In January of 2021 Robert Stelling started his new role as the director of Interclean. Almost one year later we asked him how he looks back at this past year: the biggest developments in the cleaning industry, the highlights for Interclean and his view of the future.
How do you look back on 2021?
The year 2021 was a strange year to take over as director of Interclean, with Covid-19 still out there. A lot has happened for the industry and for Interclean. We started the year working from home. Personally, I found this quite difficult. Organizing tradeshows is a team effort, and I really missed meeting the team in person. But overall I am proud of the things we accomplished this year and the fact that we could remain a valuable platform for the industry. Also, I am excited about the developments within the cleaning industry this year.
What were the biggest developments in the cleaning industry in 2021?
I think in 2021 there is no escaping Robotization. We see this in the registrations for the show, as well as in our online blogs and in other industry media. Another hot topic this year was Disinfection, in all kinds of ways with all kinds of new technologies. Such as UVC-cleaning, air purification and non-chemical disinfection. A third important development within the cleaning industry is Sustainability. I think this was an important topic for the last years, but was paused for a while due to Covid19. Now everyone seems to be catching up on this topic. A few years ago ‘sustainability’ meant developing green products, now ‘sustainability’ means much more than that. Manufacturers are looking at the whole chain: this also includes packaging, raw materials, circularity and efficient cooperation with customers.
What were the highlights for Interclean this past year?
The biggest highlight of Interclean in 2021 was the first edition of the Interclean China tradeshow! Interclean China took place in-person, in Beijing, with an additional online platform for the international visitors. When we announced the show in 2019 the intention was to bring a new international concept to China. But then suddenly we couldn’t because of Covid19. So we looked for alternatives to make it international. We created an online platform where international visitors could meet exhibitors, and recorded valuable presentations of international speakers. We organized this all from home, which is quite an achievement from the team. And an even bigger achievement for the team in China! They managed to organize a full-size tradeshow in these difficult circumstances.
This year we also noticed the need from exhibitors to continue put their new products on the market and meet new customers. At the same time we had a few big industry themes that we wanted to put in the spotlight. So we came up with the concept of the Interclean Online Sessions, which we did twice this year. The concept was more than just a webinar; there were interactions with visitors and presentations from exhibitors in the industry. With this new online component we deliver value to the industry in addition to our in-person exhibitions in Amsterdam and China. Looking at the reactions, I think this was quite a refreshing concept. I’m proud of this concept we came up with and how the market reacted to it. On 8 February 2022 we will host another webinar, this time about Technology.
What is the future of Interclean?
Continue to be the most important platform for the cleaning industry. And of course continue to organize THE moment when the entire industry comes together in-person. I am definitely convinced that meeting in person will remain very important; to network, to look each other in the eye, to see products, to demonstrate, to be inspired So once every two years in Amsterdam and once a year in China. In addition we want to continue to highlight big industry themes, provide articles about trends, we want to give the industry a platform to connect and talk, and we want to give the chance to present innovations. This way the Interclean platform remains valuable to the industry because of the tradeshows, but definitely also throughout the year.
How do you feel about entering 2022?
I am optimistic and positive! When when we look at the reactions from the market, whether it’s associations or exhibitors, everyone is really looking forward to Interclean Amsterdam 2022. Personally I am really looking forward to meeting all the friends and partners again, and to be together again here in Amsterdam.
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