Drupa 2020 is history – that never happened. Drupa 2021 fell victim to the pandemic as well. But there is still virtual drupa in 2021 and we are all curious on how this experiment is going to work out. After all, a virtual event is almost the opposite to the live, meet and touch drupa we all know. Virtual drupa 2021 is going to take place next week on four days on your screen, from the 20th of April to the 23rd.
Virtual drupa will have several elements:
- An exhibition space
- A networking plaza
- A conference area
The conference area is probably the easiest one to imagine. More than a year of Covid-19 turned us into webinar buffs. The information and entertainment values so far have been quite mixed and virtual drupa will surely be no different (some ideas for better events are here). Different will be the amount of presentations. On the first day alone, I counted 60 (!) presentations. Obviously multiple sessions will run at the same time. Starting at 8 am until 6:30 pm German time it will make for a long day. I am going to long for a beer in the Altstadt of Düsseldorf – sadly this is no option this year. I can’t even imagine how my colleagues and peers in the US are going to cope, with the conference starting in the middle of the night. Surely there will be replays, but the sheer number will be a challenge. And there is no lunch break planned: get your lunch packs ordered, however hold the mugs full of coffee (or other sources of liquid).
Then there is the exhibition space, where companies will show digital representations of their latest products & services. We will be in for more videos and renderings. Not sure how a causal booth browse will work out. I am especially curious how much additional value the virtual exhibits will bring compared to the conference session, which will surely home in on any product news as well.
The third part is the networking plaza. Drupa promises personalised suggestions and AI matchmaking between visitors and exhibitors and a chat in privacy in virtual meeting rooms. Am I in for some sort of Tinder for the graphic arts geeks? Let’s see.
I will be trying to be on for the four days of virtual drupa and get as much sessions covered as I can. Not sure there will be a lot of time left for virtual exhibits and virtual dates. Apart from any interesting product launches covered here. I will answer some of the key questions: How do I get virtual print samples under NDA? Will sore eyes replace the sore feet of drupa? How is the taste of virtual Altbier? Is virtual drupa 2021 the future or just four days passed in front of your screen?