In just five month’s time, the 23rd ITS World Congress will open in Melbourne, Australia, hosted by ITS Australia on behalf of ITS Asia Pacific, Ertico and ITS America. Susan Harris, CEO of ITS Australia is here in San Jose to promote what promises to be not just an unmissable event, but an important business opportunity for American firms.
Q: Why do you think the next ITS World Congress is important for Americans to participate in?
A: We understand that from North America, Australia might seem remote, even exotic, but with the pace of ITS deployment worldwide, transportation present and future are quickly merging into one. Missing the event might mean missing out on an opportunity to close new sales or forge new alliances, and for any company or organisation wanting a voice in the conversation, it’s no longer enough to view ITS from the perspective one nation or even one continent. This will be the largest gathering of its type in 2016 – we’re expecting more than 7,000 international delegates - bringing together ITS leaders to consider the global future of transportation.
So, if you’re a potential exhibitor who wants a seat at the ITS table, you should be in Melbourne for the event, which runs from 10-14 October, and join the thousands of the world’s top innovators, academics, government leaders and financial backers who will gather there for the 23rd ITS World Congress.
Q: What can North American visitors expect to find in Australia?
A: I have absolutely no doubt that North American exhibitors will be surprised and thrilled by the return on their investment but if that’s not enough, we’ve created a “who, what, where, when & why roadmap” to help fence-sitters understand the benefits of exhibiting in Melbourne. “Who” is pretty obvious. For innovation leaders from Australia, Japan, China, Singapore and others from the Asia Pacific region, this world congress will be held on their home-field. It’s their opportunity to bring their best game, to exhibit unique and cutting edge ITS technologies, and importantly, to network with their North American peers. Many of these innovators haven’t exhibited at other world congresses and for American organisations, they represent new opportunities for collaboration, partnerships and sales. “What” goes to the quality and breadth of the exhibits and discussions. Under the banner of “ITS – Enhancing Liveable Cities and Communities,” Melbourne 2016 will diagram how technologies and organisations can work together efficiently. With an impressive technology showcase, more than 177,000 square feet of exhibit space in the Central Business District and an array of technical tours, this World Congress will show off unique deployments while advancing global conversations on big data, cyber security, connected and autonomous vehicles, freight movement and sustainability.
“Where” is just as important. The Asia Pacific Region has deployed intelligent transportation systems, often in unique ways, for years. Consider Japan’s real-world experience deploying connected vehicle technologies for example. But the region is not only responsible for some of the most innovative ITS ideas, it also represents one of the world’s strongest economies. In fact, economic forecasters are largely united in predicting that the Asia Pacific Region, particularly its emerging markets, will continue their trend of solid and sustained GDP growth in the near-term.
World’s most liveable city
Melbourne has repeatedly been voted the world’s most liveable city, with transport options including trains, trams, toll roads, cycle routes, airports and Australia’s largest container shipping port. There are many business opportunities, partners and suppliers to connect to.
“When” is clearly right now in 2016! Intelligent transportation is evolving before our eyes and with many nations embracing ITS as the solution to the world’s transportation issues, the regulatory process is beginning to keep pace with the innovation cycle. Meanwhile, our industry’s leaders, regardless of which nation they’re from, are constantly developing exciting new products and services that redefine safe, efficient transportation on an almost daily basis.
“Why” is literally, all of the above! North American ITS organisations exhibiting in Melbourne will find new audiences for their innovations. They’ll penetrate entirely new markets, see unique intelligent transportation deployments and network with an entirely new group of potential partners. They’ll also discover an ITS savvy, welcoming community, in a beautiful country that understands hospitality and welcomed 7.5 million international visitors last year. We’d love to welcome you too. Q: You’ve just mentioned the theme of this event is Liveable Cities and Communities. How has this theme shaped the event?
Enhancing Liveable Cities and Communities is a reference to what makes Australia a leading country in ITS technologies – not just in our Asia Pacific region, but across the globe. With one of the leading information technology industries within the Asia Pacific region, Melbourne in particular is the national leader, with 8,000 technology companies employing 91,300 people, earning $34 billion in revenue annually based in the country's southeastern state.
Additionally, Melbourne boasts the world’s largest continually operating tram network. Proudly, our integrated tram, train and bus network is free within the CBD, providing World Congress visitors with the opportunity to experience our tram tracker service and other real-time traveller information services – very much a theme that is enhancing our community! Q: So how is the programme shaping up?
I have already mentioned that we have an impressive technology showcase, more than 177,000 square feet of exhibit space in Melbourne’s Central Business District and an array of technical tours, but that barely scratches the surface of what will be the most important global ITS event in 2016. Before the official opening of the ITS World Congress Melbourne 2016 on Monday 19 October, there will be a High Level Policy Round Table.
We have four Plenary sessions and a packed programme of Executive Sessions and Congress Sessions. The Gala Dinner on Thursday 13 October is definitely not to be missed. But don’t take my word for it – I would urge everyone to check out the Congress website to see what Australia and Melbourne have laid on.
There’s also additional information about how to exhibit in Melbourne, or come and see me, or one of my team at Booth 338 here at ITS America San Jose.