Interview with Wolfram N. Diener, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Wolfram N. Diener, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH (c) Messe Düsseldorf GmbH / ctillmann
Wolfram Diener (54) started his job as operational manager of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH on 1 October 2018. Being responsible for A+A, he handles the world’s biggest trade forum for personal protection, operational safety and health at work. A+A was first launched in 1954 and helps to increase worldwide attention to the issues of occupational health and safety and corporate health management. Diener is looking forward to his new job: “After many exciting and successful years with various trade fair companies, and quite some time in Asia, I am now facing the next challenge – and this challenge will be more than the bandwidth of my trade fair portfolio in Düsseldorf. Messe Düsseldorf is seen as one of the world’s most successful, robust and international trade fair companies, and it’ll be great to contribute to its further success.”
Question: You are planning the hall layout for A+A 2019 right now. What has been the response from the industry?
Diener: It’s been great. Market players are showing considerable interest in the fair. Many companies that have been coming to A+A for many years want to come again, and some of them even want to increase their exhibition space. Also, there is a sizeable number of companies who have never been before and who want to book stands for the first time for the coming November. So it’s very much to our advantage that we’ve expanded the space since the previous event, as we’ve now got additional capacities for three areas – Health at Work, Operational Safety and Corporate Fashion.
In other words, we can already be sure that A+A 2019 will again represent the entire world of corporate health and safety in Düsseldorf and that the trade fair will provide a complete overview of the latest products and trends, both nationally and internationally.
A+A 2019 will be the first trade show to occupy the freshly completed multifunctional Hall 1, accessed via the new South Entrance. What will be the impact of this new constellation, and which segments will be represented?
In total, the new constellation of halls will mean that there’ll be additional space for the segments I mentioned, so that we can finally meet a large number of requests from regular exhibitors wanting more space. Hall 1 will primarily be occupied by the PPE segment. There will of course be new exhibitors among them and we’ll also be seeing regular ones using more space than in the past. Operational Safety will be expanded to include Hall 7.0, so that this section, too, will now have a wider scope.
We are confident that in 2019 we’ll be seeing more than 2,000 exhibitors at A+A for the first time. The full range of exhibitors will be occupying ten halls, not just the nine we’ve had up to now.
Exhibitors at A+A in Düsseldorf will be presenting innovative, forward-looking ideas alongside proven and updated developments. Will there be anything else in the programme to provide trade visitors with news from the industry?
The best I can do is mention a small selection. In addition to the products and services offered by exhibitors, there will of course be many informative and exciting live presentations, e.g. the Highlight Route to the Future of Work. It will be about innovative solutions for the impending changes in our working environment as a result of digitisation – developments which are set to affect all areas of work. Everywhere in the halls there will be presentations by well-known exhibitors, including smart solutions for personal protection, new workplace models, new ideas for workplace structures, and also digital applications, ranging from prototypes to series production.
2019 will be the first A+A to feature an International Start-Up Zone. It will be aimed at companies that have been trading for less than five years and which have an annual turnover or balance total below EUR 5m and a workforce of less than 20. In addition, German exhibitors can again access a programme created by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to support innovative young enterprises wanting to exhibit at the trade fair. Further details are available on the website of A+A 2019, www.aplusa.de. Both the Start-Up Zone and the German ministry programme give companies a simple, inexpensive way of exhibiting at A+A, with a major chance to propagate new ideas on sustaining people’s working capacity and to find suitable investors. Whether it’s a health app, VR goggles or high-tech textiles, the range is unlimited. For us as trade fair operators, it’s important to widen the scope of A+A by adding new ideas, and so we support this exchange of ideas between international newcomers to the industry, on the one hand, and experts from industry, research and government, on the other.
What else can we expect to see in the complementary programme at A+A 2019?
Primarily, of course, we should mention the A+A Congress, the leading cooperative event on occupational health and safety in Germany. The programme is currently being prepared, and some of the focal issues will be
The future of work
Health and safety policies: national and international
Technology and labour protection laws
Health at work – skills, behaviours and resources
New tools and working methods
There will also be a large number of special shows and staged events in the various halls – features that A+A visitors have enjoyed for many years now and which are used widely. Two new events, however, are especially worth mentioning, as they are major additions to our programme for emergency responders, aid organisations and fire services:
On 6 November 2019, the Wednesday of the trade fair, a special conference will be held, entitled “Self-Protection for Emergency Responders”. Another new one-day conference will be aimed at professional users of respiratory protection equipment. Running under the title “Respiratory Protection and Hygiene at the Place of Deployment”, it will be about the issue of toxic and carcinogenic substances to which firefighters are often exposed in their work. Solutions will be presented in collaboration with the fire services of Düsseldorf and Berlin and also with an organisation called Hamburger Feuerkrebs (literally Hamburg Fire Cancer), which seeks to promote and sustainably improve health and safety as well as good health for firefighters.
With such a wide range, A+A 2019 will again be the most important international platform on all issues, products and ideas designed to help people work more safely, healthily and efficiently in the future – in a working environment that is changing faster than ever before.