A year ago, I reflected in my introduction to the IUMI Eye which accompanied the Stockholm conference that the previous 12 months had seen an amazing upheaval. We had taken a step into the unknown and decided to proceed with the Stockholm event by moving it fully ‘online’. As it happened, this new format was a real success. We would all have much preferred to meet in person in Stockholm in September 2020, but we at least proved the ‘zoom’ format could work.
In turn, the further decision we have been forced to take – to hold the ensuing Seoul conference online as well – has in some ways been a more straightforward one. It remains a decision we would much rather have not had to arrive at, but the complexity of the pandemic meant that the conference could only proceed on this footing. However, as we did with Stockholm, we shall be sure to inject some of that local ‘host’ flavour into proceedings.
The ambition remains to return to ‘in person’ annual conferences as soon as the pandemic situation allows for this to happen – starting with Chicago in 2022.
In the meantime, our ‘Common Theme’ in Seoul is ‘Pathways to a sustainable, resilient and innovative future’. We shall certainly not ignore COVID and the mark it has left, but we also want to look ahead to the future. The common theme encourages us to do this. As usual, the IUMI conference will present a series of topical technical workshops with themes ranging from the impact of environmental change, the carriage of COVID vaccines, cyber security and the digitalisation of supply chains.
There is much to debate.
Whether you are a seasoned conference attendee, or a first timer, I hope you enjoy the event.