The Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) 2022 is set to open its doors from 17-21 Apr 2022 at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Water & Wastewater Asia speaks with Ryan Yuen, managing director of SIWW, on bringing back SIWW as a physical event during the pandemic and what visitors can expect at the show.
Can you elaborate on the key considerations when it comes to bringing back the physical aspect of the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) 2022, and what can visitors to the show expect?
Ryan Yuen: We are delighted to bring back SIWW2022 as an in-person event this year. While the world has stood still last few years and people might have been used to virtual Zoom meetings, nothing beats the exhilaration of boarding a plane and flying to an overseas venue for face-to-face intellectual discussions and engagements with peers.
Last year, we organised a fully virtual SIWW2021 Online. Although the content line-up was well-received internationally, everyone missed the human interaction. Hence, we are happy that this year, we will be presenting the 2022 edition physically in Singapore. Furthermore, this is, perhaps, the first large-scale water show to take place in Asia since the pandemic.
International interest in SIWW2022 has been very encouraging. Particularly, we are expecting close to 400 water leaders from governments, utility, industry and international organisations; and more than 300 organisations will be speaking and sharing their knowledge, innovation and solutions. In addition, over 240 exhibitors from nine countries and regional pavilions will be showcasing their products and services across 21 different categories, and over 15,000 visitors are expected to attend SIWW2022 and our co-located sister event, the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore.
We have structured the show such that there is something for everyone. For instance, the flagship Water Leaders Summit will invite leaders to discuss and share policy approaches and strategic imperatives. At the Water Convention, professionals and practitioners will present technological innovations and successful case studies. Other programmes include the Thematic Forums will offer deep-dives into key issues, challenges and applications on specific urban water themes, the Business Forum will present business opportunities across different markets in Asia, and the Water Expo which will showcase the latest innovative products and services.
In your opinion, how has the pandemic shaped the future of both the water and MICE industries, and what strategies have SIWW developed to adapt to this new change?
Yuen: One clear trend that we observe coming out of the pandemic is the acceleration in digital adoption. We are seeing this trend in the water sector, similar to other industries. Digital tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are gaining traction and driving the digital transformation of the sector.
As a show, we also pivoted and leveraged digital capabilities to continue to engage our stakeholders. For example, SIWW2021 Online was our first ever fully virtual event which ran across 10 days from 21 Jun-2 Jul 2021. It hosted 120 content sessions, 124 international virtual exhibitors, and was attended by 5,000 virtual audiences and garnered over 16,000 views. One observation from SIWW2021 Online was the strong interest from the international water community in the content that was presented, with over 50% of virtual attendees having never attended a physical SIWW before.
Inspired by this, we are pleased to announce that we will be launching our new online content hub, SIWW+, during SIWW2022. All sessions delivered at SIWW2022 will be made available for on-demand viewing at SIWW+. Participants who are unable to attend SIWW2022 in-person can purchase an on-demand pass to get access to our rich content offerings.
Besides hosting content from SIWW2022, we will also be working in future with partners to host and amplify relevant content such as new articles, publications and videos on urban themes in SIWW+ so that the broader urban water community has an online resource library where they can discover new knowledge and browse the latest news and trends.