What we learnt from MEDICA. A review of i4’s experience as one of the 4,900 exhibitors. Posted by: Nick Anderson on 12/11/2015

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It was a long time in the making but last November saw i4 attend the world’s largest medical device exhibition. The business team dedicated the months prior to the event contacting fellow exhibitors to arrange meetings, ensuring we made the most of this once a year opportunity. It’s a time where all device manufacturers gather under “one roof” to present their latest products. This one roof just happens to consist of 2.85 million square feet of exhibition space spread under 17 different roofs. Even looking at the enormity of “Messe Düsseldorf” makes your feet hurt with anticipation of the miles yet to be walked. 

Our time in Germany started the day before the show opened. We were in Dusseldorf early to set up our space within the Scottish Pavilion in Hall 16. Several of the i4 design team had chipped in to prepare graphics for the stand and coordinate the logistics for the transfer of our client’s products so they could be displayed on the i4 stand. With great relief the Touch Bionics hand and Optos Daytona retinal scanner arrived safe and sound! When we entered the hall there was organised chaos all around. The aisles were strewn with packaging material and stands yet to be finished by the tired looking tradesmen who were working round the clock to erect the 4,900 stands at this year’s exhibition.

This was the first year i4 exhibited at MEDICA and to keep costs down we joined with other companies co-exhibiting under the Association of British Healthcare Industries. Attending the event as an exhibitor for the full 4 days is a sizeable investment with hotel prices being raised to astronomical prices during the show. A hot tip for 2016 is to stay in the city of Cologne where you are promised far more value for money and is only 25 minutes from Dusseldorf by train. 

Each days of the event saw the corridors between the stands packed with visitors. Another key piece of advice is to arrive as early as possible to miss the squeeze on the trams which carry the majority of visitors to and from the event each day. There was a slight tapering off on the final day which is now a Thursday. Most day visitors to the event are device distributors, component manufacturers and suppliers. Armed with this prior knowledge the team were kept busy with pre-arranged meetings around the exhibition which resulted in many interesting discussions and potential collaborations.

 

Some highlights during the event included the Scottish Pavilions whisky tasting and ear-splitting bagpipe performance on the Monday. We still aren’t sure whether the bagpipes attracted or deterred visitors to the stand… Later that evening Brian also spoke during the “Presenting British Excellence” session. 

Besides meeting potential clients, MEDICA also proved to be useful in gathering intelligence on where investment seems to be flowing at present within the medical industry. Interestingly, amongst the many innovative product manufacturers there were also specific pavilions where hundreds upon hundreds of companies were dedicated to simply manufacturing low cost “me too” copies of existing devices. Both parts of the exhibition were equally busy which reflects the need for both sides of the equation (innovation and cost saving) within healthcare.

As we continue to follow-up on the conversations we’ve had at this year’s event, in the back of our minds we are already eagerly preparing for our participation at MEDICA 2016.

On a final note we would like to thank our colleagues at Scottish Development International for their hospitality during the show and their continued ongoing support.

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