Pandemic Delays Sessions, Drives Conferences Online

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During a time of year when many representatives of the photonics industry would be gathering at conferences in Europe and beyond, the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a shift in the timing and format of trade shows. Some are being postponed, others are being presented virtually, and others have been outright canceled. Select events may be expected to take place as planned, while conference committees monitor the situation carefully.

Messe Frankfurt, shown above, is slated to host Optatec 2020 in the fall. The trade fair was rescheduled due to COVID-19. Courtesy of

Messe Frankfurt, shown above, is slated to host Optatec 2020 in the fall. The trade fair was rescheduled due to COVID-19. Courtesy of

Photonics Europe goes digital

SPIE Photonics Europe was originally scheduled to take place in Strasbourg, France, from March 29 to April 2. Once it became clear the event could not be held in its physical location due to restrictions on public gatherings, SPIE quickly moved to accommodate the program. The organization made several research tracks available virtually in the SPIE Digital Library.

“We already have experience with an upload presentation site. We used the same company and added the ability for presenters do their voiceover at the same time as they uploaded their presentations,” said Daneet Steffens, SPIE public relations manager. “In this case, it was simply a case of synching up presentation audios with their PowerPoints. All the presentations were prerecorded, and we had our customer service staff on hand to answer any questions.”

Steffens said more than 3700 people registered for the free event, which was offered April 6-10 and received more than 21,500 views of presentations on topics including nano and quantum technology, biophotonics, lasers and nonlinear optics, imaging, sensing, and metrology.

 SENSOR+TEST attendees mill among numerous industry exhibitors in 2019. The 2020 event has been canceled. The next trade fair will take place May 4-6, 2021. Courtesy of AMA Service GmbH.

SENSOR+TEST attendees mill among numerous industry exhibitors in 2019. The 2020 event has been canceled. The next trade fair will take place May 4-6, 2021. Courtesy of AMA Service GmbH.

More information on SPIE events and archived presentations can be found at

EMVA delays, moves online

Meanwhile, the European Machine Vision Association Business Conference, which had been slated for June 25-27 in Sofia, Germany, has been postponed to June 10-12, 2021. The EMVA Young Professional Award program was canceled as a result of the shift. However, a condensed one-day virtual conference will be held Friday, June 26, of this year.

The EMVA is a not-for-profit organization that is owned by its members, who represent over 120 companies, institutes, and organizations that originate from Europe, North America, and Asia. The association seeks to represent the interests of its members and promote the vision industry, and to encourage cooperation and standardization.

Organizers of the business conference said they wanted technical presentations to be available in some form for registered attendees. Andreas Breyer, manager of media relations, said the online program contained recordings from many of the confirmed speakers. But one key element of the event as a whole, he said, was the value that person-to-person networking can provide, so organizers have done their best to accommodate that as well.

“All registered participants will be able to arrange individual bilateral video meetings during the conference breaks, given that the requested video partner agrees,” Breyer said.

He directed those interested to visit their website at

Optatec rescheduled

Optatec 2020 — the 15th incarnation of the international trade fair — was initially scheduled to be held May 12-14, at Messe Frankfurt in Germany, and was previewed in the spring edition of EuroPhotonics. But organizers have announced that, due to the ongoing pandemic and restrictions on travel and public gatherings, the event will be postponed until Nov. 17-19.

The event has moved from hall 3.0 to 3.1, which is flooded with light for a better view of exhibits.

P.E. Schall GmbH & Co. KG is the principal organizer of the event, in collaboration with other organizations, including SPECTARIS, Optence, and OptecNet Deutschland — associations for high-tech industries and innovation in Germany and beyond. As a result of this collaboration, hundreds of exhibitors display a wide variety of optical components for potential end users. They demonstrate industrial prototypes in the areas of optomechanics, optoelectronics, fiber optics, fiber optic cables, laser components, coatings, optical metrology, image processing, manufacturing, communications, and safety systems.

“We are looking forward to the next Optatec international trade fair for optical technologies, components, and systems, where the most important players from the optics industry worldwide will meet again in Frankfurt,” said Julia Ulrich, project manager for P.E. Schall.

SENSOR+TEST canceled

SENSOR+TEST 2020 has been canceled following confirmation of a ban on public events by the Bavarian government through August. The announcement was made by Holger Bödeker, managing director of AMA Service GmbH, in a letter to registered attendees. He said the event would be held May 4-6, 2021, at the Nuremberg Exhibition Center.

The two conferences that were to be held jointly with SENSOR+TEST — the SMSI 2020 Sensor and Measurement Science International and the ettc2020 European Test and Telemetry Conference — also will not take place this year.

SENSOR+TEST is an international trade fair highlighting sensor, measurement, and testing technology that draws a wide array of researchers, product engineers, and others from Europe and beyond.

When the event does take place, visitors will learn how the sensing industry has improved condition monitoring in systems and equipment, and also see a special contributor to the field, who will be recognized when the AMA Association for Sensors and Measurement presents its 20th AMA Innovation Award.

AMA Service GmbH and the AMA Association, which jointly organize the event, present the Innovation Award to enterprising and inventive developers of sensors and measurement technology. The €10,000 prize is awarded by the association after judging by representatives of universities and institutes.

According to the event website, payment for some services made in advance of the conference would be reimbursed and others would not be invoiced.

“We’d like to give special thanks to the many exhibitors who wanted to show at the SENSOR+TEST 2020 and hoped and fought along with us for the event. Despite the global economic turbulences and worries, there were in fact very few cancellations,” Bödeker said. “This is a great vote of confidence we appreciate very much.”

SENSOR+TEST is facilitated by an executive committee, an exhibitor’s committee, and several supporting organizations. For more information, visit

Published: April 2020
conferences and trade showsSENSOR+TESTAMA Association for Sensors and MeasurementAMA Innovation AwardSPIE Photonics EuropeEMVA Business ConferenceEMVA Young Professional AwardFeatures

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