Oceanology International, the world's largest exhibition and conference for the subsea sector, was originally scheduled for March 2020, subsequently rescheduled to December 2020 due to COVID-19. The organizers last month announced the need to take this iconic event 100% virtual due to the lingering pandemic. Below is the editorial from event director David Ince, as published in the "Oi 50th Anniversary Edition", published by Marine Technology Reporter and included with the November/December 2020 edition.
It’s November, and as I re-write this foreword, for a second time this year, I can honestly say 2020 has been…….challenging!?!’
Back in March, after 2 years of dedicated work from the Oi team building up to a 50th Anniversary Oi, it was devastating that we had to put those plans on hold until December, and I don’t think any of us thought that the COVID challenges we have all faced this year, would still be having such a huge impact on our personal and business lives at this time.
That decision was made with the support of what felt like the whole industry and I would like to extend a huge thank you to all of Oi’s loyal Exhibitors, Visitors, Speakers, Delegate, Partners, Stakeholders and more who have stuck with us, in an ever-changing and challenging landscape to get to where we are today.
Around this time with a physical event, we would normally be welcoming thousands of attendees from around the world to London, braving the March weather and looking forward to the fast approaching Spring. The excitement of throwing open the doors and physically seeing the culmination of 2 years’ work, hearing the buzz and excitement of business being done is something we won’t get to experience in the same way this year. But life, and industry still goes on, and the innovation and desire to find new solutions, something that has underpinned Oceanology over the years, has been brought to the fore across wider society and I am happy to say, that we will still be welcoming thousands of attendees from across the world, from December 1 to 4, albeit from their offices or homes, on an integrated and dynamic meetings platform – Oi Connect.
The decision to develop Oi Connect– and create an online meetings platform is something that has received the welcome support from a large proportion of our exhibitors and visitors. Everyone has struggled this year to connect in the same ways as previously, and everyone has learnt new ways to engage with customers, partners and stakeholder. I believe Oi Connect will help us all do some of this in a meaningful way, and hopefully close out 2020 and start 2021 on a positive note.
It is a different way of engaging with each other, but we have all adapted this year to new ways of working, and I am happy that see the understanding and support, and willingness to work with the Oi team from across the ocean tech industry.
As a visitor, Oi Connect will enable you to search for Oi contacts, across the ocean technology sector, arrange 121 video meetings, explore technology and innovation, do business online and learn from conference sessions and product showcase demonstrations online. Our exhibitors will also be able to do the same, and will be looking to contact visitors directly, identify key contacts, build relationships and create new connections –all via an integrated video meetings and chat platform.
All the things you could usually do at Oi (…almost...) – just different!!
Please, register for Oi Connect; talk, meet and communicate with each other as you would at a physical event (just different!!) and most importantly enjoy the week of Oi Connect and have a fruitful show experience, cementing old alliances, learning new knowledge and forging new connections.