ZITF mulling adopting technology for future hybrid shows

by Editorial Team
2 minutes read

The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Company is considering using technology to come up with online exhibitions given the negative experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen most exhibitions and other business events around the world being postponed.

Responding to a question posed on the twitter platform by Business Events on whether or not the company would roll out online exhibitions or a combination of both face-to-face and online exhibitions in future, ZITF Company Marketing and Public Relations, Stella Nkomo indicated that the company was already thinking of adopting technology for some of its future events.

“We are already thinking (of going) that direction. We have researched and (we) are excited about this opportunity especially the hybrid (combination) you talk about here,” Nkomo said.

The project, however faces the usual challenges such as funding.

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“However, issues of connectivity, capital outlay and contextualising to our situation remain a challenge,” she said.

Nkomo said that her company could start with its smaller shows to gauge the market’s response to the initiative.

“So we might pilot with smaller specialised expo(sition)s to see the uptake. The exhibition industry was never keen to go this route because our money comes from the face-to-face concept. Now with COVID-19 we need to see how then we make our money online (by) coming with new business models,” Nkomo said.

The ZITF marketing boss stressed the need for local technology experts to partner with her company in coming up with the online exhibitions set up.

“We also need to challenge our local software designers to come on board and set up this virtual experience for us so that we are not (seen) looking outside for solutions which is quite expensive. Live and on-demand virtual set up solutions and related applications are expensive,” she said.

The ZITF Company Chairman, Busia Moyo hinted at the entity’s plans to adopt technology to modernise its shows when he spoke to the Sunday News late last month.

“We will have to re-think, innovate, modernise and upgrade our formatting of exhibitions in a post-COVID-19 world, employ adapted ICT (Information and Communication Technology), Fourth Industrial Revolution and Smart Green Design, thinking around how we can promote trade and investment. Our young people who are tech-savvy will be key to a futuristic offering delivered globally with a wider reach,” he said.

The Zimbabwe Trade Fair Company postponed the 2020 edition of its flagship show, the ZITF in March following the adoption by the Government of a number of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic which included social distancing and the outlawing of gatherings of more than 100 people. It also organises the Mining Engineering and Transport (MineEntra) and the Water Sanitation Hygiene and the Energy (WASHen) annual exhibitions.

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