The mission statement of Advantech, a leader in industrial computing, is ‘enabling an intelligent planet.’ In their 30 years in the industry, their team have been dedicated to promoting curiosity and keeping ahead of technological trends. And they see being a meaningful part of events like CeBIT Australia as integral to this value.
Being at the forefront of transformation
Carl Mackie, Key Account Manager at Advantech Australia has seen many of the changes affect the industry in his time. For example, in the decades-long association his company has had with CeBIT Australia he witnessed the Internet of Things transform from an idea to something that has a real impact on his work and our lives. He says, ‘I remember ten years ago when a professor from IBM first mentioned the term “Internet of Things.” The speaker estimated that ten years from now there would be 5-10 billion devices connected to the internet, that figure is actually now 40-50 billion devices.’
He experienced this evolution first-hand in his work from working primarily on hardware to the proliferation of software. In the four industry verticals that his organisation services (medical, retail, transport, embedding) he has seen how that level of connectivity is having a real impact. In the medical sector he gives the example of clinical tablets. ‘Before, if a nurse was assessing a patient for release after an operation, she would have to write down where that injury was located on the body, what she perceived the wound to look like and wait until the doctor was physically present before getting sign-off. Now the nurse can use a tablet with a camera to streamline the process. We send that image to the doctor (who may be on the road), yet he can receive the information and make a quick, real-time assessment about whether to release the patient.’
This technology was created, in part, to respond to the challenges that face the Australian Healthcare industry. ‘A decade ago, there was a lot of discussion about the impending ageing crisis which really informed our direction. Mackie believes that forums like CeBIT Australia are essential because they allow experts and young people to come together and explore the problems of the day in a spirit of curiosity and collaboration.
Get a sense of who your customers might be
In fact, one of the biggest positives for Mackie and his team is that a broad business technology event like CeBIT Australia allows you to meet would-be customers from all walks of life. The team particularly like when the event is held in Darling Harbour because it encourages people on the street to come in and have a look at what’s going on. Mackie says, ‘we love meeting customers. We meet everybody from young students to those in government to professional business entrepreneurs. That’s the bit about CeBIT that we like, you never know who you might meet on your stand. We have met some very young people who have started off their business, very small companies, who were quite innovative and are now doing really well. That’s exciting to see.’
Show off your technology
Another aspect that Mackie enjoys about the event is that it’s a unique opportunity to talk to people in person and give them the opportunity to use the technology, ‘visualisation is just so important. With technology, being able to see, and more importantly experience the technology and then having an expert there to talk them through [that experience] is incomparable.' Mackie says ‘I never approach an event with the mindset ‘sell sell sell,’ rather I see it as an opportunity to establish a partnership. A technology investment, particularly in a business like ours, is an ongoing commitment. An event should be the first step in establishing rapport and trust.’
Let people know your capabilities
The Advantech team participates in a number of different and targeted industry events throughout the year, but they enjoy that CeBIT Australia allows them to show the versatility of their company and the potential of the technology. ‘Even if customers aren’t aware of the brand, they get to see all the exciting things we’re doing and how the technology could be applicable to them.’ For companies like Advantech who work across diverse industries, customers may have awareness of their systems in the retail space, for example, but are excited to discover their products in transport, or for healthcare, an experience they don’t have in industry-specific tradeshows.
Get a glimpse into the future
And that future isn’t just technology, it’s people. Mackie loves that CeBIT Australia attracts so many young innovators and start-ups. ‘They’re the ones who are agile, who have incredible ideas and who are showing us the way into the future.’ It will be fascinating to see what new ideas in this years’ CeBIT Australia will blossom into the technology that will transform the world. If you want to be part of the discussion then consider exhibiting for CeBIT Australia 2017 (it’s not too late!)