Kamal Chopra: Online meetings may replace the road shows

Kamal Chopra, chairman at Pamex and president at AIFMP says video presentations and online meetings may replace the road shows and Print Yatra

30 Nov 2020 | By PrintWeek Team

Kamal Chopra, chairman, Pamex and president, AIFMP

What is the update on your shows?
Our show – Pamex – will be organised in March 2022. Presently, we are busy with collecting the inputs of the world print leaders so as to remain in touch and to understand the further developments. Regarding future... any prediction is vague, but I am confident, especially Pamex, which is going to be a major hit once again in 2022 more than it did during January 2020.

One thing that you wish you could’ve done to keep the industry up and running...
Future is always uncertain and no one would have thought about this pandemic. Pamex was the last major show before Covid-19 started, however, we were lucky that it started in India after the show was over. But, during lockdown we tried to convert the difficulties into opportunities; we conducted webinars on different topics, created a video library where technical data on different subjects from 106 experts is available on how to survive during and after Covid-19 and many other such technical subjects.

A typical SOP to be followed at exhibition centres...
We are members of the Indian Exhibition Industries Association and for the last few months we are in touch with the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India through this association. We have submitted possible SOP to the government for organising exhibitions. However, the government is yet to issue its SOP to be followed by the exhibition organisers.

Describe what future exhibitions will look like...
In my view, there may not be any difference. Look at the restaurants, malls and other commercial activities, which are working like before. The only difference is that now only qualified visitors may be preferred just to avoid unnecessary rush.

Online meetings and virtual expos: are we looking at the future of exhibitions?
I feel it is a temporary phase. Though these days we have been following work-from-home policy, our staffs are feeling bored and wish to start working at the office again. While getting inputs from the exhibitors and visitors, it is clear that preference for feel and touch is always there and will remain so in future, too. At the same time we will utilise online meetings for promotion and to get inputs about requirements and so on. Online meetings and video presentations may replace the road shows and Print Yatra.

Will digital platforms capitalise on virtual meetings?
After lockdown, I enjoyed the virtual meetings at first, and also started conducting daily webinars to boost the morale of fellow printers. But that enjoyment was short-lived. Now, we are feeling bored and wish to enjoy delicious dinners outside with friends and family. Digital may be capitalising for the time being, but as soon as things get normal, I feel people will enjoy more on physical meetings and visiting places.

Has digital intervention trumped in-person meetings?
Working at home was the compulsion and the staff was very happy at the beginning, but now they are asking when they can come to office.

Hypothetical question: How will the exhibitions look like if there’s no vaccine for Covid-19 at all?
I always live with positive energy. There may not be any difference in the shape and style of exhibitions, it is a temporary phase. Exhibitions will come to its original shape shortly. This phase will disappear, educating us about hygiene habits. The physical exhibitions will be organised keeping in mind these thumb rules.

One message to your friends in the exhibition industry...
Don’t be disheartened, it is a temporary phase. The show must go on and tomorrow may be much brighter. Be smart in planning and taking care of health of the masses.

Will our next meeting be virtual or face-to-face?
Definitely at ‘physical’ exhibition. I will personally welcome you at Pamex 2022.