Dr. Bernd Scherer
Articles by Dr. Bernd Scherer
In its report, the VDMA cites technological innovation as a key decision-making criterion for German public authorities and purchasing executives Germany’s robust demand for firefighting vehicles is showing no signs of slowing down. That is the verdict of a recent market and economic status report put out by the firefighting technology association within the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), and welcome news for companies planning to exhibit at INTERSCHUTZ 2020. In its report, the VDMA cites technological innovation as a key decision-making criterion for German public authorities and purchasing executives. Other key criteria include the quality of the vehicles and the associated equipment and software. Standardization and service are also mentioned as critical issues. The report further notes that buyers are looking forward to seeing the first market-ready electric drive systems. Well-equipped with modern firefighting equipment “We expect that investment in firefighting vehicles will continue to be buoyant for the remainder of this year and through next year,” said Dr. Bernd Scherer, CEO of the VDMA’s firefighting technology association. “Firefighting tech providers are already busy gearing up to reach and impress purchasing managers at INTERSCHUTZ 2020. They stand committed to innovation and technological progress – not as ends in and of themselves, but rather only if the resulting advancements lead to real-world benefits in terms of quality, functionality or safety.” Overall, the report rates Germany’s fire services as being ‘well equipped’ to ‘very well equipped’ in terms of modern firefighting technology. “This healthy level of technical procurement over the past year is likely to rise even further this year,” Scherer said. “However, the biggest challenge for the sector is, in fact, human resources, namely retaining existing staff, recruiting new staff, offering appropriate professional development programs and ensuring operational readiness. All of these points are right at the top of the sector’s agenda.” When it comes to vehicles and equipment, European, and particularly German, fire and rescue service technology standards are highly respected worldwide" High-quality fire safety technology standards “In our view, better technology, better performance and new fields of application are the key drivers of investment in Germany’s fire services. And providers who also tick the quality and service boxes will enjoy particularly strong demand,” Scherer added. Scherer notes that the overall sector trend is further towards product standardization, with over 80 percent of users regarding standards and overall weight as being very important. “German standards are an invaluable marketing asset. When it comes to vehicles and equipment, European, and particularly German, fire and rescue service technology standards are highly respected worldwide.” According to Scherer, the growing number of market-ready electric drive solutions represents a promising new mobility option for the fire services: “Smaller vehicles weighing less than 3.5 metric tons, in particular, are already available and in demand. The main obstacle at present is the charging infrastructure, which is not yet fully developed.” eMobility will be a key theme for the vehicle manufacturers exhibiting at the next INTERSCHUTZ. Showcasing latest developments and innovations INTERSCHUTZ is the world’s leading technology show for the fire and rescue services, civil protection, safety and security. It is also very much a business show and a regular calendar fixture for decision-makers and purchasing executives in these sectors. Technology providers catering for the fire and rescue service sectors use INTERSCHUTZ to showcase their latest developments and innovations. Over 32,000 visitors used information gathered at the show as the basis for concrete investment and purchasing decisions On the visitor side, INTERSCHUTZ attracts public procurement officials, mayors, treasurers, chief fire officers, regional fire officers and commissioners as well as decision-makers from professional, private and volunteer fire services and an international mix of others who play a major role in purchasing decisions, e.g. from business, municipal or state backgrounds. Information used for decision making The INTERSCHUTZ 2015 visitor survey revealed that 43 percent of the show’s over 150,000 visitors were involved in their organisations’ capital investment decision making. Over 32,000 visitors used information gathered at the show as the basis for concrete investment and purchasing decisions, and over 8,000 visitors placed orders at the show. The next INTERSCHUTZ will be held from 15 to 20 June 2020 in Hannover, Germany. The show is organised by Deutsche Messe with the support of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), the German Fire Services Association (DFV) and the German Fire Protection Association (GFPA).
