Interview: David Ince, Event Director, Oi
From its founding in 1969, Oceanology International has evolved into what is arguably the biggest and best gathering for the global subsea technology community. To help celebrate Oi’s 50th, Marine Technology Reporter visits with David Ince, Event Director, Oceanology International for his insights on ‘what’s to come’ for visitors and exhibitors at Oceanology International 2020 in London.
Briefly discuss your responsibilities with the venerable Oceanology International brand.
I have responsibility for the management and operational delivery of the Oceanology International portfolio including exhibitions and partnerships, conference/content programme development, audience/visitor delivery and event/portfolio marketing. The portfolio has grown over the last couple of years and we now hold an Oi event every 6 months in different global and regional markets including London, San Diego, Shanghai and the newly launched Oi Middle East event in Abu Dhabi.
I am fortunate enough to have been involved in the management of Oceanology International since 2015, and to be able to help develop Oi throughout its 50th anniversary has been a fantastic experience. There are not many events that can say they have been running for 50 years in any market, and Oceanology International is not only an important event in the business calendar, but also holds a special place in many people’s hearts, as they have been involved and had engagement with the show for, in some cases, decades. It is very much an event that has grown with the industry, and therefore with individual careers and many companies development.
To what do you credit the long, successuf run of Oi?
That Oi has been able to develop and grow as an event for 50 years, highlights the affinity people, exhibitors and visitors have had with the show. Oi has been able to develop alongside the companies and sectors its helps represent and is something I take pride in delivering. We are a direct representation of the people, technology and innovations that have driven the industry forward for 5 decades and with that comes a responsibility to continue to deliver the content, contacts and community that our exhibitors and visitors expect.
What can visitors to London expect new for Oi ‘20?
Bigger and better is the mantra behind all things Oi, as we look forward to the next 50 years of representing the global Ocean Technology community. As always there will be a healthy social element to the event whether it be the OceanSocial Icebreaker, daily happy hours, or individual exhibitor functions being held across the week. We are also trying to focus on the people elements of Oceanology and are currently reaching out to all of the people that have been involved over the years to tell us their best Oi stories and journeys intertwined with the event. I would love to be able to have a live focus, during the exhibition focusing on this element, and then reiterated in the special 50th anniversary supplement we are producing in partnership with our friends here at MTR.
How about a ‘by the numbers’ look at Oi ‘20?
We are also on track to produce the largest Oi exhibition yet, with more than 500 companies represented across 17,000 sq. m. of the Excel Centre, double the amount of companies demonstrating equipment live on the Royal Victoria Dock, a new Future Tech Hub showcasing 18 small companies that are all new to Oi, an extended Technical Conference, Ocean Futures Forum (Blue Economy and Emerging Markets), Catch the Next Wave (the Future of Ocean Technology) and a whole lot more all to an expected audience of over 8,000 people, a great testament to the strength, longevity and delivery of Oceanology International.
The Oi brand does not rest on its laurels, and in fact you have recently expanded, again?
Yes, it is very exciting to be able to announce a new edition of Oceanology International Middle East, which will be taking place in Abu Dhabi from the September 7 to 9, 2020. We have an established office in the UAE and have been running the World Future Energy Summit in Dubai for many years, with existing partnership with different areas of government in the region already established.
As we see at each Oceanology event, science, technology and innovation help drive effective solutions as different industries and governments look to the world’s oceans as a solution for sustainable and responsible resource development.
With the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean region increasing its footprint across different marine environments Reed Exhibitions and Oceanology International is perfectly aligned to help answer these challenges. At the end of our 50th anniversary, we are excited to bring this event and the connections it can facilitate between the international community and regional stakeholders to the Middle East, alongside established our events in London, San Diego and Shanghai.
So with a global brand, what are the central concepts that tie together the Oi event no matter where it sets up for business?
If we look across the entire portfolio of Oi events it is the technology that binds them together as the requirements for better and more sustainable ways of working in the world’s oceans increases. There are different areas of focus in each region when it comes to use of technology however I think you could still say that tall of the events are driven by the Marine Science, Ocean Observation, Offshore Energy and Ocean Resource sectors, even if the proportions that attend at each event differs slightly. We are always looking to develop a unique audience for each event, for example at Oi Americas in San Diego, over 90% of the audience have never visited another Oi event before, a very important distinction to continue to develop in order to deliver value to the companies investing in each event. Oi China in Shanghai is predominantly Chinese although the team are also building audiences from key SE Asian markets including Japan, Malaysia and South Korea. Oi in London is the key global meeting spot, connecting businesses, government and academic institutions together.
Bring on the next 50 years!!