A small summary of the first day of international consumer electronics show IFA at Messe Berlin, as trade shows and exhibitions are taking place again in Germany as of September.

Remember: The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was the first major exhibition in Europe that got cancelled as the COVID virus spread around the continent this spring. In the US, SXSW as well has been cancelled, and the Consumer Electronics Show has already announced it will be all digital in 2021. IFA is the only physical show around.

“It is up to us to define what the ‘new’ in the ‘new normal’ is”, IFA’s show director said at the opening of this “special edition” of the show.

In line with local COVID regulations, attendance is limited – the authorities allow just 750 people to attend each show segment. So, it’s invitation only for industry experts and industry media.

Two exhibition halls are used exclusively for company presentations and keynotes, with spaced out seating for attendees, and some exhibitors turn the challenge of travel restrictions into a showcase opportunity for their tech – like LG who had their CTO speaking on stage from Korea as a hologram.

There is a showfloor with extra wide aisles. Not too busy (remember the capped attendance of 750/day) – but many people having conversations, face to face (masks strongly encouraged). In addition, there is a conference hall with startups and innovations and pitches in a mixed format. Also here – lots of live streaming that goes out through the event’s ‘enhanced space’ online.

Other examples of COVID-19 regulations: visitor guidance – traffic lights at the entrance of halls, hand sanitation stations, etc.

All in all – not the show we saw last year (how could it be!), but hats off to the organisers for bringing the industry together – on site and online.