Exhibition World | Interview25Using your background in corporate research, doyou have any plans to introduce new researchprojects with national associations such as AUMA,AFIDA or SISO?"There is a lot to be done in the area of research. Untilvery recently, although some national organisations weredoing work, the industry was woefully under-served bygood quality research on an international level. UFI hasalready been working hard to rectify that and we haveinvested in additional resources with that goal in mind.However, there is really still a lot that we should be doing.And we can't do it all by ourselves. "We must draw on the excellent work being done by theassociations you mention, as well as others like CEIR inthe USA and some of the national associations in Asia."Are there any geographic regions you'd like to seeincrease their UFI membership? Will there be anyregional campaigning to this end?"The types of companies I already mentioned that I'dlike to see coming into UFI are all over the world. We arehaving some success right now in Western Europe witha number of really important organisers who weremissing. There is still some work to do in Asia where theindustry continues to grow strongly and in the MiddleEast and Africa. "We are really excited, though, by the opportunitieswe are seeing in Latin America. There is really a lotgoing on in Brazil and some of the countries in thatregion. We're seeing a lot of interest from the nationalassociations and some of their key members and oneof UFI's vice presidents was just recently in Argentina,meeting the industry there and speaking at theirannual conference."What are your views on promoting the uptake ofnew technologies (RFID etc) in addition to existingand widespread tech such as social networking?"This is a really interesting area and one where a globalassociation like UFI can make real contribution by helpingto showcase the best of what is happening in differentparts of the world. I think you'll be seeing lots ofinteresting technologies being discussed at our meetingsand, I hope, used at them too. We should have one or twoinnovations on show in Singapore (the venue for thisyear's 77th UFI Congress) and much more to come. "The other area where I'm really interested to seetechnology being put to use is in opening up ourmeetings and events more easily to global participation.Many people do, of course, travel from all over the worldto UFI events, particularly the Congress and our biggerseminars, and they'll continue to do that. We have lots ofworking committees and shorter focus meetings, though,for which it's not always easy to justify travel, especiallyinter-continental. "So, although I don't anticipate we'll replace face-to-face meetings with technology, I do anticipate that we'llbe facilitating virtual participation in a number of ourmeetings to open them up to wider group of ourmembers. Watch this space!"As you look at the year ahead, how do you see thestate of the industry and corresponding state of UFI?The past couple of years have been tough in most partsof the world and we're tracking that with the UFIbarometer research. There are encouraging signs now,though, that the industry is picking up well in exhibitorand visitor numbers. It will still be a year or so beforewe're back to full health everywhere, but in many parts ofthe world it's already "full steam ahead". In good times orbad, the industry needs the services that an associationsuch as UFI can offer and we're here, standing by andready to help our members manage the tough times andtake maximum advantage of the upturn.Going up: Woodward and UFI members at the 2009 summit Passing the torch: Gerard and WoodwardTHE MAGAZINE FOR THE GLOBAL EXHIBITION COMMUNITY WWW.EXHIBITION-WORLD.NET| September 2010|It will still be a year or so before we'reback to full health everywhere, but inmany parts of the world it's already'full steam ahead'.
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