The 21st edition of Singapore International Bunkering Conference, fondly known as SIBCON by peers in the marine fuels sector, is scheduled to take place between 6 to 8 October 2020 after a recent confirmation by long-time organisers Informa Connect.
This time, the world renowned event will be continued on a virtual platform – a decision made after careful consideration by the SIBCON committee – due to its sheer importance for the marine fuels industry despite the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“SIBCON is an enabler. We are, collectively, facing unprecedented times due to COVID and challenging market conditions,” Sukumar Verma, Managing Director at Informa Connect, Singapore told Manifold Times in an exclusive interview.
“The industry needs guidance, information and collaboration opportunities to move forward as a whole and SIBCON is ideally placed to provide this.”
The Singapore bunkering publication was seeking for more details on how the world’s most respected bunkering event will be carried out; for several (including the author), it is the first time attending a massive virtual event with features such as exhibitions, livestreaming, on-demand content, and more.
“SIBCON 2020 will be the perfect opportunity to embrace innovation, and the new normal for conferences. We want to open up the thinking associated with attending such events and show the marine fuels industry new possibilities available with the virtual format,” notes Verma.
“The ‘new’ SIBCON will be completely different to the point that it cannot be compared to the earlier physical format. We are now offering an online marketplace, which is also a content and engagement solution.
“With it comes unique advantages of attracting a new profile of people from around the world who may not have made it to the physical event, if we proceeded with it, for the reasons of travel safety, time and cost.”
He noted SIBCON 2020 will be accessible within a web browser through an event platform called Swapcard.
“Swapcard is an integrated platform that will host the virtual conference, virtual exhibition and virtual networking components for SIBCON this year,” he explains.
The program is an intuitive and easy to navigate platform and offers delegates the ability to customise the event to their needs; such as by tracking the participant list, visiting virtual exhibitions, prioritising networking, organising one-on-one meetings, and more.
“All registered participants will receive joining instructions, and we will have onboarding sessions for anyone who needs it,” adds Verma.
In addition, Informa Connect will conduct a more detailed education process for sponsors and exhibitors to help the audience maximise possibilities of the virtual platform for networking, data gathering, and business opportunities.
“The virtual environment offers scale in networking, uses AI to do match making and suggest meetings, and helps in focused lead generation. Further, every meeting held virtually is akin to exchanging a business card, and the person details can be used for further follow up,” he says.
“Brand engagement in a virtual event can be captured by monitoring who attends which session, who downloads a whitepaper, who visits a virtual booth, etc and all these details are fed back to sponsors and exhibitors for follow up and data gathering.
“Having said the above, it will help if the sponsors and exhibitors are also proactive such as by ensuring their team profiles are updated, run polls and quizzes to attract attention, offer prizes, actively source meetings, etc.”
To date, SIBCON is seeing strong support from industry for the virtual format.
“Simply put, SIBCON 2020 offers premium content plus the world’s largest bunker marketplace. All without an air ticket and hotel fees, and in the comfort of your own office/home,” concludes Verma.
“The majority of our speakers are rarely found on other bunker event line ups, and what they say can only be found in this biennial conference. The sheer scale of the event creates a marketplace enabling business transactions as well, now on a global scale.
“This SIBCON is special, and offers an opportunity for thought leaders of the bunkering industry to capitalise on as we head towards digitisation and towards a ‘new’ norm.”
Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 6 August, 2020
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