Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Embedded World Blog: Numbers down but quality up

IMC executive editor Steve Rogerson looks at how the coronavirus outbreak affected last week’s Embedded World.

With all the hype about the coronavirus, it was not surprising that last week’s Embedded World in Nuremberg was a lot smaller than usual. We already knew that many of the big-name companies had pulled out and the organisers did a reasonable job of rearranging the show layout so it didn’t look as bad as it could have done.

But with some companies cancelling as late as the day before, their stands had already been built and stood empty as a reminder of what happened. Prominent companies such as Advantech and Vector were good examples of this.

But what of those that did brave the journey and arrived in the beautiful city of Nuremberg? I went round a few stands on the last day expecting some depression, but the verdict from many of the exhibitors was a big thumbs-up. A lot fewer people, true, but the ones that did come had a real reason to be there – they wouldn’t have bothered otherwise – and that led to some quality leads.

“People were saying it was about 50 per cent less busy than last year,” said Mirjam Bulsink, business development director at Pod Group, exhibiting for the first time at the show, “but the people we got to our stand were good quality leads. One good lead can pay for it all, and we have some that are worth pursuing. Being quieter also meant we had more time to talk with the people that came.”

Camilla Rynkiewicz, marketing manager for 1NCE, agreed. She said: “There were fewer people than last time, but still worth being here. The people who came were really interested in what we do. The quality of people who are here is really good. There were some interesting people and we want to catch up with them better when we get back.”

And Brendan McKearney, vice president at Taoglas, acknowledged that the show had been completely overshadowed by the coronavirus but said the firm had got some good quality leads.

“We had good quality but not the quantity,” he said. “Our RoI is not as high as we would normally expect, but we are happy with the show.”

The final scores on the doors, according to the organisers, were 900 exhibitors and 13,800 visitors over the three days. This is down from 1117 exhibitors and more than 31,000 visitors last year, which was the second best total they ever had.

But what about the coronavirus. Well, the organisers took measures such as regular cleaning of surfaces and hand sanitizers all over the place, but the no hand-shake rule was widely ignored. So far, I feel fine, and here’s hoping everyone else got home safely, but I will be keeping an eye on the news for the next two weeks for a sudden cluster of people being taken ill in Nuremberg.