During the session in Johannesburg, there were some arguments which underline the thesis of a real threat to the exhibition industry:
1. Many organizers (and here especially the state-owned companies) are to slow to really bring innovative solutions to the market.
2. We need a different corporate culture. We are not used to allow errors. Agility is something else. We need the right organization and the right attitude of the top management.
3. They bring in modern technology but forget about the appropriate business models.
4. Just buying a new CRM system and taking five years for a basic implementation is not really digitizing the business.
5. We can’t work with big data because we do not even understand our small data.
6. Many initiatives rolled out are pretty old school and have nothing to do with industry 4.0 and modern digital business.
Interestingly, the entire audience was seeing it the same way. The big majority (about 95 %) voted that they agree or even strongly agree that the exhibition industry is currently doing a pseudo digitisation. Nevertheless, it was discussed that there are some bright exceptions in the market who are really leading the industry in terms of using modern technologies and business models.