Geo Connect Asia 2021 (GCA 2021), organised by Montgomery Events Asia, was held recently in Singapore with a specific focus on Southeast Asia.
A hybrid strategic and collaborative business meeting platform for industry professionals, government agencies, and start-ups came together to build and develop knowledge of global solutions for Asia’s geospatial and location intelligence.
2,200 industry professionals attended physically and virtually, with 50% of that number attending in-person. Close to 100 foreign delegates from countries like Belgium, Germany, Hong Kong, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia attended.
Montgomery Asia worked closely with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to ensure the safety and well-being of attendees. This included complying with Safe Management Measures (SMMs) such as crowd density control and the use of TraceTogether to facilitate contact tracing for international visitors.
GCA 2021 trialled the ‘hybrid event’ prototype developed by the Alliance for Action on Enabling Safe and Innovative Visitor Experiences.The prototype provided delegates with the degree of interaction they would be accustomed to in a regular tradeshow setting – but in a far safer way which minimised infection risks.
Riding on the learnings and insights from the recent Singapore Tourism Board event TravelRevive, GCA 2021 piloted creative solutions to enhance health and safety for delegates, as well as digital enablers to allow participants a seamless experience in the current Covid-19 environment.
Chris McCuin, managing director at Montgomery Asia said: “When we mentioned to Singapore Tourism Board said that we’re going ahead with Geo Connect Asia, they came back and said ‘we will back you; we will work with you completely from day one’. They became an extension of the team. STB financially supported us and without their help, GCA 2021 probably would not have gone ahead”.
Events like Geo Connect Asia were able to reimagine traditional trade exhibitions by innovating the event format to facilitate safe interactions with digital enablers.
- Geo Suites and meeting pods facilitated face to face business engagements and knowledge transfer between exhibitors, speakers and attendees.
- Digital enablers, which leverages geospatial technology and temperature tracking technology were deployed to enhance safety of delegates.
- Indoor location technology was used to track movements between halls and support compliance with safe management measures.
- Meeting pods, for pre-arranged meetings, have plexi glass separating the exhibitor and buyer as well as microphones on both sides for a better auditory experience.
- Larger pods (double in size) to cater to four persons, with two representatives from each company to facilitate productive discussions were made available.
Safe Event Platform
Geo Connect Asia trialled the ‘Safe Event Platform’ – a technology solution that enables greater ease of monitoring event activities.
On delivering a safe event, Chris McCuin said: “Other than social distancing and having to wear masks, we used facial recognition, took delegates’ temperatures, and used a tracking device which enabled us to track which zones delegates were in, how long they interacted with people, etc. without being intrusive. It was about keeping people safe in an extremely unusual situation.”
The Safe Event platform was borne out of the Singapore Association of Convention Exhibition Organisers’ (SACEOS) SafeEvent challenge launch on IMDA’s Open Innovation Platform, which helps organisers run events safely and effectively without relying heavily on the extra human labour.
This platform allows organisers to track, monitor, manage and review the event activities without compromising the safety of anyone. It comprises of three components:
- Safe Event App (for attendees) and,
- Safe Event Platform (for event organisers)
- Safe Event Platform (for premise owners)
Using Bluetooth technology, the Safe Event platform will be able to receive reports of all attendees through users’ devices that serve as a medium to transmit the data to the dashboard where the event organiser has access to functions like, Attendance, Trail Analysis, Contact History, etc. In a case when an attendee enters an unauthorised zone, alerts will be triggered to both attendee and event organisers. Attendees coming into close contact with one another will also be recorded.
Safe Business Event Framework
Montgomery Asia adhered to a risk management framework for business events based on rigorous safe management measures. This was developed by STB in preparation for a calibrated and safe resumption of B2B events. The framework was created in consultation with the industry and is aligned with international best practices. It arises from reflections and lessons learnt in the first half of 2020, when businesses in Singapore’s MICE sector conceptualised and reimagined what a safe event could look like.
Under STB’s Safe Business Events Framework, event organisers (EOs) must achieve five key outcomes:
1. Infection control measures for every stage of an event attendee’s journey (pre- to post-event)
2. Limits on crowd density
3. Limits on close contacts between individuals
4. Ensuring a safe and clean environment
5. Preparing for emergencies relating to COVID-19
For events in Singapore, health and safety remain a top priority. Rigorous standards of safe management and hygiene are adhered to. This includes the management of crowd density and group size throughout the event, innovative ways of ensuring adherence to safe distancing, as well as pre-event Antigen Rapid Tests for attendees. With these measures in place, attendees can enjoy peace of mind at the event.
Executive director of exhibitions and conferences at the Singapore Tourism Board, Andrew Phua said: “We will continue to support and collaborate with our MICE industry to cement Singapore’s position as one of the world’s leading destinations for safe, trusted, and innovative MICE events.”