Printing Expo was introduced in 2020 in response to the pandemic, to help reduce the impact it had on the exhibition and event industry when print shows around the world were postponed or cancelled.
The show is hosted on the V-Ex Virtual Exhibition platform and organised by Resolve Business Management.
It works in the same way as a live exhibition, with ‘attendees’ able to ‘walk’ the aisles of the virtual venue, visit virtual representations of individual suppliers’ stands, and request information on specific products and services, new and old. HD videos, 3D products, and literature downloads are claimed to facilitate real-time sales enquiries.
HP’s commercial, labels and packaging side has already had a presence at the exhibition since it launched.
Themed ‘Print for the Future’, HP Large Format Printing’s new booth, which has a focus on sustainability, has previously been seen in-person at live events. The stand, which went live last month, can be visited in the virtual arena 24/7, 365 days a year.
The virtual ‘Print for the Future’ stand features sustainably produced applications, and visitors will be able to find out more about the company’s latest technology, including the Latex 2700 series with white ink; its hybrid and flatbed print systems, such as the Latex R and Latex 700/800 Printer Series; and a range of print-and-cut products.
The printers can be seen as 3D renders while videos, downloadable brochures, and text provide additional context and content to add value to the visitor experience. Visitors can also access various eBooks offered online in the HP eBook Library, to see industry trend information, while on-demand webinars are also available.
Attendees are then able to book virtual product demos, request print samples, and organise meetings with HP specialists in real life to discuss their needs.
Carolin Sommerer, head of marketing for HP Large Format, said: “At HP, we put our customers at the centre of everything we do. As part of this approach, we want to give our customers many different options to engage with HP technology and to learn about how our solutions can help them grow.
“Being prepared with the best tools, accessible from everywhere, is the key to be successful in a very competitive market in which a hybrid world has become reality.”
Event director Wayne Beckett told Printweek: “We’ve already got HP Indigo, with the digital pouch factory and the commercial showroom, but this is HP Large Format, which is completely separate to Indigo.
“It’s brilliant because we didn’t have any large-format at the show and our visitors were requesting it. We did some surveys and they told us that along with offset, that’s what was missing. We now have HP Large Format, and Heidelberg for offset, so this ticked a couple of big boxes for us.”
Other recent additions to the show include a Xeikon labels showroom – the manufacturer’s third showroom on the platform, and German company Ribler, which offers PUR binding equipment. A new sustainability zone has also been opened at the show, which now boasts around 50 exhibitors.
Commenting on the ongoing attraction of the platform, despite the successful return of live events, Beckett added: “HP Large Format, for example, can’t take every machine to every show, and they can’t exhibit at every show, so this allows people to view an HP Large Format stand from anywhere in the world. We’ve got 20 machines on the stand.
“Exhibitors are creating hybrid events [both at real-life shows and via Printing Expo Online]. We were never there to replace live shows, and I’ve always said this from the outset, but if I’m a printer in Peru, I’m probably not going to get to Drupa. And PSPs [print service providers] are quite time poor. The 25-35 age group is our strongest area for visitors and this plays to their strengths.”