Medica - The greatest show on Earth
I knew it was getting close to Medica when my phone rang and one of my ex colleagues from Smiths Medical was calling, ‘are you going to Medica this year’ he said, ‘free for lunch on Wednesday’. That’s what Medica is all about, reconnecting with the industry, seeing what new companies and product ideas there are, who has moved into a new role, who has changed companies, a real good update and tonic in this business, as for tonic, I will cover some of the local brews later on.
Held in the Messe Congress Centre every year Medica is attended by nearly 140,000 people, with over 4,400 exhibitors from 64 countries during a four day period. If you imagine going to Earls Court and then having 17 halls that large, it is truly an enormous event. Due to its size then you need to be very focussed in what you are trying to achieve otherwise you burn a lot of shoe leather, accrue bags of literature and end up being very tired and achieving nothing.
The congress halls are structured around product types, endoscopy, respiratory, and monitoring where global corporations like GE, Siemens and Drager exhibit Or country areas, UK, Wales, US and Canada occupied often by smaller start ups. In essence it is an opportunity to show case your company but also find business partners, distributors and dealers across the world.
The UK area had some 50 or so smaller companies and these exhibit as individual companies or they may be on a shared stand supported by a local development agency such as Medilink, Yorkshire and Humber innovations, The Welsh RDA and others
How you work the halls is a well developed skill, and out of the topdraw of business development, a few weeks before you go you blog the fact you are going on Linkedin or other such sites, some desk research will inform you who is exhibiting and then you work your contacts to complete your target list of people to meet. You get a floor plan, map out where each person is and create a series of meetings. It is also wise to leave yourself a lot of spare time, one to get from hall to hall, quite a walk especially if it is raining and you do not wish to go outside, but secondly to just wander and wonder at the new products available.
This year I saw a touchless thermometer product, you fire an infra-beam at the patient’s skin and get an instant temperature reading, fantastic for not having to wake a sleeping patient or child. I also saw an ingenious blood glucose monitoring/combi/USB device. The size of a pen, one end twists to reveal a small needle to prick your finger, you drop the blood into the other end, a display gave you a reading then the 2 ends slide apart to reveal a USB port to upload the readings to your computer and beyond wow !!
The other awe inspiring fact is how all these people arrive, leave and get fed each day with very few queues, well let me tell you, you have to like pork at Medica, infact in Dusseldorf since they eat a staple diet of Bratwurst with curry sauce, or potatoes, rice, or ham hock with all the same trimmings
After all these meetings and too many sausages one needs to wind down and reflect on the day with a cold one. Many of the country based exhibits have evening receptions and on the Wednesday I was lucky enough to be passing the Australian stand, now we know they like a drink and my passing by was not formed of luck !! A great guy told me how his 14 year old son got a needlestick injury on the beach near Brisbane and the needle contained blood, he has put his riches from developing and selling shopping centres, into his new range of safety syringes and needles and having spent 9 years in this market at Becton Dickinson I was very impressed.
I then was invited to the joint ABHI and UKTI stand where over a beer I met a number of other very interesting UK based start up’s
The night life in Dusseldorf is great fun but as they say ‘what happens on tour stays on tour’ until next time …………..