Hannover Messe International (HMI) 2022 - 7 key takeaways from PAC Analyst Arnold Vogt

It was a pleasure to return to Hannover Messe, for me personally and for many others I met at the fair. For all those who were not able to join “post-Covid HMI”, I will summarize my key findings (my personal focus was mainly centered around industrial IoT/digital factory).

  • HMI was a global event again - This year, the fair was about 50% smaller than in the past (number of vendors, number of visitors, number of occupied halls). This consolidation was of course to be expected after all the disruption we went through in the past two years. Attendance by Asian companies in particular was much lower than in the past. However, it was not just a German event; we were able to meet many companies from across Europe, the US, and other countries, such as Israel.
  • Sustainability as a mega topic – It was no surprise that sustainability was literally omnipresent. As is always the case when new topics emerge, there’s a lot of window dressing going on. This was also the case at HMI 2022. We expect to see much more concrete offerings around sustainability for industrial purposes at the next HMI. To find out in more detail about what trends we were able to identify this year, please see my colleague’s blog post dedicated to the sustainability topic.
  • Hyperscalers are becoming more prominent and industry-oriented - We noticed a strong presence of the hyperscalers (Microsoft, AWS, and Google) at this trade fair, with a growing focus on more vertical solutions. Microsoft showcased its Cloud for Sustainability, while the status of the Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing remains unchanged for now (still in public preview). We expect it to move to general availability in the next 6-12 months. AWS showcased a variety of services dedicated to industrial use cases (e.g. Amazon Monitron, Amazon Lookout for Equipment, AWS Panorama, Amazon Lookout for Vision, and IoT TwinMaker) and an easy-to-use partner solution together with SKF around condition monitoring and anomaly detection. Google Cloud introduced a new, industry-oriented unit called “Global Strategic Customers and Industries” and showcased a new Manufacturing Connect Platform co-developed with Litmus Automation. We expect the hyperscalers to become even more prominent and industry-oriented at the next HMI.
  • Ecosystem approaches are on the rise - The hyperscalers presented a strong ecosystem approach at the fair that was very impressive. Like in the past, they all had many partners at their booths to show joint solutions for many different industrial use cases. We also observed that other vendors, such as SAP and Siemens, strongly focused on showcasing joint solutions developed together with their ecosystem partners at HMI 2022. One example was SAP’s partnership with TeamViewer. TeamViewer showcased the integration of its enterprise augmented reality (AR) platform, Frontline, with the SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) application. When it comes to Siemens, a prominent example presented at their press conference was the newly introduced Estainium ecosystem, an open network of companies aimed at reducing carbon emissions around the factory (initial partners include, for example, Merck Group, NTT DATA, and Weidmüller). We expect vendors’ focus on their industrial ecosystems to be even stronger at HMI 2023.
  • Interesting start-ups we met - IPOsystem offers a terminal with a real-time decision engine to assign tasks to individual workers according to their capabilities and in line with production requirements, without the need for production planning, scheduling, and supervisor interaction. Qeexo offers a “no-code” machine learning development platform process. Machine learning models built with Qeexo AutoML have a very small memory footprint, which allows them to run low-latency applications locally on constrained embedded devices (low-power). Tulip offers a connected worker platform. It enables frontline workers to create digital work instructions in a no-code way. Processing nowadays mainly takes place via touchscreens next to the workplaces, but will increasingly also be done via smartphones, tablets, and smart glasses in future.
  • What we missed most - We particularly missed the impressive booths from robotics companies such as ABB and KUKA, but big IT vendors such as IBM and Software AG were also not present with their own booths at the fair (only with individual demo points at other booths). We also missed major product announcements by large vendors. We believe that new products and solutions are the lifeblood of big fairs like Hannover Messe. Socializing and networking are certainly very relevant, but we doubt that visitors will see enough value in attending in the long run if no major announcements are made at HMI anymore. As a consequence, if there is reduced value for visitors, return on investment for vendors will also decrease. We encourage vendors to reconsider their approach.
  • Covid still exists – At the beginning of the fair, you got the feeling that Covid was really a thing of the past, but at the end of the fair, everybody realized that Covid was still present, spreading quickly at events like this if you weren’t careful.

Many thanks for reading this, stay safe, and I´m looking forward to seeing you all again at HMI 2023!