Medica and Compamed 2015

Medica and Compamed trade fair at Düsseldorf, 2015

Under the auspices of Edwards Lifesciences I have attended Medica, the international trade fair and congress for medical technology, electromedicine, laboratory equipment, diagnostics and drugs. Medica, combined with Compamed, is an annual trade fair that takes place in Düsseldorf and serves mostly as a business-to-business meeting point for suppliers and distributors in the healthcare sector, though there are also some educational talks with interesting keynote speakers throughout the show.

The Düsseldorf Messe is huge and the trade show is spread over nearly 20 halls. With almost 5,000 exhibitors from 70 countries it is the largest medical fair in the world: last year’s edition attracted almost 130,000 visitors. Arriving at Düsseldorf Messe the sheer scale of the fair instantly becomes clear when you park your car and have to take the shuttle bus from the parking lot to the halls. Planning ahead is definitely advised.

Once inside, the contrast with a consumer trade fair is immediate and striking, especially when it comes to the level of integration in the displayed products and of course when it comes to aesthetics and usability. Most products seem to have jumped right from prototyping phase to production model, without iterations or improvements. The latter makes sense considering the investments required compared to the available budget for the often relatively small and highly specialised companies, but it also means there is a lot of room for improvement. Both the product and (production) processes can be improved significantly, reducing costs while also improving manufacturability, reliability, and usability.

The value of design as a discipline becomes markedly clear as you roam Medica, and we haven’t even touched upon user interface design yet. It will be interesting to experience first hand how far the concept of design thinking has permeated a medical multinational such as Edwards Lifesciences. For now, the breeding ground of medical wonder and ingenuity that is Medica has offered interesting insight into products catered to our healthcare sector.


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