Address the climate crisis with virtual exhibitions

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The climate crisis has been highlighted recently with the terrible fires in Australia. It demonstrates that we must all do our own small part to help save our planet, we only have one, therefore we need to look after it.

I usually attend Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) show, which holds its final event in Amsterdam this year, before moving on to Barcelona from 2021. It is a four-day trade show, and is the place to be seen if you are part of the audio visual world. It is an opportunity to network, find new products and meet up with customers.

It was over Christmas that I had an interesting thought, what about virtual exhibitions? What if I did ISE remotely? I’m not sure what inspired this change of heart, perhaps Greta Thunberg has worked her magic regarding reducing travel. However, once I’d mulled it over and discussed it with Jayne, we decided that this was the best solution.

Reducing travel

The idea must have been in my mind for some time before coming to fruition as on the last two occasions I had travelled to ISE by train. While more comfortable, relaxing and environmentally friendly than flying, it still has an impact on our planet.

I have noticed in previous years, that once you have signed up to attend the event you get sent numerous emails from manufacturers and distributors. There are so many that you just don’t have time to read them all. My thinking was, I could stay at home and peruse these at my leisure, without having to travel, while still learning about what is happening at the show and be able to identify and target exactly what interests me.

A virtual event

So, the question going around in my head was, ‘can I do this virtually?’ As an industry we keep telling clients they should be investing in conference solutions, with the benefit of reducing travel time and costs. It also reduces the stress associated with travel, which includes delays at airports or on the roads, neither of which are good for us.

Attending ISE remotely and using the resources we have seems quite logical and natural. I’m also setting up some meetings via Zoom so that exhibitors can walk us around their stands, and we can discuss and arrange further meetings when they have more time and energy.

Physical impact

Another driver for this decision, besides the environmental impact, is what physical impact of attending such shows has on us human animals. Spending so many hours inside each day is not good for your body or mind. It’s common for my friends and colleagues in the industry to feel fatigued after attending trade shows and exhibitions.

Also, running my own business I’m mindful of being away from it for too long. If I’m at an event for several days quality project management becomes challenging. This can be a real stress point so by not attending I’m taking that away too.

Another benefit was saving on the costs of the visit. Although this was not the highest priority, we decided it could be put towards helping the planet.

The benefits

There are a lot of benefits from reducing travel, stress and fatigue but I’m keen to concentrate on the project we are planning to support with our cost savings.

On a recent trip to west Wales, we went to the beautiful beaches of the Pembrokeshire National Park and came across a brilliant concept, the #2minutebeachclean.

By one of the shops was a beach cleaning station, which is made up of an A-board, two litter pickers and some reusable, recycled plastic bags. The board simply asks people to take two minutes to clean up what they can, utter genius! We took this on and spent an hour or so collecting as much as we could and in doing so got around five carrier bags of plastic items.

Virtual ISE is going to allow us to purchase a board and take it on tour locally. This will directly benefit our own area by reducing litter and also make a broader difference. Did you know that litter and plastic waste dropped on our streets makes its way to some form of watercourse and will eventually end up in our magnificent oceans harming the wildlife?

So, take a moment to look outside your office, mindfully notice the litter and if you are interested in workplace wellbeing, why not get your staff involved? Litter picking is actually quite mindful allowing your brain to relax, it improves wellbeing through movement, it helps the environment, and your staff might even strike up new friendships with their colleagues or have bright ideas on the move.

This initiative was set up by the 2 Minute Foundation check it out to see how you can support your wellbeing at work and help save our planet.

So, we look forward to an exciting #ISE2020 meeting old friends and making some new ones. Do you have some innovative technology you’d like us to see?  Get in touch and we’ll meet you there, virtually.

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Michael Cox

As the audio visual consultant and co-founder of Fusion Spaces, I provide intelligent sustainable solutions to technological problems.

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