INTERSCHUTZ, which was scheduled for June 2020, will be postponed by one year. This is the mutual decision of the organizers and partners of the trade fair for fire and rescue services, civil protection, safety and security. The reason is the coronavirus, which directly affects both exhibitors and visitors of INTERSCHUTZ and requires them to be available for duty at other locations. INTERSCHUTZ will now take place from 14 to 19 June 2021 in Hannover. About three months before the actual start of the event, it is now certain that the next INTERSCHUTZ will take place in summer 2021. Exhibiting Emergency Aid Organizations More than 150,000 visitors from all over the world attend INTERSCHUTZ "The people who under ordinary conditions would have come to INTERSCHUTZ in June this year are precisely those who are most needed due to the coronavirus crisis," says Dr. Andreas Gruchow, Member of the Managing Board, Deutsche Messe AG. "As INTERSCHUTZ, we are part of the industry. With our decision, we therefore take responsibility and provide security in planning". More than 150,000 visitors from all over the world attend INTERSCHUTZ. However, in times of pandemic, helpers and rescuers are needed to maintain supplies and security. The same applies to exhibiting emergency aid organizations or authorities with security tasks whose capacities are needed elsewhere. Digital Deployment Technology But also exhibitors from the industry are directly or indirectly involved in the crisis situation, such as manufacturers of protective equipment, suppliers of digital deployment technology or even vehicle manufacturers whose customers cannot or are not allowed to visit a trade fair in this situation. We therefore would like to wish all the players and the entire INTERSCHUTZ community" "We were on an excellent path – and we are aiming for a strong INTERSCHUTZ," says Gruchow. "Under the current conditions, however, this is not possible. We therefore would like to wish all the players and the entire INTERSCHUTZ community all the best and every strength for the tasks ahead. We will see each other in Hannover in June 2021, where we will have the opportunity to take a detailed and analytical look at the pandemic – and what we can learn from it". Enormous Number Of Organizational Consequences Postponing a trade fair on the scale of INTERSCHUTZ has an enormous number of organizational consequences. The 29th German Firefighters' Day will also be postponed until next year: "The synergy between the trade fair and the top firefighters' meeting is important to us - the postponement is a joint decision," explains Hermann Schreck, permanent representative of the President of the German Firefighters' Association (DFV). The most important questions arising from such a postponement for exhibitors and visitors of INTERSCHUTZ will be published in an FAQ on the INTERSCHUTZ homepage. Further questions will be clarified via the usual communication channels. INTERSCHUTZ has a network of strong partners who have also voted for a postponement and who will now work with Deutsche Messe to set the course for a successful event in June 2021. Facing Special Challenges Dirk Aschenbrenner, President of the German Fire Protection Association (vfdb): "vfdb as a strong supporter of INTERSCHUTZ welcomes the decision. As a network of experts for protection, rescue and security, we spoke out without hesitation in favor of postponing INTERSCHUTZ after the latest developments.” The postponement of INTERSCHUTZ is both responsible and appropriate" “Especially as organizers of the non-commercial segment of INTERSCHUTZ, we know that thousands and thousands of members of the fire brigades, rescue services and disaster control have been waiting for the world's leading trade fair with enthusiasm. But we also know that they in particular are sympathetic. After all, they will be facing special challenges in their daily work over the coming weeks and months. Our greatest concern is the safety of the population. The postponement of INTERSCHUTZ is both responsible and appropriate in view of the current situation.” Operational Readiness Of The Fire Brigades “We are also aware that even if the situation eases, the numerous exhibitors from Germany and abroad will still need sufficient time for their INTERSCHUTZ preparations. As vfdb, we will use the remaining months to process and communicate this event, which is highly relevant for civil protection. As regrettable as the current, unprecedented situation is, we will learn from it. And INTERSCHUTZ 2021 will undoubtedly be supplemented by a further topic." Hermann Schreck, permanent representative of the president of the German Fire Brigade Association (DFV): "We were very much looking forward to the 29th German Firefighters' Day and INTERSCHUTZ. However, in view of the development of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, maintaining the operational readiness of the fire brigades and rescue services has top priority for us in all considerations. The planning for the DFV's large joint exhibition stand and the accompanying events will of course continue at national and international level." Manufacturers Of Firefighting Technology INTERSCHUTZ is the future forum for the firefighting technology industry" Dr. Bernd Scherer, Member of the VDMA Executive Board, and Managing Director, VDMA Fire Fighting Equipment: "INTERSCHUTZ is the future forum for the firefighting technology industry, an industry that produces safety for people. In the current situation, this applies even more – to emergency and rescue services, but also to industry.” “After all, manufacturing companies also face ambitious challenges in economic