IBC is upon us once more. The doors of the RAI will open for the European electronic media and entertainment industry to scrum together to gather inspiration, keep abreast of developments in tech, and generally take the temperature of the industry.
With a show of this scale, it's important to plan ahead to make sure that you squeeze every drop of worth from your trip, so we've caught up with the Managing Director of MTF Services, (and IBC veteran since 1995) Mike Tapa, for some top tips to make your 2017 visit as valuable as possible.
1. What's the point?
First off, decide what it is you're hoping to achieve from attending the exhibition. Building relationships with existing customers? New business? Make a clear agenda for yourself and give a little time for other ideas that might present themselves during the event. You'll want the opportunity to be able to act impulsively during the event, so allow time for it and make sure it doesn't clash with your key agenda.
2. Get booked up
If you haven't already, it's high time to shift from planning to doing. Flights, hotels and schedule for the day's you're there. It's hugely important to get them all locked in if you haven’t already. My tip? Go direct. Don't go through an agent; that way you’ll have more control and will get the best deal.
3. Top tip for travel
On the topic of travel, and possibly the best advice in this entire piece, would be to make sure that you take the ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland. If you book your crossing for the day before set up, (Wednesday 13th) you'll walk into a ferry that's packed with UK industry. It always serves as a great networking opportunity, and can often be a bit like a school outing!
4. Early bird?
It's probably a little late, (by the time you read this) but for future reference, you should definitely register for your free IBC early bird pass as it can be expensive if you miss the cut-off date.
5. Book up
Study the events schedule HARD. Make sure that you get signed up to any events that shout at you, as they do get booked up quickly.
6. The secret oasis
If you’re not already a member, have a look at signing up with the IABM (the international trade association for suppliers of broadcast and media technology). They always have a great lounge at IBC; hidden from the masses, with good wifi and quiet meeting rooms. Sweet respite amongst all the chaos!
7. Recommended conference
Speaking of the IABM, be sure to register for their 'State of the Industry' conference before the show opens on the first day. It's an early start, but a good opener.
8. Learn the latest lingo
Make sure you’re up to date. You are likely to get asked about your thoughts on all manner of acronyms so don't get caught out! IP, UHD, 4K, HDR, SDI and HDSDI. You get the idea, text talk tech geeks!
9. Get the app
Download the IBC app. It's tailor made for finding your way around, organising your conference schedule and organising a meeting timetable. Lots of people ignore the app, but it is really useful so check it out.
10. News feeds
There is loads of information being published throughout the event, so keep your eye on the IBC Daily, IBC TV News and IBC365. The IBC Daily editorial team has a reporter in each hall, so they cover off the news, products and services really well.
11. Be sociable
As well as physical networking, have a social media plan. Use IBC’s guide and social handles to gain more bang for your buck during your trip, and remember to keep it social and not too formal or people will switch off.
On the topic of physical networking, though and if you can still handle more networking, try to seek out the places where all the event goers congregate. Face to face business is, of course, extremely effective and a good way to scope potential clients. Not to mention the obvious benefits of having a break!
13. Save your feet
Whether you’re an IBC veteran, (like me) or if it's your first time, be sure to plan your meetings carefully. The importance of strategic planning cannot be understated and will save your feet from pounding mile after mile, from Hall to Hall (and back again).
14. Keep track of colleagues
Travelling with other people? It's quite a good idea to add them to the ‘Find your Friends’ app on your phone. There's little worse than losing your colleagues, especially if you have a packed meeting schedule.
15. Last minute research
Take some time just ahead of the event to see what 'last minute' additions are going to be there. Check out if there are any events you can go to for free and last minute exhibitors that you may have missed.
16. Don't forget
Pack your last-minute essentials. Make sure you've got the right chargers and cords, laptop, USBs, comfy shoes, pen and notebook, phone, business cards, badge, passport and tickets. Write an idiot list ahead of packing if you need to, but don't forget these things as they will only make your life easier.
An obvious one, but hugely important. Always make sure you've got a good-sized bottle of water with you. Drink from it regularly and replace it, the minute it runs out. Walking mile after mile throughout the exhibition is hard work and your body will thank you for staying hydrated. Especially if you're prone to hitting the bars in the evenings!
18. Tram trick
Another neat tip relates to using the tram. When you leave the RAI, you're faced with the tram line that will take you into the city. A little-known fact, though, is that the line runs in a loop, so to avoid the inevitable crush on the 'correct' platform; it's best to walk to the stop at the RAI station and get it from there as the trams don't always continue on the loop right away. It's only a couple of minutes walk though, so sure, you'll have to travel a little further, but at least you'll have a seat.
19. After hours
Whilst Dam Square is perpetually popular, you'll find huge numbers of the UK contingent of exhibitors and visitors at the Leidseplein, so head there to make sure you bump into some familiar faces.
20. Most importantly
Within all of your planning, make sure that you take the time to visit the MTF stand in hall 12, stand G45. I'll be there throughout, so come and see me for a chat, and to see the broad range of industry-leading products that we'll have with us for IBC 2017. Alongside our own lens adapters, including the new Fujinon E-mount to micro four thirds and FZ mount, we'll also have Brightcast LED lighting, Blueshape power solutions, the complete range of Veydra Micro four thirds cine lenses and the superb NiSi filters, including ND, ND Grads and polarisers, which are available in 4x4”, 4x5” and 6x6” formats.