INNOPROM is moving forward
14.07.2014 — Analysis
Where to get money to keep moving?
The INNOPROM – 2014 International Exhibition that came to a close in Ekaterinburg aroused mixed feelings. On the one hand, it was fascinating: the excellently organized event, creative design, top-notch participants, and breakthrough technologies. On the other hand, it caused bewilderment: the exhibition aiming to promote cutting-edge technologies left many Russian innovations out in the cold.
Experts say that the exhibition is not intended for promotion: INNOPROM must demonstrate that the Ural Region is attractive for investment. Manufacturers prefer to learn about the latest offers and to adopt advanced technologies at specialist trade fairs in Hannover and Shanghai.
In the meantime, as the RusBusinessNews columnist has found it out, filling the exhibition with innovative products available in Russia would not make any difference: it’s no use pinning hopes on outside support in building smart industry; besides, the Russians have to learn how to count on their own resources. The participants of the exhibition, who have traveled halfway around the world, assert that today’s INNOPROM can be compared to the leading industrial forums: It has not reached the level of the HANNOVER MESSE yet; however, it is undoubtedly a world-class event. The statement can be proved by the number of the visitors from other countries as well as by the diversity of the displayed robots, control systems, software, creatively designed eye-catching display stands, some of which are completed in the futuristic style, and the varied business program.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who has already been several times to INNOPROM, even made a joke, saying that he should be awarded a Guest of Honor badge. Then, he stated seriously: “The exhibition was a success!”
The exhibition also showcased innovations, which have just been introduced to the world. For example, Uraltransmash, OJSC, occupied half of the pavilion to demonstrate a streetcar designed as a "space" vehicle having nano-coating and the body made of composite materials. Alexey Nosov, General Director of Uraltransmash, states that the Russian contribution (components and engineering) accounts for 87% in the vehicle.
Andrei Misyura, Adviser to General Director of NPO Avtomatika, Federal State Unitary Enterprise, thinks that the Ural factory not only showcased a unique prototype that had never been displayed at any other exhibition, but also created a breakthrough innovation in the transport machine building. The factory managers searched technology all over the world and found it at the Moscow Aviation Institute, the South Ural and Ural Federal Universities. It makes perfect sense that the innovative vehicle made its debut at the industrial exhibition in Ekaterinburg.
Governor Yevgeny Kuivashev believes that in addition to fulfillment of the state defense order, INNOPROM offers the defense industry an opportunity to test its potential and find partners for further fulfillment of orders for civil engineering.
Alexander Balandin, General Director of the Pumori-SIZ Ural Machine-Building Corporation, LLC, thinks that INNOPROM has good prospects, as participants of the exhibition want not only to show their products, but also to capture the attention. From the perspective of the informative value and promotion of smart industry, the exhibition has definitely accomplished the intended purpose.
The recovery of the cost of the participation in the event is a different story; however, it is highly important for commercial entities. As machine-tool builders have got used to dealing with business matters at specialist exhibitions, Pumori-SIZ set no business objectives, being satisfied with its demonstration of "national economy achievements".
Nikolay Mushnikov, Deputy Chairperson of the Ural Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences, thinks that INNOPROM could have showcased much more innovative products, if the rent had been more affordable. Academic institutions are not short of innovations, but the price of 50 thousand rubles for a square meter of bare space is too high for them. Mushnikov says that scientists can visit Hannover or Dusseldorf three times on the money asked by the organizers of the Ekaterinburg exhibition and can display their products, having the same floor space. That is why, the academic science is demonstrated mainly at machine-building and metal-working exhibitions.
At INNOPROM, Mushnikov notes, there is no one to show know-how to, because the exhibition is intended for decision-makers rather than for specialists. The response of the former depends on the impression made on them. Therefore, the exhibitors do it right, emphasizing the image that has an impact on the subconscious mind.
The perception typical of specialists is different: They agree that the streetcar looks fascinating; however, they are more interested in its internals. It may turn out to be not innovative at all. The participants of the forum prefer to discuss the consequences of the Western sanctions rather than technological advantages of products.
Nikolay Mushnikov thinks that the exhibition does not play a crucial role in promotion of advanced technologies; on the other hand, it may not be its intended function. INNOPROM should show that the Ural Region is attractive for investment. The distinctive environment, special-purpose exhibits, discussions, communication, and all-embracing service – all these help to negotiate and conclude contracts.
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