IDS press conference—date for September ultimately confirmed

By Dental Tribune International
May 21, 2021

COLOGNE, Germany: In preparation for the International Dental Show (IDS) this September, organisers held a press conference yesterday to inform international media partners about the upcoming event. A unique mix of analogue and digital formats is planned for the event and will make IDS 2021 a very special event that will meet the demands of this extraordinary time during the pandemic.

At noon on Thursday, moderator Nadja Cleven welcomed the journalists who had tuned into the live broadcast via YouTube. Yesterday’s event was held under the motto “Out of crisis management and into future orientation” which will also be the motto of the 39th IDS, which will take place from 22 to 25 September in Cologne. Currently around 850 exhibitors have registered for the event.

Cleven then handed over to Mark Stephen Pace, chairman of the board of the Association of the German Dental Industry, who said that everyone was looking forward to the event in autumn. There was great optimism, mainly because “developments are going quite well”, “measures are having an effect and incidences are falling”, and “vaccination successes are increasing worldwide”.

Since IDS 2021 is all about the future of the dental industry during the pandemic, the organisers of the press conference had invited Corinna Mühlhausen to speak at the press conference. She is a trend researcher and futurologist at the Zukunftsinstitut Frankfurt, and she asked all audience members to “look ahead with courage”. She used the current values index to explain that the topic of health is still in first place and is also emerging as a megatrend among the general population. Consumers are more willing than ever to network well, to take care of themselves, to consume individually tailored lifestyle pharmaceuticals, to invest in smart products and to take detours in order to avoid harmful ingredients and plastic.

The topic of safety was raised during a discussion about patients. Oliver Frese, chief operating officer of Koelnmesse, stated: “Trade fairs are allowed again, and IDS will take place under the given framework conditions. Koelnmesse developed a security concept in spring 2020. [...] Visitors are thus very safe on the event site and we also want this to ensure that exhibitors are successful.”

The internet cannot replace everything

The 39th IDS will be a hybrid event—that is, a combination of on-site events and sections that will take place on the internet. According to Dr Peter Engel, president of the Bundeszahnärztekammer (German dental association), and Dominik Kruchen, president of the Verband Deutscher Zahntechniker-Innungen (Association of German dental technicians’ guilds), these concepts have already resulted in good experiences. They have found that dentists are able to get used to the new concepts relatively quickly owing to their affinity for technology and their openness. Nevertheless, “people also want to meet in person”, Kruchen added.

Pace reiterated the importance of digitalisation and that progress had been made, but stated that there is clearly a lack of infrastructure to move forward. He also feels it is essential to meet in person, and said: “It is very important that we maintain relationships. The most important part of successful business is not possible without face-to-face meetings. Digitalisation helps us become more efficient, improve communication and reduce costs, but it is no substitute.”

Dr Marco Landi, president of the Council of European Dentists, agreed and then summed up by stating that September is the right time to take off again in the dental industry across Europe.

Boundless optimism is not shared by all

Critical questions from media representatives were answered shortly before the end of the conference. Pace explained why the implementation of the IDS is so important, arguing that it is important for the dental profession to have access to innovations and to be able to talk about them. As an example, he mentioned topics such as artificial intelligence, which is progressing despite the pandemic, and which must be discussed.

Although some major players in the dental industry, including Dentsply Sirona, will not be taking part in this year’s IDS for “various reasons”, the organisers hope that an interesting trade fair can be created with the companies that have registered so far.

Other open questions also remain. These include the questions of how many visitors will ultimately be allowed on the exhibition grounds at any given time and what proof of testing or vaccination must be provided in order to be admitted to the Koelnmesse halls. However, these depend on the regulations of the responsible authorities and will be clarified in the coming four months before the start of the fair.

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