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Time, space and energy for new ground plans

19 Jun 2020

Are we well prepared for the challenges of the future? – The first months of the crisis triggered by the Corona pandemic have shown that we are indeed: Yes, Germany together with most European countries have responded very well to the acute wave – medically, socially, economically, organisationally and also technologically. Interim balance sheets and a look into the future show that this is the case: The question of a "return to normality" can only be answered by "moving forward to a new normal life".

When contact restrictions will be eased in the coming months and business life in many sectors gets back on track, this will happen in phases and repeatedly with a view to health and pandemic statistics. Seeing this as a mere restriction of individual freedom obscures the ability of our time to use reason and evidence-based knowledge to make important decisions in a timely and well-founded manner, so that solutions can be created for us humans that aim to develop our well-being in freedom, health and security.

Iris Jeglitza-Moshage, Member of the Board of Management Messe Frankfurt (Source: Messe Frankfurt / Pietro Sutera )
Iris Jeglitza-Moshage, Member of the Board of Management Messe Frankfurt

Catalyst Pandemic

The pandemic has brought processes and habits, production and supply chains, trade flows and business encounters to a physical standstill worldwide in a very short time. On the one hand. On the other hand, activities that can be digitally transformed have shifted to the distance communication of the Internet: home office, video conferences, virtual business models and contacts are currently bridging what was previously mainly done in analog form. And it works, with increasing acceptance and competence on the part of employers and employees alike. These digital experiences will hardly be a substitute, but they will be a practical and efficient addition to our new work normality. With a similar spirit of optimisation, we can currently take the effects on our energy use with us: The UN weather organisation WMO expects that the corona-induced standstill of many branches of the economy and the sharp decline in mobility will bring about a recovery of the climate, even if only for a short time. For 2020, carbon dioxide emissions could fall by around six percent.

Corona learnings

The pandemic is no substitute for sustainable climate protection. However, its effects teach us that the pace at which economic activity and personal behaviour restarts is a direct consequence of the fact that it will decide whether to return to the old climate damage or to move forward in a differentiated way to a new normality with more climate protection. Politicians are currently planning economic stimulus packages and have the opportunity to link these impulses for overcoming the pandemic with investment incentives for climate-neutral products, processes and energies.

Tackling the energy revolution – becoming climate-neutral

Basic industries, construction, transport – these large economic sectors are heavily involved in the implementation of the climate targets up to 2050, and the practical experience gained in the first few months of Corona is a useful reason to bring forward investments that are due anyway. After all, the technologies for generating renewable energies are available and are already making a substantial contribution to the electricity supply, both solar and wind, or are awaiting implementation, such as hybrid power-to-gas technologies for storage. Modern energy management and the connection of various building services engineering trades also already enable the demand-driven consumption of electricity, heat, air and water – in industry, the housing industry and private homes. The rapid innovation cycles in home and building technology, fueled by growing demand for resource-saving and convenient solutions from both commercial and private consumers, promise significant efficiency gains across the board.

The drivers of these future technologies are present at leading international trade fairs such as ISH and Light + Building. ISH is the world's No. 1 meeting place for the water, heating and air-conditioning sector and in March 2021 it will be focusing on solutions for the major issues involved in achieving climate protection targets: Digitalisation and networking of energy systems, smart energy management, decentralised energy generation, feed-in and storage from solar power, photovoltaics and e-mobility. And: regenerative energies also include the environmentally friendly new approach of using wood as a fuel – the next ISH will also be "fire and flame" passionate for this technology.

New ground plans for the new distance normality

The new normal life will entail the re-dimensioning of spaces of production, work and encounter in public space. The distance and hygiene requirements imposed by the pandemic regulation will be relevant to future construction and renovation projects, both in terms of construction and building technology. If only the practice of the digital office, which is now being practiced far from the workplace, finds a permanent form, office space can be reduced or made more flexible – between a reduced need for genuine workplaces and larger infrastructures for meetings, workshops, conferences, business encounters and presentations – both locally and internationally. For entrance and traffic areas, architecture, building planning and automation must take new distance and hygiene requirements into account, for example, through visitor guidance and separation, integrated video and access control systems, generously dimensioned retreat and hygiene facilities and the addition of sensor technology for the contact-free control of doors and user interfaces.

