Smarter ways to safer events

Eddie Choi offers four solutions to help organisers and venues minimise health risks; planners also need new protocols as Covid-19 restrictions ease

HARVARD researchers are suggesting that social distancing might still be necessary until 2022 to keep the coronavirus from resurfacing. With the economic losses the events industry has been suffering, however, people are eager to get back to business.

So we must be constructive and committed to extra effort in over the weeks and months ahead as Covid-19 is contained.

The first concern that comes to mind when it comes to live business events is hygiene – it’s an absolute priority.

You may have a hygiene plan that appears to be common sense, but there’s a lot of nitty-gritty detail to consider when it comes to re-planning and executing events as hopes increase of Covid-19 infections coming under control in Asia.

Here are some cleantech, smart-sanitising and digital solutions we can apply at events. They are available on the market and any event agency looking to resume business in the “new normal” can use them as part of their improved practice.

1/ Sanitising tunnel

Equipment of this type is already in use at AsiaWorld-Expo and Hong Kong International Airport to screen health workers who carry out Covid checks on incoming passengers.
Watch it in action here

This is a self-disinfecting coating that can be sprayed on the surface of screens or hardware to inactivate viruses and kill bacteria.
Watch it in action here

3/ Fair tracing
German company Adventics developed another interesting solution called FairTracing.

It maps the route of an exhibition attendee based on data points where that visitor was engaged, such as booths or coffee lounges. In the case of an emergency, the health authorities or epidemiologists can retrieve the data to study a possible contagion.

FairTracing emerged from Adventics founder Gunnar Heinrich’s lead-sourcing solution, Scan2Lead.

4/ Blockchain
HiCard also demonstrates a smart solution in using Blockchain to provide secure identity management. This enables health authorities to issue digital health certificates to certify that digital-pass holders have tested free of Covid-19.


We should also take note of Bill Gates’ inspiring 2015 TED Talk “The Next Outbreak? We’re Not Ready.”

On dealing with pandemics, Gates said “we need to pair those medical people with the military, move fast, do logistics and secure areas”. Now I’m not here to pitch to the events industry that we should follow military ways of working, but a serious approach to hygiene shouldn’t simply be about distributing masks or offering hand sanitiser.

More… Get ready for the post-Covid push

Instead, we should improve the standard of workplace safety for the different stages and environments of an event. A systematic approach with a vigilant mindset is similar to how the military mobilises the resources and organises logistics.

Click for an enlarged image

To further illustrate, I asked my design team at Mills to help visualise workplace safety practices for different stages and environments when preparing an event under “The Improved Normal”.

Looking at the details the team articulated, it tells me that event logistics today are certainly not labour intensive, but more about brain work.

Though Covid-19 brought an unprecedented crisis to our industry, I believe it will also elevate business practice standards as we deal with health and safety concerns.

We have no option but to improve.

Eddie Choi is managing partner of Mills Design,  an experiential agency with offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Mills’ clients include Google, Alibaba, Airbus, Dow, and BASF. Eddie remains on the board of Milton Exhibits Group


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