We were delighted to receive a guest blog post from the editorial team at DFA Media, who share the latest from the publication, including details on the Talking Industry Live event due to take place 5-7th April 2022. 

When Andy Pye first met up with DFA Media in December 2019 to discuss a new post, neither party could have anticipated what was just around the corner. Within a few months, the country was in lockdown and the world that we knew was turned upside down.

Andy started his new position on 1st April 2020 as consultant editor, working alongside the editors of Smart Machines & Factories, PWE and Drives & Controls, Aaron Blutstein and Tony Sacks.

It was an inauspicious day of the year if ever there was one, and the industrial economy was not overly optimistic. In fact, it took Andy 14 months to make a physical appearance at the DFA Media Tonbridge offices, almost certainly the latest he has ever been for work!

Within a few weeks, everything had moved onto Zoom (other brands are available) and he settled into a full programme of online meetings and webinars. Through extra-curricular activities in cricket and politics, he quickly learned how to run Zoom webinars attracting several hundred registrants.

Talking Industry – freeform style

It was here that the beginnings of the Talking Industry series of webinars were born. The idea was to create a series of webinars that were not the usual well-rehearsed company presentations, but a freeform discussion more akin to Question Time than a party-political broadcast. Questions are therefore not pre-planned but are based on what the registrants’ place in the chat.

Tentatively, the ideas were sold to some pioneering clients and our first edition was born in July 2020. It featured Anthony Pickering, President of Nidec Control Techniques, who explained how the factory in North Wales had been redesigned to be COVID-safe, a highly topical issue at the time.

A second edition ran in November of that year. The success of these two prototypes led to a series of six being announced in the year of 2021. We are now halfway through that series and going from strength to strength. With five panellists, including Professor Sam Turner from HVM Catapult, TI5 on automation and robotics hit the airwaves with 491 registrants, the highest attendance to date.

Over time, registrants have become much more familiar with using the Q&A and chat functions. It is no longer possible to answer all the questions posted, especially as they range from introductory to advanced topics. As a result, we invite panellists, registrants, non-attendees and anyone else who is interested to progress the discussion on our Talking Industry LinkedIn page. Discussions in some cases can continue for several weeks.

Of course, registrants can also be contacted individually “off-camera” to discuss particular specific issues, one of the main benefits of signing up as a panellist.

We are also very proud of the fact that these sessions are now CPD approved and therefore open to students and apprentices wishing to gain experience in the topics we cover and engage with industry-leading figures.

Talking Industry Live

The success of the Talking Industry webinars will also see its transition from the digital sphere to live panel discussions. For three days, between the 5-7th April 2022, Talking Industry will become Talking Industry Live at DFA Media’s co-located shows; Smart Industry Expo, Plant & Asset Management, Drives & Controls, Fluid Power & Systems, and Air-Tech Exhibitions, which all return to Birmingham’s NEC, alongside MACH. The built-up excitement around these shows has resulted in the co-location currently being over 85% sold and an influx of unprecedented enquiries over the last month. The final number of exhibitors is now anticipated to exceed 400. This would make it the biggest event of its kind in a generation.

The added value of Talking Industry Live at these events will also greatly enhance the attractiveness of attending, and as a CPD member, the panels’ discussions will be accredited. They will also fully reflect the ongoing global transformation to the smart manufacturing era and provide fascinating panel discussions and insight into the potential plants of the future; covering all aspect of the digital transformation across the manufacturing spectrum, as well as looking at how digitalisation has helped during the Coronavirus pandemic and its importance in any future outbreak. Leading experts will address the vast array of information around 4IR, discussing the practicalities, technologies and issues surrounding the transition and implementation of digitalisation in UK manufacturing.

Other Talking Industry Live panel discussions will focus on how the growth of robotics will generate better ROI and productivity, health & safety, and skills, plus much more.

In addition to the Talking Industry Live panel discussions at the events, there will be a separate seminar theatre. The Knowledge Hub will have a strong emphasis on technology that will bring together all aspects of plant and asset management, hydraulics, pneumatics, robotics and automation, energy efficiency, machine safety, drives, motion control, legislation, system strategies and technological developments. Featuring representatives from across industry including government agencies, research bodies, trade associations, and manufacturers.

Over the course of the three-day co-located events, both Talking Industry Live and The Knowledge Hub seminar programmes, will offer visitors the opportunity to learn how they can seize the opportunities that exist and promote the benefits of adopting emerging digital technologies as well as a range of technical and practical case studies and seminars covering a wide range of topic areas.

The variety and scope of both the Talking Industry Live and Knowledge Hub programmes for 2022 are extremely exciting, adding what we believe will give visitors a genuine opportunity to keep abreast of the latest industry developments.

With so many people having missed live exhibitions, conferences and seminars, and the benefits that go along with them including seeing technology up close again, asking questions in person, and meeting friends and colleagues. We firmly believe that such events will see an unprecedented period of revival over the next year because of this pent-up demand both from companies wanting to exhibit and those wanting to attend. Indeed, we are already seeing this increase in demand. Ensuring we have high-quality seminar programmes in place for our own exhibitions in April 2022 is pivotal to enhancing our visitors’ experience and Talking Industry Live will be at the heart of that experience.

For further updates on Talking Industry please visit: https://drivesncontrols.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/6586/All_Talking_Industry_Events_in_2021.html

For further information on the co-location of events please visit: https://www.drives-expo.com/