The first online event in the 40+ years’ history of The Big 5, The Big 5 Digital Festival, successfully concluded last week. Throughout four days, from 23 to 26 November, thousands of construction and infrastructure professionals tuned-in from around the world to restart business together, get a clear vision of what’s next for the sector, build strategic connections, and be inspired by powerful ideas.
Designed to help companies and industry stakeholders navigate the current crisis and prepare for the next normal, The Big 5 Digital Festival gathered over 500 global brands, showcasing thousands of construction products and solutions. Through its purpose-built platform, the event enabled one-to-one video calls, chats, and networking opportunities powered by an AI-based matchmaking software.
“As event organisers, we had to quickly adapt to the new normal and find viable solutions to continue accomplishing our mission of connecting and supporting the construction community despite travel restrictions, lockdowns, and physical distancing,” said Josine Heijmans, Vice President – Construction at dmg events, during her opening remarks.
According to participants, the event achieved its objective. Commenting on his experience at The Big 5 Digital Festival, Micael Castro, Export Manager at Quitérios, said:
“This was our first experience ever in an exhibition with a 100% digital format, and it exceeded our expectations. We established contacts with several interesting and reliable companies and professionals from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and America.”
Ana Alves Ferreira, Geological Engineer and Area Sales Manager at Airelimestones, echoed him:
“Our expectations for the Digital Festival were exceeded with the easy interaction in the platform and wide and diverse attendees. The networking established was a great help to improve this atypical year and create new connections.”
The event also offered a four-day “Redefining Construction” programme, aimed at developing strategies to build the construction industry of the future. Over 130 leading experts from 20+ countries discussed the market outlook, project management, smart & digital, sustainability, architecture & design, and facilities management to drive impact and get ready for the next normal.
Saeed Ghumran Al Remeithi, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Steel, said:
“We take pride in being part of this exceptional edition of The Big 5 mega event. We participated in two sessions as part of The Big 5 Digital Festival through which we were able to communicate with our stakeholders, share our outlook and contribute to the global efforts redefining the construction industry.”
Participating at one of the 56 educational sessions, Atheer AlAnsari, Architect at Emaar Engineering, commented:
“The Big 5 Digital Festival is an amazing opportunity to have the chance to meet inspiring speakers and experts who were selected very carefully.”
Mohammed Falah Khalid, Designer at Hired Hands Technical Services LLC, added:
“I am loving the diversity of speakers: everyone from all backgrounds is allowed to participate and contribute. This shows how Dubai is moving forward with diversity.”
Reflecting on the success of the event, Heijmans stated:
“The pandemic and its consequences on the economy and the construction industry have shown just more sharply than ever that the challenges we are facing cannot be dealt with by single players alone. In fact, they can only be addressed and successfully overcome if the community joins forces.
“This is exactly what we saw happening at The Big 5 Digital Festival. And this is what the team at The Big 5 is already planning for in 2021, as the industry will come back together, finally face to face again,” she concluded.
The Big 5, the largest and most influential event for the construction industry with its global hub in Dubai acting as the gateway between East and West, will return from 12-15 September at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Marking what is expected to be a new beginning, The Big 5 will be the first live, in-person global construction event in 2021. Supporting economic growth and recovery, the event will feature enhanced health and safety measures to ensure all participants can meet, network, and do business in a safe environment.
The Big 5 2021 will run alongside 9 specialised events including The Big 5 Heavy, Middle East Concrete, Windows, Doors & Facades Event, Gulf Glass, HVAC R Expo, The Big 5 Solar, Middle East Stone, Urban Design & Landscape Expo and FM Expo.
To know more about The Big 5, visit www.thebig5.ae.