Koelnmesse GmbH, the organizers of photokina, World of Imaging, are working toward bringing photokina into the 21st century. For the first time, IT and telecommunications companies have chosen to join the photography, video, digital imaging, graphic design, prepress, multimedia, AV-image communication, studio, stage and event venue, and consumer electronics companies exhibiting at photokina, "generating new momentum for the sector," says Oliver P. Kuhrt, executive vice president of Koelnmesse GmbH. These companies include Microsoft, Nokia, and T-Mobile.
Building upon this foundation, photokina 2006 will feature "an even greater variety of product segments in order to address new target and user groups, especially young consumers."
"photokina has been the leading international fair for the imaging sector for many years," says Kuhrt. The show attracts B2B-oriented trade visitors from around the world—both specialist dealers and professional photographers.
According to Kuhrt, the Koelnmesse GmbH plans to build on the success of past shows, continuing to offer exhibitors and visitors the best possible conditions for successful business in the future. "Ultimately, only those trade fair companies that can offer their customers efficient platforms, gain new target groups, and move into innovative market segments will be successful in the long run. photokina has demonstrated time and again that it can do all that—and we will be working hard to make sure this remains the case in the future as well," he says.
A new layout for the photokina trade show will move away from the separation of exhibit areas into consumer and professional. As the lines between "consumer" and "professional-grade" products blurs, it makes sense to reorganize the exhibition layout. "The photokina concept, whereby the fair presents the imaging workflow in its entirety… This ‘path of the image from its creation to its presentation' will be apparent within the various product groups and in the hall occupancy structure," explains Kuhrt.
The five main areas of photokina 2006 will be: Input Devices, Storage/Processing, Output Devices, Service/Transfers, and Accessories/Consumables. According to Kuhrt, "Visitors will, of course, benefit from a clear overview of the products in a particular segment. They will also be able to find their way around very easily, thanks in part to the new exhibition center's compact layout, which I'm sure will be very popular with many of our visitors."
In addition to new product introductions scheduled for announcement at photokina, the latest developments, trends, and visions for the future of the industry are disseminated at the World of Imaging. "That's why photokina is an absolute must for global players in the imaging industry," says Kuhrt.
Another key change in the works for photokina 2006 is the creation of an efficient business and communication platform. "One of Europe's most attractive exhibition centers is now being completed in Cologne [Germany]," Kuhrt explains, noting that with the improvements being made, "Cologne will retain its high standards in this regard.
"It's especially important to us that we provide our partners with all the services they need so that they can concentrate on what's most important to them. That's why Koelnmesse GmbH is responsible for everything visitors need between their arrival and departure, and everything exhibitors require between the time they register for the fair and the day they dismantle their stands. Such a setup ensures that Koelnmesse customers can turn to a single company with expertise across the entire range of trade fair services."
In addition to the services needed by exhibitors in regards to their booth space, visitors and exhibitors can also arrange their accommodations through the Koelnmesse. "To make things even more convenient for our exhibitors, we have an online reservation system they can use to select exactly the type of accommodations they need," Kuhrt adds.
The Cologne exhibition center is the fourth largest trade-fair venue in the world and is almost 80 years old. Exhibitors and visitors will note changes in the hall layout. With the Rhineside Halls no longer a part of the exhibition space, four new Northern Halls add 80,000 square meters of "state-of-the-art" space, and the former Eastern Halls are being modernized, and will be known as the Southern Halls. A new guide/sign system will make it easier for attendees to find their way around photokina. The Trade Fair Boulevard will make it even easier for attendees to get around—it is the central north-south axis that connects the entire exhibition center and is a gateway to all halls.
"Construction of the new trade fair halls and the extensive modernization measures being taken at our exhibition center represent only the first step on the way to transforming the Cologne-Deutz trade fair facility into a conference and service center that can deliver what is expected of a modern trade fair location," Kuhrt says. The old trade fair halls, sold to the RTL television station, will be converted into a modern media and service complex, scheduled for completion by 2008. "Everything being undertaken in this regard is indispensable for both the city and photokina if Cologne is to remain a leading international trade fair venue in the future," Kuhrt adds. ptn