MEDICA showcases medical innovations online

For the first time in the history of MEDICA, the medical trade fair took place entirely online due to the pandemic, but still attracted a total of over 1,500 exhibitors, hailing from 63 nations.

They displayed a huge variety of innovative products, amounting to over 18,300 items, in their online showrooms, and presented live programmes for the healthcare community in over 100 web sessions, which hosted 300 participants at their peak. 

Over 45,000 professional visitors (unique users) from 169 nations used the virtual platform and generated 405,000 page impressions. International online visitors to the event made up 78% of the attendees. 

The Conference Area for both events provided an extensive programme, comprising 430 speakers, and set the course for the laboratory medicine sector and the digitalisation of care processes, among other areas. Both of these subjects are particularly important in managing the pandemic. Prof. Dr. Hendrik Streeck, who provided information on the current options for testing immunity to SARS CoV-2, was one of many top speakers. 

The finales of the 12th Healthcare Innovation World Cup (12th HWC) and the 9th MEDICA Start-up Competition provided a showcase for digital healthcare trends, with pitch presentations on the internet of medical things, health apps, diagnostics, robotics and artificial intelligence for the healthcare sector. The equal victors of the 12th HWC were: inContAlert (Germany/non-invasive measurement of bladder fullness), BeFC (France/sustainable paper-based energy source for medical devices with low power consumption) and PKvitality (France/blood sugar measurement via Smartwatch). Radiobotics from Denmark emerged as the overall winner of the Start-up Competition, with an AI-based development for radiology, which automatically detects arthritis. 

Robotics
The highly anticipated highlights in the Exhibition Space (with online showrooms) included the announcement of the winner for the KUKA Innovation Award 2020 from KUKA, a company specialising in robotics and automation. All participating research and developer teams received the lightweight robot LBR Med for this purpose prior to this year’s Medical Robotic Challenge; they then integrated this robotic component into their own concept for developing a medical product. 

The HIFUSK team from the renowned Scuola Superiore Sant’ Anna University in Pisa, Italy won this competition. They won their audiences over with a robotic application concept for focused ultrasound surgery. This non-invasive therapy method has the potential to change cancer treatment forever. This therapy can also be carried out in -outpatient care and the tissue ablation methods offer the advantage of not leaving any scars. 

An industry in revolution 
Examples such as these show that the medical technology industry is working hand-in-hand with developers from the research and scientific sectors, to go head-to-head against the challenging business trends. The extent to which the corona pandemic will change the industry, and to what extent a globally functioning (and virtual) platform is needed right now for exchanging and doing good business, is shown by the new trend report: “Wie SARS-CoV-2 die Medizintechnikbranche verändert” (How SARS-CoV-2 Has Changed the Medical Technology Sector). 

This report was published by the German Industry Association SPECTARIS and Roland Berger (in conjunction with the medical technology cluster MedicalMountains) within the scope of virtual.MEDICA 2020. Regardless of current business conditions and a drop in turnover due to the crisis, experts expect radical changes to occur within the market and in terms of competition in both the middle and long term. 

“The crisis set an irreversible chain of events into motion. Digital working models and sales, service and exhibition concepts have now taken on a prized position in many companies’ strategies, and will continue to be prioritised at least at the same level as classic working methods and personal customer contacts, even after the corona pandemic”, explains Jörg Mayer, executive director of Spectaris. 

With regard to virtual.MEDICA, Mayer comments: “Economic activity and winning new customers have been curbed and rendered more difficult by the pandemic. Therefore, it was even more important for the medical technology industry to meet up, at least virtually, at MEDICA. Messe Düsseldorf provided the urgently needed opportunity for exchanging and transferring knowledge in the form of its many forums and conferences. It has also become clear that trade fairs are the primary drivers behind sales and marketing for the industry, even during the pandemic. virtual.MEDICA was a pioneer in this respect - both during the transition period, and it surely will be again in the future when face-to-face events are possible.” 

The majority of the speeches at virtual.MEDICA and virtual.COMPAMED, along with the accompanying virtual congresses and conferences (e.g. the 43rd German Hospital Conference) will remain available to registered users for viewing online until the end of May 2021. The exhibitors’ online showrooms will also be accessible up until then. 

MEDICA 2021 and COMPAMED 2021 will be held from 15 - 18 November 2021 as a hybrid event. The hybrid concept consists of combining live platforms for professional visitors to the Düsseldorf trade fair centre and digital offers. 

Information is available online at https://www.medica-tradefair.com and https://www.compamed-tradefair.com