Online in the sand

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell applauds a fine start-up event by Glasstec.

The coronavirus Covid-19 will cast a long shadow over our way life for many months yet. However, as different countries explore ways of controlling the spread of the virus via various lockdown methods, it is interesting to see how people and businesses are resisting attempts to shut down operations for a second time.

I spent the first half of this week dipping in and out of Glasstec’s virtual conference and exhibition. At the time of writing, I hadn’t had the opportunity to try out the networking facility, but the online seminars – despite one or two technical hiccups – were surprisingly professional.

Since March, online interaction has (with no surprise at all) really taken off. I still think it can be off-puttingly clunky, especially with regard to the audio – people not muted when they should be, and tinny sound reproduction that is not easily solved by using bigger speakers – but we are getting better at it.

Watching Glasstec present different speakers (all conversing in English) with different presentations from numerous locations around the world, was impressive.

If you bear in mind that Glasstec, which is a great show with a great personality, developed this event as more of a marketing exercise than anything else after being forced to delay the physical event until next year, then you’ll appreciate how readily we’ve welcomed online conferencing into our homes and Covid-friendly work spaces.

(I’ve already got a Zoom-facilitated Christmas dinner booked in for December – must give some serious thought to what backdrop I’m going to wear.)

It is a shame, therefore, that the Italian machinery manufacturers’ association, Gimav, has so publicly dismissed Glasstec 2021 as an event it can support.

What more proof do you need that Glasstec is adapting to the new way of working, while maintaining an international focus? I saw American delegates comfortably rub shoulders with their German, British, Chinese, and Dutch counterparts. And I heard positive discussions on sensitive topics (such as politics) that would normally have been avoided at all costs.

I wouldn’t want to see business conducted solely over wifi and 4G, but if we are serious about promoting international engineering and business, and reducing our carbon footprint, then maybe Glasstec has created a viable solution.