GPD held a series of regional learning events this spring. These events are a great way to inform and educate industry leaders and designers alike as to what the most recent glass technology can offer. These events are also a great way for professionals from all around the world to meet and discuss business together with local specialists who were unable to attend the GPD Finland event. The first event this spring was held in Baku, Azerbaijan, in the beginning of March. GPD Istanbul, Turkey followed a week later. And finally GPD China was held in April in connection with the China Glass exhibition in Shanghai.
It might seem from the outside that all these markets – Caucasus, Turkey and China – are facing major challenges at the moment. The economy in Azerbaijan has always been based on oil production and exports. And due to the recent crash in oil prices, the whole economy is still in a recovery state. Turkey, too, has faced different kinds of challenges related to political issues. The economy in China hasn’t developed as expected and the market has slowed down.
All in all, despite the instabilities, all markets have a strong, inspiring trust in the future. Or what do you say about having the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe take place in Baku this June? Or the construction industry in Turkey that continues to expand? There is still a considerable amount of growth in China in its economic and environmental development. The country also has an admirable capability to take advantage of downturns, with companies investing in new equipment and seeking new business opportunities.
The first-ever GPD Baku
It was inspiring to see a good combination of different glass market players gathered in one place. The participants had a strong visible desire to develop the local industry. We also had the honor of having with us the Ambassador of Finland to Azerbaijan and the Ambassador of Italy to Azerbaijan that gave the event a highly distinguishable addition.
GPD Istanbul was held in conjunction with the Istanbul Glass Expo, which is clearly growing each year. The GPD event was the second of its kind, gathering over 300 participants. The seminar program covered exciting presentations about global glass industry trends, new types of coated glass, new types of interlayers for laminated glass, the use of silicon in structural glazing as well as measurement technologies used in the glass value chain.
GPD China 2016 – Another great and inspiring event
GPD China once again gathered the leading minds to review and discuss matters affecting the glass industry globally. Presentations covered high-rise architectural projects in different parts of the world and their impact on the economy and environment. Energy performance in buildings as well as global market trends in the glass industry sparked a lot of discussion.
The role of automation in the current and future work environments is also a hot topic. It cannot be ignored by any industry. More and more, robots are taking over routine manual tasks. We should not fear the rise of machines and automation, but rather should look at how to effectively invest in them and take advantage of such opportunities.
We will definitely continue to enable the regional GPD learning events to spread the know-how by continuing to organize more events in the latter part of this year. The next event, GPD Cuba, will be arranged in December in conjunction with Cuba Glass in Havana. This exciting country is starting to open up to modernization and development in all sectors – and glass is certain to be at the forefront of Cuba’s development.