At leading trade fairs such as Light + Building, the industries show the future of data-secure connectivity and control of building and security technology. Current topics include the integration of infrared-based video technology in access systems to detect people with elevated body temperature in compliance with data protection regulations. The innovations and adaptations in the existing building stock affect real estate operators and the housing industry to a large extent. For example, innovations in the operation of elevators and escalators will also be rapidly introduced with LED and sensor technology as well as disinfection systems, for example using ultraviolet light.

Hygienic design as a must and trend

The need for hygiene and the associated safety & security for people and infrastructures are the expertise of the participants in the Cleanzone. The trade fair, which meets annually in Frankfurt, shows the innovations for controlling contamination hasards for the entire complex material flow, especially in the cleanroom – and is sure to have important specialist knowledge ready for planners and decision-makers of building-related projects in autumn 2020. The ISH in March 2021 will also provide impulses for hygienic design in everyday life, because contact surfaces such as door handles, fittings, work utensils, seats, handles in means of transport, means of payment and even air circulation contribute to the protection of our health when they can be designed, planned, installed and maintained under new hygiene aspects.

Engine and model for restarting

Trade fairs are the relevant business platforms for getting the economy back on track quickly. Messe Frankfurt sees itself as having this responsibility. As the first choice for business encounters – especially under the Corona changed conditions – we stand for the high quality of personal business contacts and the staging of technologies and products. For this communicative, digitally and also during trade fairs, we take the path of optimal security: we have postponed or suspended the major trade fairs requiring international travel and contact activities from the critical phase to 2021. For their normal operation from 2021 and the safety of exhibitors and visitors, we have taken all the necessary conceptual, technical and organisational measures: Qualified, agile distance and hygiene concepts on site as well as hybrid formats that virtually complement the physical trade fair events. We have the space and the expertise to launch the trade fair business 2020+ in a model way for the new start of the industries: our leading trade fairs and innovation forums are the engines of these relevant sectors, which, by overcoming the current pandemic crisis, are helping to sustainably save our civilisation from a climate crisis.

Five exhibition musts for pandemic situations:

  1. protect people: Avoid risks
  2. seize opportunities: Pursue and promote sustainability goals.
  3. digitalise and optimise the organisation in a sensible way.
  4. hybrid offers for exhibitors, visitors and multipliers: supplement physical business platform with virtual formats.
  5. qualified-agile security on site: Intelligent Distance, Hygienic Design & Operation Security Center (OSC)  

Sources and further reading:

Building Technologies
Home Office brief survey
Corona information of Association of the German Trade Fair Industry
Corona study and event barometer
Messe Frankfurt UN Global Compact Report and OSC for Safety on site

Press material:

Background information on the Building Technologies sector of Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt's Building Technologies events are regarded as the leading trade fair venues for building technology. They form a network for the digitalisation of residential and functional buildings and the integration of technologies for the purpose of smart urban quarters and address all professional decision-makers in procurement, planning, installation, technical application and further development. As a competent partner for innovative events, we not only follow the market, we move it: together with our exhibitors, visitors and partners.

Background information Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt is the world's largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. More than 2,600* employees at 30 locations generate annual sales of around 733* million euros. We are closely networked with our industries. We support the business interests of our customers efficiently within the framework of our business segments "Fairs & Events", "Locations" and "Services". A key unique selling point of the group of companies is its global sales network, which covers all regions of the world. Our comprehensive range of services - onsite and online - guarantees customers worldwide a consistently high level of quality and flexibility in the planning, organization and implementation of their event. The range of services extends from site rental, exhibition stand construction and marketing services to personnel services and catering. The company's headquarters are in Frankfurt am Main. Shareholders are the City of Frankfurt with 60 percent and the State of Hesse with 40 percent.

Further information:

* preliminary key figures 2019