The following is a Q&A with Florian Niethammer, VISION Project Manager at Messe Stuttgart (pictured) about what to expect at VISION 2018. Topics include the growth of the show, the evolution of machine vision, and some of the technologies that are expected to be featured prominently at the show, including deep learning, hyperspectral imaging, and embedded vision.
What are you most excited about for VISION 2018?
VISION has always reflected the industry sentiment and displayed current machine vision trends. The feedback we received in the run-up to VISION 2018 indicates that the machine vision industry has been in very good condition throughout the entire year; and we expect that this excellent business development will be reflected during the three trade show days at VISION 2018 in Stuttgart.
Therefore, we are thrilled to once again host the machine vision world in Stuttgart. Personally, I look forward to meet so many of the players again in person both on the show floor in Hall 1, and during the various side events.
Is the show still growing each year? If so, why do you think that is?
Indeed, VISION 2018 again breaks records. We count 465 exhibitors, more than ever before. Out of those, some 25% are exhibiting for the first time at VISION. The number of start-ups is simply impressive and certainly one growth reason.
In addition, Non-German exhibitors represent the majority and we are happy that the global machine vision industry and its customers consider the VISION to be a must-do event. All this makes the VISION show ground growing: For the first time, we also will have exhibitors in the Foyer of the L-Bank forum and the circumferential gallery. VISION 2018 covers more trade show space than ever.
What are some of the prominent trends and hot topics you expect to see at VISION 2018?
Technological innovation forms the DNA of the VISION trade show concept. New products, new technologies, new applications, new standards – the sum of all this is captured by this years’ slogan,
BE VISIONARY.” We hear from the exhibitors that there are three hot technical topics, or even mega trends, that currently drive the machine vison industry.
One is hyperspectral imaging which is said to finally become feasible in terms of cost and complexity. The second is deep learning which is seen both as a complement and an alternative to established machine vision techniques, depending on the use case. And last but not least, embedded vision systems represent the third technological mega trend. They are small, lightweight, efficient, cost-effective and easily customizable and have become an inherent part of the machine vision repertoire.
Is there anything new this year that people should be expecting?
I believe the real big news is that machine vision technology is finally out of the niche. On the factory floor, machine vision is becoming a key element in everything that is related to Industry 4.0. ‘Machine vision is the eye of Industry 4.0’ is an often heard dictum in this respect. Embedded vision systems are expected to play an important role in the further implementation of Industry 4.0.
Additionally, technologies such as deep learning have their origin in end-consumer related developments and now make inroads in the industrial use, drawing the two worlds together. On an economic level the ongoing merger and accquisition activities in the machine vision sector raise more and more interest amongst investors that have formerly not dealt with machine vision players. Bottom line, you will definitely see some new faces at VISION 2018.
Has there ever been talks about moving the show back to an every-year schedule?
Not seriously. I think the advantages of the biannual cycle much better reflects the development cycles of the industry. Thus, we are all exited to experience the innovation fireworks at VISION 2018. Furthermore, our plan for next year is to repeat the Embedded Vision Europe conference format at the ICS right next to the show halls together with the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) as our partner. We believe that this overall structure meets best the needs of the machine vision community.