Walking through the halls of London’s ExCeL last weekend, I was reminded again of the melting pot of factors that must be considered when creating an event on the scale of 100% Optical.
Back at the launch in 2014, we knew that there was the opportunity to create a new kind of experience for eye care professionals, putting their needs at the heart of the event.
But how it has grown since then. Estimated record-breaking attendance figures this year – just shy of 9000 – plus a reported hike in the number of first-time visitors to the show, are a reflection of how much pace 100% Optical has gathered.
On the show floor, we took the opportunity for some Davina McCall-style vox pox video interviews with show attendees, supported by OT’s ace cameraman, Laurence Derbyshire.
These conversations were revealing. Yes, attendees loved the education on offer, in the knowledge the speaker programme had been crafted with care by the AOP’s head of education – and OT’s clinical editor – Dr Ian Beasley. And yes, they loved being able to discover new products and brands, as well as speak to the established companies that continue to serve the sector so well.
What I was also struck by was attendees’ simple pleasure in using the event as an opportunity to reconnect with fellow practitioners and make new professional connections. The growing enthusiasm for peer discussion is another sign of the clever, but oh-so-true marketing tagline: ‘It’s good to talk.’
Over the course of the next month, OT will continue to report on the highlights from the event. Already online to look out for is OCT insights from Birmingham Optical’s Jason Higginbotham, and optometrist Niall O’Kane’s reflections on “breaking the vicious cycle” of dry eye.
Any reflections of the weekend would not be complete without a special mention of the AOP Awards. Celebrating excellence across the profession, it was a night of laughter, tears and dancing. OT would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all the nominees for their achievements. Roll on 2019.