Windaba riding winds of digital change

Publication: Engineering News
Publication Date: 2020/10/02

By: Cameron Mackay, Journalist

Owing to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and physical distancing regulations, the tenth yearly Windaba Conference and Exhibition will be hosted as a virtual event on October 26 and 27.

The Windaba event brings together exhibitors, industry pioneers and leaders, investors, and power producers.

Global trade fair and event organiser Messe Frankfurt portfolio director Tracy Gounden says the event, hosted by the South African Wind Energy Association, will consist of a series of exclusively virtual webinars.

“We’ve started a series of Windaba webinars prior to the event, focusing on key industry topics. This has been well received, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

“For the Windaba event, we are planning a two-day virtual conference, and we also have a virtual marketplace going live simultaneously,” she enthuses.

Gounden adds that the virtual marketplace will serve as an online business directory for the industry.

The marketplace will be equipped with added functionality such as artificial intelligence matchmaking (for buyers to engage with the right sellers) and built-in video-conferencing capabilities, as well as the ability to livestream content to the platform and load pre-recorded content.

“We have seen a positive uptake on these platforms from exhibitors and sponsors, and we are excited to see how the event evolves.”

While a virtual event does not offer the same engagement as face-to-face events, Gounden highlights that the conference and virtual marketplace platforms will offer content in smaller, “bite-size” formats. This will enable attendees to engage with the available platforms simply and efficiently.

She notes that the virtual aspect of Windaba is expected to encourage more global industry players to attend the event, particularly without the limitation of travel costs.

“An online platform means that people, no matter where they are, can log into the platform and the conference more easily. In this sense, these virtual events are great platforms to increase brand awareness and generate qualified leads, as well as reaching a more diverse audience.”

Based on other similar industry events that have also been hosted digitally, Messe Frankfurt expects between 20% and 30% of the audience to attend the event from outside of South Africa, Gounden adds.

The event will provide the most relevant and current wind-energy sector information to assist industry players in strategic decision-making.

She adds that there has been much development in the past 12 months with regard to local renewable-energy policy, particularly in expectation of Round 5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.

“This, coupled with the need for economic recovery post Covid-19, makes Windaba a highly anticipated event in the renewable-energy sector. Discussions will be centred around gearing up for the implementation of the Integrated Resource Plan, and the role of wind energy in this implementation,” she concludes.

Edited by: Zandile Mavuso

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Features