Midnight last Sunday marked the end of a very exhausting, but at the same time amazing, trip to Hannover in Germany to visit the Hannover-Messe tradeshow.
It all started last Tuesday afternoon with a train and a plane down into Hannover (queue “twinkle” music and a 1990's “fade-back”)…
After a few hours travelling I arrived at Hannover airport very late. Being quite tired and with very few German words in my vocabulary (meerschweinchen being one of the less useful ones) it was a miracle I made it further than that! Happily I did however eventually arrive at the apartment I was AirBnB-ing at – and a very nice place it was too!
No rest for the wicked though as it was up bright and early the next day to head down town to Hannover-Messe.
Before we go any further… What even is Hannover-Messe?
In a sentence – It's Comic Con for businesses looking to find suppliers.
In other words it's where businesses from all over the world come to meet businesses from all over the world:
- Where people find suppliers for a product they're getting manufactured.
- Where businesses find the perfect partner to work on a project with.
- And where you can find the latest innovations in everything from nano-technology to software to clean energy.
The place is MASSIVE too…
My aim? I was there to connect with suppliers from all over the world to find the best people for the job of making Version 22's future products.
The first day was spent simply going around two halls (one small corner of the map above). I learnt all about the latest technology out there, from the very smallest nanotechnology used to create water and bacteria resistant coatings – to the very big components used in wind turbines. My head felt like it was going to explode by the end of the day from the amount I saw and learnt!
To give you another idea of scale here's the first hall I visited…
As well as getting to try out an Oculus Rift developer kit first hand (weird but cool) I also spotted this – seemingly magic – water wheel!
It uses springs made out of a metal known as shape memory alloy that changes shape when heated up. The result? The wheel turns when placed in hot water that isn't even flowing! The could be great for generating electricity from waste hot water, but that's another story entirely.
After spending most of the first day getting my bearings I returned the next day with a very clear plan of action; there were particular people and industries I wanted to meet so I was on a mission!
The day was an exhausting one spent walking up and down many of the halls at the show, who knows how many miles I covered! I spoke to dozens of different potential suppliers from all over the world and made some great connections, I learnt a lot about different manufacturing processes too.
Here are a few choice pics from the day, first up an exhibition of the latest in material technology:
A tire made from dandelion root rubber!
Robot arms lifting entire cars
A 3D printer big enough to print entire buildings!
And another robot arm this time demonstrating the arguably more useful skill of pouring the perfect pint (no the pint wasn't for me… a big shame I know!)
After two days spent at Hannover-Messe and walking around 10-15 miles through the trade-show I was happy I'd seen everything I needed to. So after one day of catching up with work at the apartment this left me two whole days to explore Hannover, and what a place it is!
This is Hannover park, there was a marathon going on at the time so plenty of runners to watch out for…
I found this fellow near the city centre…
And the eye-catching Hannover Town Hall too!
After two days of sight-seeing around Hannover, using their public transport excessively (which is much better than ours by the way) and sampling German food at its finest, it was unfortunately time to say goodbye to Hannover. At least for now anyway, rest assured I plan to return to Hannover-Messe in the future, maybe even next year who knows!