terms, for example when proven supply chains are interrupted or production sites are affected by quarantine measures. Fortunately, none of this has yet been the case for manufacturers of firefighting technology. On the contrary: We are still in a unique economic boom phase.” Innovative Technology And Committed People “Nevertheless, or perhaps precisely because of this, we would like to hold an INTERSCHUTZ trade fair in which all forces are concentrated on what makes this unique exhibition of our industry so special: innovative technology and committed people who are completely dedicated to fire protection and rescue services. We look forward to it – together with you in June 2021!" For Rosenbauer, the health of all our visitors and partners, has absolute priority" Michael Friedmann, Head of Group Strategy, Innovation and Marketing, Rosenbauer International AG: "As a system provider in fire and disaster control, we have been committed to the safety of people and the protection of society for 150 years. For Rosenbauer, the health of all our visitors and partners, as well as that of our employees, has absolute priority. This is why Rosenbauer stands fully behind the postponement of the fair. We are certain that the industry's leading fair will be a great success in 2021 as well!" Economic Interests And Actions Werner Heitmann, Head of Marketing Fire Brigades and Authorities, Drägerwerk AG & Co. KGaA: "Our INTERSCHUTZ motto 'We protect you. At all times.' also means that we are now acting prudently and protecting all those involved in INTERSCHUTZ considering the current situation. We therefore support the postponement of the fair. The majority of visitors at our exhibit have always been fire brigades and aid organizations.” “As part of the critical infrastructure in Germany, it is essential to protect the emergency services to the best of our ability and not to expose them to unnecessary risks. The rescue forces must be prepared for action. Furthermore, we had planned a very large trade fair team in Hannover – we also have to protect them. Health and life always take precedence over all economic interests and actions of Dräger. In other words, 'Technology for Life'."
When a trade fair decides on a lead theme, that is just the beginning. It is then up to exhibitors to take the next steps by breathing life into the lead theme – by featuring it at their stands, providing hands-on demos and sparking dialogue. "We are absolutely delighted at the early, strong commitment of our exhibiting partners and companies at INTERSCHUTZ 2020," says Martin Folkerts, Global Director of INTERSCHUTZ at the Deutsche Messe group of companies. "Our exhibitors are in the process of developing an abundance of great ideas and concepts which they will be showcasing at the fair, highlighting the opportunities that digitization and connectivity will provide for fire brigades, rescue services, civil protection and security." The following details some of these. Sharing International Experience Digitization, automation and connectivity are more than just modern buzzwords for us" "Digitization, automation and connectivity are more than just modern buzzwords for us," says Dirk Aschenbrenner, President of the German Fire Protection Association (vfdb). "The application of digital technologies is a prerequisite for speed and effectiveness. The use of robotics in danger prevention, for example, is no longer merely a utopia, but, in many areas, has already become a part of everyday life. Let me simply mention the use of firefighting robots or drones to explore emergency deployment sites." In Hannover in 2020, the vfdb association will present the current state of research in the field. "INTERSCHUTZ 2020 offers the best opportunities for sharing international experience among developers, manufacturers and users," says Aschenbrenner. The German Fire Service Association (DFV) is taking the connectivity lead theme literally and planning a showcase whose visualizations are all interconnected by an overarching network/web. Securing Livelihoods At a number of different levels, the web will symbolize the importance of connectivity for the further development of fire protection. "Under the keyword of 'Fire Brigade 4.0', there are already visible opportunities and capabilities to improve, accelerate and change the tasks of the emergency services – even if this might seem a long way off," says Frank Hachemer, Vice President of the German Fire Service Association. "But these opportunities are also associated with challenges that need to be mastered, such as data protection, training and budgets." In addition to technological and tactical connectivity, there is also connectivity between people. "Political and social connectivity will become increasingly important and intensive for mastering problems, for securing livelihoods, for the further development and daily work of the fire brigades," says Hachemer. Digitized Production Different conditions apply to the area of fire prevention and civil protection" "Connectivity is therefore the keyword, not least for the fire brigade associations and – as their umbrella – the German Fire Service Association, which we, as the central element, are placing at the core of our activities – and not just at INTERSCHUTZ." The keyword 'Fire Brigade 4.0' is derived from the oft-cited term 'Industry 4.0', which refers to digitized production and a high degree of connectivity between industrial enterprises. The two terms however cannot be equated. "Different conditions apply to the area of fire prevention and civil protection," says Dr. Rainer Koch, from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Paderborn. "High-connectivity