An Interview with Liam Beattie about working with Informa Tech/ AfricaCom

August 27, 2020 blog

 

AfricaCom, HOTT3D

  • When and How did your relationship with Informa PLC/ AfricaCom begin?

My relationship with Informa, now known as Informa Tech started back in the late 90’s early 2000’s before HOTT3D was born. Back then AfricaCom was held at the Cape Sun International in Cape Town with just a handful of shellscheme booths and signage that consisted of just a few rollup banners. When I left my previous employment to start HOTT3D in 2005 from a farm outside Plettenberg Bay, Informa literally hunted me down to plan the 2006 event. I’m still not sure how they found me, but I suppose it was meant to be!

A relationship that has grown stronger and stronger over the years.

AfricaCom, HOTT3D

Progression of AfricaCom Logo over the past 10 years – HOTT3D was there, every step of the way…

 

  • What is the one thing that stands out to you about working with Informa?

The Informa team has always consisted, without fail, of the most professional, down-to-earth people you could wish to have as clients. All of the conference directors (and their teams) we have worked with have been amazing. They just seem to have a culture where respect for everyone in the supply chain is an essential tool. They do demand a very high-quality of work and as we were in total agreement with this approach we moulded our company based on that philosophy. I am still very connected with many of the Informa people (past and present) and this has led to many other great projects outside of AfricaCom.

  • HOTT3D is a key value-adding supplier for the AfricaCom event, how has the service that HOTT3D provides on this show evolved over the years?

From very small beginnings in the Cape Sun where a few roll-ups were produced for signage, recent years have been far more involved.

For the organisers

The signage on its own is now a huge aspect as it combines both sponsor sites as well as event wayfinding/ sponsor branding spanning both CTICC venues. The pre-planning of all this is lengthy and starts before the current year concludes.

 

AfricaCom2018_CTICC1

Sponsor Branding, Event Signage & Venue wayfinding – AfricaCom 2018

 

We have generally always been involved to some degree in other areas such as the conference set design as well as an array of off-site events such as the AfricaCom Awards and AFEST after party.

Graphic Design

Our graphic design studio creates every single piece of AfricaCom signage printed at each year’s event. If you see it printed at the show, it has gone through our graphic team.

 

AfricaCom 2015

AfricaCom 2015 Foyer

 

How graphics are produced at events has changed substantially and we pride ourselves in being the leaders in the South African Events industry for how we produce event branding. Before anyone else we were using detailed plans to rationalise how everything needs to work when installed to ensure AfricaCom’s brand is shown correctly and delegates know where to go and navigate throughout the venue. Our planning has developed to the point where we now present graphics for events using 3D renders, 3D walkthroughs and 3D scans.

 

AfricaCom 2016

AfricaCom 2016 Foyer

We were the first to take the tensioning of fabric prints to the skies in South Africa.

Panoramic view of AfricaCom 2019 exhibition halls at CTICC 1

Our infrastructure of fabric frames is vast and can now easily handle even the biggest shows at the CTICC.

  • For expo clients

After starting with the signage the organisers themselves were keen to push us as stand builders as they could see that we would deliver a quality product. This led to us starting with small Octanorm system builds in the early days and then an organic and controlled growth into stands to the point where we produced 24 booths in one of the years.

 

WIOCC AfricaCom 2019

WIOCC double story custom exhibition stand 2019

 

Our initial systems builds were the front runners in South Africa to use tensioned fabric printing almost exclusively over vinyl and solid panel printing. It took a few years for the rest of the industry to catch on and it’s now commonplace to see this build method used extensively.

 

CSGI modular exhibition stand AfricaCom 2019

CSGI modular exhibition stand at AfricaCom 2019

Ekinops_AfricaCom2019_Modular stand

Ekinops modular exhibition stand at AfricaCom 2019

 

  • AfricaCom is not going to physically take place in 2020 as an event but as a Virtual Event – Can you comment on the importance of face-to-face meetings?

There is no way online events can replace face-to-face. It’s impossible. You would not celebrate your birthday with your family and friends on an ongoing virtual basis. It’s just not a possibility. I feel that after this year’s virtual event there will be a real drive to start rebuilding AfricaCom back to its former physical self. AfricaCom specifically is an event that enables annual reconnection of businesses and friends who’s only opportunity to meet again is at this live event. There is so much history there after all these years and that carries far too much value to just let it die.

 

AHUB - AfricaCom 2019

AHUB startup pavilion – AfricaCom 2018

 

  • Which aspect of the AfricaCom event are you personally looking forward to when we meet again?

There are many, but the hyper-precision planning well over a year in advance is special. The teamwork and energy that goes into the build-up process is also something to behold. People that have never experienced this crazy buildup can literally not believe their eyes.

 

AfricaCom2018_CTICC1_event signage

AfricaCom 2018 – entrance to CTICC 1

Informa PLC – Thank you for your ongoing loyalty and for trusting HOTT3D to deliver the best every single time!

– Until We Meet Again –

 

AFRICACOM 2015 – TIMELAPSE VIDEO