"I may be smiling , but it's been a difficult time planning an event in this COVID pandemic, but we've always taken the the attitude at JCT that we wanted to get this back as a physical event if we possibly could," says JCT Director John Nightingale as he discusses putting on one of the first physical events in the highways and transport technology industries since the easing of government restrictions.
He tells the Highways Voices podcast this week, "We've had an enormous amount of support from our exhibitors. In fact, the demand for exhibition space is unprecedented this year, even down to the extent where we've had to ask the university who're hosting the event for additional space, which we've secured. The exhibition side is looking absolutely brilliant, and as always, we've had a fantastic response from contributors for papers, papers program is now full."
The podcast discusses the need for the industry to get back together in person, the value of networking and the business that gets done, and sparks of inspiration for new ideas, when people are physically together.
That subject is picked up by the other guest of the programme, Jacob Bangsgaard, who is CEO of ERTICO - ITS Europe. He talks about a first attempt to get an international audience together at the ITS World Congress in Hamburg in October.
"The Congress is such an important part of our work," he explains. "It's where all our stakeholders come together, it's our partners, it's all the people we work with on activities - they come together and share our experience and learn what is going on around the world."
Jacob Bangsgaard agrees with John Nightingale about the value of networking and discusses "digital online fatigue" that is facing people after more than a year of mainly home working, so he has done all he can to deliver the Congress. "Of course in Hamburg... we are putting everything in place to make a very safe event," he says. "We have the possibilities for testing, we have the possibility for social distancing. This is of course not what we hope for in October, but at least we are making sure, together with the authorities, to put in place an event which is totally in line with the currently a regulation."
Hear about the two events and also why Gaist and TRL win "Adrian's Accolade" this week.
The JCT Symposium takes place on 15 and 16 September with the MOVA User Group and first social event the day before. Find out more here.
The ITS World Congress in Hamburg is in the week beginning 11 October. Details are here.