Sunday, February 11, 2018

Participation in the Agrotica 2018 International Fair

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the 27th International Fair for Agricultural Machinery, Equipment & Supplies Agrotica 2018, as a member of the NEUROPUBLIC team working with the gaiasense smart farming system. We are talking about a huge exhibition focused on agriculture, with thousands of visitors of all kinds - from farmers looking for the new machinery to meet their needs to hi-tech company representatives looking for collaboration opportunities with other companies. I participated in the four days of the event (Thessaloniki, between 1-4/2/2018), along with colleagues from NEUROPUBLIC.

This year, NEUROPUBLIC worked jointly with GAIA EPICHEIREIN towards a joint booth for gaiasense, and the result was outstanding; it was a huge booth, consisting of an informational desk, several tables with chairs for discussions with potential customers, two screens with video playback at the sides and a main video wall for the gaiasense (and other) presentations taking place during Agrotica 2018. On top of that, gaiasense had a 4-hour dedicated informational event on Friday 2/2/2018, for selected potential partners (mostly agricultural advisors, researchers and farmers), which attracted more than 160 people.

Full house at the gaiasense information event at Agrotica 2018

The gaiasense informational event had me multitask between preparing & sending tweets with photos (for once more using by Logitech K480 keyboard with two smartphones and one tablet!), jotting down notes, talking to contacts that made it to the event, meeting new people and addressing their questions and taking some photos, too (see below).

From my side, I had an active role in the preparation of all this - mostly in the selection of the invitations' list, the promotion of the event through social media and contacting some key persons for attending the event or visiting our booth. During Agrotica 2018, I was one of the "booth team", providing information about gaiasense to anyone interested in it (and there were dozens of them). I was also responsible for sharing updates through social media (a challenging task, taking into consideration the almost non-functional wireless connection of the event) and also taking some photos (a "backup photographer, as there was a professional one around most of the time - this allowed me to dig out my Olympus EPM-1 camera and take some nice shots).

At the booth I had the opportunity to meet old friends (mostly from university days) and colleagues, collaborators in projects etc. I also met some interesting people, passionate about their work and eager to learn more on how to apply gaiasense in their cases. These are the early adopters that an innovative system like gaiasense needs in order to get a boost at its first steps :-)

Overall, the experience was pretty challenging, including long hours at the booth, addressing various unexpected issues on the spot, having an irregular daily schedule with few snacks, lots of coffee and lots of laughs with colleagues and friends! The most important outcome of these days though, was the fact that we came to actually meet many different potential customers / users of gaiasense, hear what they need and see if (and how) gaiasense can help them address their needs. It helped us (and me personally) better understand how we can reach these people by better understanding their needs.

Back to work now :-)