Why Electronics Trade Fairs Matter

By Amy Goetzman | June 25, 2019

HARTING’s Philip Harting is the new chairman of the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA). So what does that mean for the connector world?

Philip HartingFor the next three years, Philip Harting, chairman of the board of the HARTING Technology Group, will also serve as chairman of the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA). As Germany hosts several critical electronics industry events, including HANNOVER MESSE and electronica, the activities led by this association have global implications for the electronics and connector industries. We spoke to Harting to learn what he hopes to accomplish during his tenure.

What will your new role with AUMA involve?
As the AUMA chairperson, I will be able to represent the interests of the trade fair sector vis-á-vis the political arena, the general public, and other organizations and associations in an effective manner and drive the further development of the trade fairs. Within the context of international competition, Germany, as one of world’s leading trade fair venues, needs the acknowledgement and support of government and business decision-makers.

How were you involved with the organization in the past?
I have been active as an AUMA board member since 2008. Ever since the inception of the HANNOVER MESSE back in 1947, HARTING has always ranked among the regular exhibitors. Worldwide, we are present at more than 100 trade fairs. Consequently, I am quite familiar with all the topics and issues revolving around trade fairs from my many years of experience, and I am well aware of the significance of trade fairs for the economy and industry, especially in our age of digitalization. This has been and will remain part and parcel of my work as board member.

HARTING exhibit at the electronica 2018 trade fair

The HARTING exhibit at electronica 2018.

Why it is important to have a leader from the electronics industry involved with AUMA?
The electrical engineering industry is one of Germany’s most significant sectors and is one of the key exhibitors at the HANNOVER MESSE and the SPS, as well as at the electronica trade fairs in Germany and abroad. Therefore, it is important that a representative of this branch is on the AUMA board. AUMA represents the interests of the exhibitors, the trade fair organizers and operators, as well as those of the fairgoers.

Is there anything unique about the way trade shows in Germany serve the electronics world?
Let me cite one salient example: At the HANNOVER MESSE 2011, the term “Industry 4.0” was presented to the general public for the first time. This was a decisive step, as it placed a strong focus on the issues of integrated industry and its significance and complexity, especially for the technology sector.

HARTING exhibit at the electronica 2018 trade fair

The HARTING exhibit at electronica 2018.

Why are trade fairs so important for our industry?
Leading trade fairs such as HANNOVER MESSE, BAUMA, Light & Building, Agritechnica, or Innotrans are exceptionally important for Germany as an exporting nation, and they are simply the best medium for globally active subject matter experts to make contacts and interact with customers, partners, and potential employees worldwide. This is why AUMA calls for stronger economic policy support on the part of our government. High-level politicians at trade fairs can act as door openers, especially for subject matter experts.

How can product designers benefit from attending a trade show?
Trade fairs are international meeting venues, showcases for performance, and venues for knowledge and innovation transfer. Ultimately, this also benefits product designers and developers.

With interactive websites and modeling available, why is it still important to attend fairs?
Direct contact with customers, partners, and the global presentation of sectors and leading companies is the strength of trade fairs. This is where the various branches and sectors mix and mingle, where individuals involved in the economy, the corporate arena, policy-makers as well as scientists dialog and interact. Trade fairs are an international forum that cannot be replaced by marketing tools and other forms of media.

Like this article? Check out our other Connector Industry News articles, our HARTING and Industry 4.0 coverage, and our 2019 Article Archive.

Amy Goetzman
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