With the pandemic at varying stages in different destinations across the world, the ability to host live events is now very much dependent on what restrictions are in place where organisers are based. This means that while some destinations are getting back to some sense of normality as far as business events are concerned, others are still a long way off from recovery.
Wherever you are in the road to recovery, collaboration and sharing real live practical examples of how to deliver events safely is vital, and one destination we can all learn from is Singapore. As the world adapts to living with COVID-19, Singapore stands as a thought leader at the forefront of reimagining MICE, and its recent pilot events are testament to what can be achieved with strong protocols in place, careful planning and adopting new innovations and technologies.
To pave the way for the safe and calibrated resumption of larger MICE events in 2022, Singapore identified four pilot events, which took place in October and November, to trial new innovations. We share at some of the highlights…
Joint Leadership Summit of event industry associations AEO, SACEOS, SISO and UFI
5-7 October 2021
This three-day summit represented the first in-person meeting of ASEAN government ministers, major global organisers, trade association leaders and tourism bureau chiefs since the start of the pandemic.
Supported by Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the summit took place at the Fullerton Hotel and was co-organised by the Singapore Association for Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS), Association of Event Organisers (AEO), Society for Independent Show Organisers (SISO) and UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.
Given that the aim of the summit was to create an action plan for the safe reopening of the business events industry in the region, it was essential that the event itself adhered to stringent health and safety protocols throughout.
The venue and event suppliers were accredited with the SG SafeEvent Certification, a first-of-its-kind programme aimed at providing a mark of assurance to enterprises in adhering to the highest standards of hygiene and safe management practices at events. A special pre-arrival collection procedure was also put in place for international arrivals, who all received a pre-event kit developed by SAECOS.
The event showcased Singapore’s readiness to bring back MICE events and restart inter- and intra-regional travel in a safe manner.
14-17 October 2021
Held at the Suntec Convention Centre, this event marked the debut of the highly anticipated Asian edition of gamescom – one of Europe’s leading trade fairs for video games. The hybrid event, organised by Koelnmesse Singapore, attracted more than 2,200 physical and virtual attendees from 60 countries.
Reflecting the event’s hybrid nature, gamescom asia employed the use of innovative technology to seamlessly bring together both physical and online speakers and attendees. The online Trade Zone hit a record high of 41,000 interactions between attendees, sponsors and exhibitors, while the consumer Entertainment Zone reached over four million viewers.
A key component of gamescom asia’s success was due to the attention taken towards designing and implementing safety protocols. To ensure the safety of in-person delegates, all attendees had to be fully COVID-vaccinated and undergo daily pre-event testing. This was implemented as part of a new protocol trialled at the event, which enabled less restrictive safe management measures once at the show. For example, zoning requirements were lifted to facilitate networking.
The success of the event was achieved with an innovative mindset that saw technology not only used to overcome challenges, but to bring the industry forward. gamescom asia represents a landmark for Singapore’s gaming industry as well as setting the tone for what can be achieved for all future events in Singapore.
Bloomberg New Economy Forum
16-19 November 2021
The fourth annual Bloomberg New Economy Forum convened current and former heads of state, global CEOs and public sector leaders in-person at the Capella Hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa island.
The 300-strong delegation from 51 countries included high-profile figures such as Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mike Bloomberg (Founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and former three-term Mayor of New York City), Dan Schulman (President and CEO of PayPal), David Solomon (Chairman and CEO of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.), Michael Miebach (CEO of Mastercard) and Ritesh Agarwal (Founder and Chief Executive Officer of OYO).
The organisers worked closely with the Singapore Government on protocols to provide a safe environment for its in-person delegates, enabling them to focus on the discussions around the positive work of connecting developed and developing economies.
As with Gamescom, all attendees had to be fully COVID-vaccinated and undergo daily pre-event testing. To ensure a safe environment for the delegates to meet in, necessary measures to ensure health and safety were applied, including the deployment and use of Singapore’s TraceTogether system, SafeEntry digital check-in and mandatory mask wearing while maintaining one metre safe distancing between individuals.
Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific (ITAP)
22-24 November 2021.
Singapore’s biggest in-person trade event since COVID-19 restrictions began to ease – the fourth edition of Industrial Transformation ASIA PACIFIC (ITAP) was dedicated to “Industry 4.0”, bringing together key manufacturing sectors in the region to start, scale and sustain their business transformation journey.
Held at the Singapore EXPO Convention & Exhibition Centre, the three-day event attracted more than 11,000 in-person and virtual attendees from 70 countries, with more than 150 content sessions in total.
The event’s organisers road-tested new safe event tools and technologies, including the Safe Event platform, which was developed by local tech companies Viatick and Trakomatic in response to a challenge to make events safer on the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s Open Innovation Platform.
It includes a tracking dongle that monitors anonymised visitor movements and dwell times, helping organisers identify busy hotspots and manage capacity at events. There was a touchless check-in system that used facial-recognition technology to fast-track the printing of delegate passes, reducing queuing and physical contact on arrival, while Transforma Robotics deployed its Extreme Disinfection Robot XDA300 – an automated cleaning machine that helped keep the show floor safe and sanitised for attendees.
Jean-Francois Quentin, CEO of ITAP organiser Constellar said: “ITAP 2021 has renewed confidence and optimism in the return of business activity and events, proving the effectiveness of Safe Management Measures as we look forward to further easing of capacity restrictions and the return of B2C events.”