Untact Trend of the Solar Industry in the Post-Corona Era
Jun, 2020




As social distancing is spreading due to the aftereffects of COVID-19, the previous trend of ‘contact’ transactions is switching to ‘untact.’ Companies that had released new technology and products or sought global sales opportunities through exhibitions are changing their marketing strategy to untact, such as operating virtual exhibition halls. In response to such changes, Q CELLS is also preparing the operation of a virtual exhibit hall.



COVID-19, Opening the Untact Era


As COVID-19 is spreading all over the world, lifestyle, business and economy trends are shifting to a focus on untact. Free movement and meeting socially has become difficult. Instead, untact connections have grown stronger through online channels. Teleconference solutions like Microsoft’s Teams and the usage of OTT (Over-the-Top Service) services such as Netflix also have increased sharply, and consumers purchasing daily necessities via online stores instead of brick-and-mortar marts or department stores has become part of everyday life. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, even the generation unfamiliar with digital technology and the Internet is being quickly absorbed into the online environment. In addition, requests for connections via online are leading to demand for technology enhancing immersiveness and sense of realism via realistic content such as with Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

 

On the other hand, voices of concern are rising with regard to the rapidly changing untact era. As e-commerce or working from home, and teleconferences conducted online in an untact manner are increasing, security risks such as information leakage or hacking are growing. Because of this, we are at a point where stepping up security and preparing countermeasures is essential. 






Companies Providing Point of Contact for Customers via Virtual Exhibition Hall 


Companies are actively responding to the rapidly changing business environment due to COVID-19 with virtual exhibition halls. Samsung Biologics opened to the public a virtual exhibition hall featuring untact digital technology at ‘BIO Digital 2020,’ the world’s largest pharmaceutical and bio event. A virtual exhibition hall is broadly divided among three major businesses: CMO (contract manufacturing organization), CDO (contract development organization), and CRO (contract research organization). Through various video and graphics content, the public can vividly see detailed explanation of services and facilities provided by the company. Virtual exhibition hall visitors can freely download the information they want about Samsung Biologics from a resource library. If there is additional information they are curious about, it can be requested separately or a 1-on-1 meeting with the person in charge can be booked. This has taken face-to-face meetings at an exhibition into the virtual exhibit hall. 

 

Hyundai MOBIS is producing Virtual Tech-Fair content in a situation where direct sales or ordering activity through traditional face-to-face contact is limited due to COVID-19. The content covered in the virtual technology exhibition are new technologies in key technology areas such as future technology, including self-driving sensor, electrification, connectivity, and braking, steering, lamps, airbags, etc. The information produced as VR content and opened to customers in the form of a link for a certain period of time. KT is promoting its own 4th industrial revolution technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR) and working to connect this to businesses that KT is running: ‘Future-on’ and 5G Open Lab exhibit. However, as the number of physical visits decreased due to COVID-19, they have prepared an untact R&D exhibition tour program. In this program, a professional docent introduces Future-on and 5G Open Lab in real-time 1 on 1 or 1 on N (up to 20 people) using a 5G-based video communication solution operated by KT.

 

Even the cultural community is practicing ‘social distancing’ by fusing digital technology with a stage performance. Last April, a live video of the 25th anniversary performance of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ serviced on a YouTube channel, ‘The Show Must Go On,’ gained so much popularity that over 10 million people worldwide viewed the performance over a 48 hour-period. Gyeonggi Art Center also held a spectator-free performance that was very well-received as it was broadcasted on YouTube. Not content with this, Gyeonggi Art Center is in the process of preparing a live-broadcast of a spectator-free performance using virtual reality (VR). For this purpose, it will collaborate with a telecommunication carrier to offer the performance as a VR live content.






Wave of Untact Marketing Trending in the Solar Industry 


Likewise, many companies are utilizing ‘untact marketing’ as a solution to breakthrough the situation where business as well as the overall culture and society are shrinking due to COVID-19. The same trend applies to the solar industry, which is breaking away from the previous formats and jumping into various forms of untact.

