doubled. We are expecting around 200 exhibitors from the Netherlands.
IEN: Apart from the trade show itself, which events would you like to highlight that take place during the five days in Hannover?
Ogbukagu: The Global Business & Markets forums and conferences will take an in-depth look at a number of export and investment destinations, including the USA, Japan, the BRIC countries, Latin America, Africa and Europe. The lead themes include investment in new and sustainable technologies, growth initiatives in Europe and sourcing strategies. The upcoming "job and career at HANNOVER MESSE" platform will once again be 100% focused on recruitment and career planning. There, talent-seeking companies will run captivating seminars and showcase their exciting career options at their own exhibition stands and on the multimedia Job Wall.