Panel power at FESPA

Panel power at FESPA

At the time of writing, it’s a relatively indecent hour on a Saturday morning and I’m scratching together all the required bits and pieces to haul across to Cologne tomorrow for the forthcoming FESPA. The association and its exhibition certainly need no introduction from me so, instead, I’m going to trumpet a few paragraphs about my panel sessions this year and why I think they bring value to the proceedings.

At the last event, in Munich, we made the decision that it would be more interesting for me to do my Mrs Moderator bit rather than spend time whining, in presentation format, about stuff that most people already know inside-out. Ergo, Tech Time was created and I was invited to act as host with a selection of panelists, and for the format to run in “Question Time” style. Our first attempt at this was pretty good, and the fruits of its labours are still splattered across YouTube. As a result, this year I’m running another five sessions that cover the directions in which digital print is moving, the industrial side of ink-jet and complementary technologies, sign-making and its position in an increasingly digital world, how the textile printing market is shaping up and, finally, the important aspects of garment production.

With this strong quintet of topics lined up and ready for action, I’m kicking off on the first day with my Digital Tech Time and I’ll be joined by a trio of splendid ambassadors for the cause. They are EFI’s Ken Hanulec, Martijn van Den Broek of Screen Europe and John Mills who’s CEO of Inca Digital.

Tuesday sees me hosting two sessions, the first being Sign Tech Time where Dean Derhak of SAi and Michel Van Vliet of Roland DG balance out the Matthews-Paul effect as Output's James M-P is my third panel member. Next up on the same day is my Garment Tech Time which has Kornit Digital’s Oliver Luedtke, Neil Greenhalgh of Epson Europe and Roland DG’s Encarna Luque joining me on stage.

Wednesday is another busy day as I’m presenting the Textile Tech Time session which, once again, sees Encarna Luque joining my panel along with two old favourites (okay — less of the old), these being esp’s Stephen Hood and the inimitable Roland Biemans. Last but not least, it’s the turn of Industrial Tech Time where Inca Digital’s Heather Kendle, Xaar’s Richard Darling and EFI’s Mike Wozny have agreed to be my panellists.

These sessions aren’t intended to be formal presentations; they’re designed to be discussions which don’t follow a rigid programme structure and are intended to bring the different digital segments together in a conversational format. Don’t expect flashy slide shows and lots of pictures and pages of text to peer at; instead, you can listen to real people with real experience talk about real topics.

I know I’m biased but I believe quite fiercely in the power of friendly debate and discussion. Overall this is a week where, for most FESPA visitors, there’s a frenzied rushing about from stand to stand in order to catch up and see what’s new. So I’m hoping that my Tech Time sessions will give people a brief respite, the opportunity to sit down and listen to some fascinating stuff and, hopefully, to augment their perceptions of what each segment of digital production is all about and where it's heading next.

Digital Tech Time (Hall 8, stand B90) ~ Monday 18 May : 14.30 to 15.30
Sign Tech Time (Hall 7, stand M115) ~ Tuesday 19 May : 14:00 to 15:00
Garment Tech Time (Hall 8, stand B90) ~ Tuesday 19 May : 16:00 to 17:00
Textile Tech Time (Hall 8, stand B90) ~ Wednesday 20 May : 12:00 to 13:00
Industrial Tech Time (Hall 8, stand B90) ~ Wednesday 20 May : 14:00 to 15:00

See you in Cologne!