 

SUNGROW, a manufacturer specializing in photovoltaic inverters and ESS with its head office in China, hosted ‘Smart Energy Virtual Show’ from June 15th to 19th. At this event, space was provided for opening SUNGROW’s new product to the public. In addition to this, the company conducted a 360-degree booth tour in which people could freely look around its booth using VR, and proceeded with an online conference and education program with an expert featuring two-way interaction. The ‘Smart Energy Virtual Show’ hosted online achieved a record of over 10,000 views on the first day.

 

SolarEdge also hosted a ‘Virtual Solar Show.’ For two days from June 16th to 17th, SolarEdge’s latest smart energy solution was announced via a virtual booth prepared for online exhibition, and a teleconference with an expert was conducted. Apart from this, the company enabled visitors to vividly experience detailed information about the company’s services and facilities through an ‘Online LAB tour’ and ‘VR booth tour’ where visitors could look around the head office research laboratory via online.

 

‘2020 EU Sustainable Energy Week,’ Europe’s largest renewable energy event hosted by the European Union (EU), decided to host the event online for the first time since its launch in 2006. For this event, carried out from June 22nd to 26th, all programs, including online digital policy conference featuring two-way communication, EUSEW awards ceremony, and a seminar for companies participating in the conference were carried out online.



Q CELLS’ Webinar Together with a PV Magazine

 

Q CELLS is spurring DT innovation from a company perspective, and is preparing to take on a new challenge in the post-Corona era. As the first step, Q CELLS held a webinar together with PV Magazine. ‘Webinar’ is a compound word of ‘Web’ and ‘Seminar,’ referring to a seminar conducted online.


In this webinar, with the theme, ‘FILLING IN THE GAPS,’ Q CELLS introduced its own revolutionary technology, ‘Q.ANTUM DUO Z,’ and ‘Q.PEAK DUO-G9’, a high-density module born from this technology. In Q CELLS’ webinar, ‘Mark Hutchins’ of PV Magazine, ‘Jürgen Steinberger’ of Q CELLS, and ‘Bengt Jäckel’ of Fraunhofer CSP participated as panelists, and the new technology, Q.ANTUM DUO Z and new product, Q.PEAK DUO-G9 was introduced in detail along with technical explanations for the first time. In addition, various topics were covered, such as the various approaches of manufacturers for producing high-density modules, and its advantages and drawbacks, as well as discussions of various technologies for manufacturing high-output modules.


In addition to the panel discussion, Q CELLS held a Q&A session for online participants. For this session, questions were received online beforehand, and during the webinar, it was carried out with interactive multimedia through chat windows in real-time. This webinar ended in great success amid the positive response of companies, including industry officials, and consumers interested in solar power for domestic use. The video can be viewed by registering at the PV Magazine website.


The greatest advantage of a virtual exhibition hall, including webinar, is that there are no physical limitations. Without the need to spend time and money going to an exhibition center, consumers can see products, information or companies that they desire through online access regardless of their location. Because there are also no time constraints, consumers can view contents at their desired time. Despite all the advantages it is regrettable that ‘the experience’ of touching, tasting, and communing is disappearing. And it is uncertain how many foreign buyers will visit a virtual exhibit hall. Problems can also arise from a technical perspective according to the Internet environment. However, the fact that they can get in touch with and lead the conversation with foreign buyers in a virtual exhibition hall under circumstances where it is difficult to travel between countries means a lot to companies.

Q CELLS also pursues transformation suiting the post-Corona era while engaging in company-wide DT activities, preparing digital-based virtual exhibitions beginning with the recent webinar. We hope you will anticipate and take interest in the virtual exhibition projects that Q CELLS will introduce as the company spurs DT innovation and prepares to take on another challenge amid the globally shrinking physical business environment.







1. Untact : Newly coined in Korea, combining ‘un-’ and ‘contact’, means ‘noncontact’
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