The organisers of this month's PALME Middle East exhibition in Dubai are tying the future growth of the event to the region's booming live events production industry, boosting the show's Event 360 component in the process.
Massive commercial growth within the region's live event production industry has prompted IIR Exhibitions to rethink its strategy in regards to PALME's Event 360 component in 2008.
For the first time in the event's three-year history, Event 360 is being pitched as a standalone exhibition.
"Event 360 has been completely rebranded; for the last couple of years it has been part of PALME and it has slowly grown but it hasn't really had its own identity," explained Neil Hickman, group exhibitions director, IIR Exhibitions.
"The market may not have been ready for something like this in previous years. However, we strongly believe it is now. You've got a huge number of international event management companies that are setting up in the Middle East because of the booming economy; it's an automatic follow-on from that."
PALME Middle East exhibition director Alex Heuff says this year's Event 360 has also grown dramatically both in scope and in terms of its physical presence. Indeed, the exhibition will occupy all of Hall 4 - roughly 3000m2 of exhibition space.
"The show is dedicated to companies dealing in event management, suppliers, rental companies, venues, stand-building companies; basically everyone who is linked to the events industry," he explains.
According to Heuff, IIR expects around 60% of visitors to the show to reside within the UAE, with the remainder traveling to Dubai from within the GCC.
Despite this prediction, Hickman believes there is still room for an increase in the number of international delegates visiting the show in the future.
"Dubai has got to the stage now where it is getting the likes of Halliburton and other regional HQs moving here," he says.
"That means that international event companies and suppliers are increasingly looking at Dubai and seeing Event 360 as [an opportunity] to promote their businesses to local clients."
The five-day Event 360 conference will incorporate 30 presentations and keynote addresses, along with networking sessions and three post-conference workshops, covering topics such as event security and licences through to legal responsibilities and insurance.
The event will also include a three-day Strategic Event Management conference, which will feature keynote speakers from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and leading event management companies from across the region.
IIR expects around 150 delegates to attend the conference sessions over the course of the event.
The conference will be followed by a two-day workshop staged from April 30 to May 1 that will include in-depth case studies focusing on issues ranging from venue security to the process of applying legal standing to events and concerts.
Event 360 will be staged in Hall 4 of the Dubai International Conference and Exhibition Centre as part of PALME Middle East, which runs from 27 - 29 April.
PALME organiser IIR Exhibitions has promised to immediately shutdown any exhibition stand at the show that displays products that infringe copyright and patent protection legislation.
Group director of PALME Neil Hickman says the organiser is taking a tough stand against counterfeiters as a sign of support to legitimate companies whose long term investment in product development and branding is under threat.
"Original goods manufacturers and authorised agencies exhibiting at our shows are understandably upset that copycat manufacturers are allowed to exhibit at certain other industry events," he says.
"Therefore, we have decided to make our stance public, not only to protect our exhibitors' brands and trademarks but also to support the industry as a whole by driving out counterfeit goods and those who market them."
Potential counterfeiters are being warned that their stands will be closed and they will be banned from all PALME events as well as being blacklisted by IIR Exhibitions. To avoid confusion, IIR is warning all exhibitors that they must be able to prove ownership or rights to manufacture, use, perform, sell and display patented products, copyright works, trademarks and trade names.
Information packs sent to exhibitors reiterate IIR Exhibitions' copycat policy for all of their professional audio, light and AV series of events including PALME Asia and PALME India, together with the INSTALL and Event 360 series of events.
"This is part of an ongoing campaign to address industry concerns over product piracy and copycat manufacturers," explains Hickman. "The issue is a global one and we want to ensure all our events are fake-free. Counterfeit products stifle innovation and creativity, which is the very essence of our industry."