solutions are possible for areas like preventive fire protection and resource planning. And 3D simulation systems for managers and staff training are already available in the training sector." Smart Home Technologies But the conditions for emergency services are different, he maintains. "For information systems to support us in this area, they need to offer a maximum of robustness, user friendliness and speed," says Koch. "In addition to providing already prepared information, these systems would then also be able to interact with building systems – and initial projects for the use of smart home technologies have already been launched. Digitization and automation can definitely facilitate the work of the emergency services here." When it comes to game-changing digital technology, industry is called upon to gear up, and by that I particularly mean industrial manufacturers and automotive makers. "Especially in an age of rapid technical change, INTERSCHUTZ is a definite must for everyone on the lookout for innovations," remarks VDMA Managing Director Dr. Bernd Scherer. Digital Assistance Systems The central prerequisite consists of reliable, manufacturer-independent standards" "Real-time communication over ultra-fast 5G networks, networked deployment processes, digital assistance systems and electric drives are high on the industry's innovations agenda." But digitization must not be an end in itself, as Scherer also makes clear: "Manufacturers of chassis, superstructures and equipment who are members in VDMA rely on reliable, robust and intelligent technology, true to the motto that what is sensible is also that which is useful for the purpose at hand." According to VDMA, the advantages of digital technologies include the promise of transparent and sustainable processes, effective coordination and a significant increase in operational reliability. These promises are not, however, a guarantee. "The central prerequisite consists of reliable, manufacturer-independent standards," says Scherer. "This is the only way for interfaces to function smoothly – regardless of whether they are mechanical, hydraulic, electric or digital in nature." Partnership-Based Networking Rosenbauer is one example of a vehicle manufacturer that has been relying on its own developments and innovations in the field of telematics systems and IT-supported deployment management for over ten years. "These systems are now being massively further developed, with the focus on customer benefit," says Michael Friedmann, Head of Group Strategy, Innovation and Marketing at Rosenbauer International AG. "This is not only about digital solutions for vehicles, but connectivity now also includes new technological options, with the keyword here being drones or smart wearables." Friedmann is convinced that a trade fair is also the right place for this, even in the digital age: "We want direct communication on site, because as the innovations, technology and world market leader at INTERSCHUTZ, we act as a platform for partnership-based networking on the megatrends of our time and on approaches for joint solutions." Optimization Of Processes Digitization, communication and overarching forms and systems of cooperation play an obvious role in this" The fields of rescue services and civil protection are also positioning themselves in relation to the lead theme. Johanniter Unfall Hilfe, for example, focuses on connecting people and technology for the benefit of people. "In the rescue service and in civil protection, everything revolves around the optimization of processes and procedures in order to serve the ultimate goal of saving human lives," points out Hannes Wendler, State Director of Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe (German Order of St. John) in Lower Saxony and Bremen. "Digitization, communication and overarching forms and systems of cooperation play an obvious role in this.” The challenge lies in enabling rescuers and helpers – equipped with specialist skills and all the available technical aids – to consistently act in a targeted and manner based on the situation at hand. Advancing Urbanization "We see ourselves as networkers for people – including our staff members and volunteer helpers," he says. "In addition to progressive HR development, this also includes space for innovative projects and services like telemedicine in offshore rescue and VR rescue simulations." As the flood of data grows, so does the complexity of the decision-making process Stefan Truthän, Managing Partner of hhpberlin Ingenieure für Brandschutz GmbH, focuses on civil security. His company deals intensively with the digital answers to new challenges, such as advancing urbanization, growing infrastructures and the increasing strength and frequency of natural phenomena. At the same time, digitization itself presents people with new challenges: As the flood of data grows, so does the complexity of the decision-making process. Concrete Connectivity Scenarios This leads Truthän to demand: "If civil security wants to take its mission seriously, data and thought silos need to be cracked open and the growing volume of data intelligently connected," he says. At INTERSCHUTZ 2020, hhpberlin will display a series of showcases highlighting the potential of digitization for civil security and fire protection. "Together with RXSK GmbH and selected partners from the digital industry, we will be using concrete connectivity scenarios to demonstrate the possibilities of new, non-redundant and latency-free collaboration," says Truthän. "Only if all actors interact more intensively and transparently than in the past, can cities become safer in the long run."