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GATHER ROUNDMESSE FRANKFURT COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR KAI HATTENDORF BELIEVES ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY WILL ONLY ENHANCE AN EXHIBITION OFFERING, AS LONG AS ORGANISERS ARE WILLING TO CHANGE. HE TELLS EW ABOUT HIS UNIQUE VISION FOR AN AUGMENTED FUTUREai Hattendorf is not a visionary. He'll tell you that himself. However, an education in print journalism exposed him early on to the formidable potential of the digital realm. Further professional experience at Deutsche Telekom before joining Messe Frankfurt gives him a fairly lofty vantage point when it comes to exhibitions, communications and digital media. He believes the trade show is a modern iteration of the archetypical campfi re - a place for people to gather round and talk, trade and interact. He says no matter how digital media might complement this, this campfi re aspect will remain the valid and indispensable core of an exhibition. Here, Hattendorf expounds on that stance and its implications for the shape of trade fairs to come.Is Messe Frankfurt planning for an increasingly digital future?We are working on a digital strategy to establish and broaden the scope of our products and services because the exhibition industry is changing through the digital development we see. Of course these changes affect our industry as providing the world's marketplaces. It is the next major point where our industry will change and we want to be at the leading edge of that.How will emerging digital methods of networking impact the effi cacy of the trade show medium?In the years to come we will see even more business becoming a new breed; a mix of analogue and digital worlds. This obviously means that less actual trade and fewer deals take place at trade shows. However, what we have learned in the depression of 2009 is that when an industry faces stress and lines of communication start to falter, the players take what they have left and bring them to the trade shows. They retain as much spending as they can on trade shows because that's where they meet their competitors as well as their customers. Exhibitors told us the show made them understand that their industry had not ceased to exist.SHOW SUPPORT