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Editorial - Real-time – the watchword for Baselworld 2018

Editorial Real-time – the watchword for Baselworld 2018

A new intelligent chat bot promises to keep us updated in real time throughout Baselworld.

With fewer exhibitors and a show that is reduced in duration by two days, the organisers of Baselworld are putting the emphasis on quality for the 2018 edition of the world’s biggest watch and jewellery exhibition. This seems perfectly logical, but from the visitor’s point of view, since there is already a website, an app and a social hub already in place, where could this additional quality come from?

The answer is “Baselworld Live News”, which the organisers are touting as an “intelligent chat bot”. It’s a logical extension of communications channels in an era when the battle is on among brands and bloggers to communicate immediately. But is this what customers actually want? We can find an answer from the totally unrelated area of Formula E. Thanks to its “fan boost”, users can vote to give their favourite driver a power boost during a Formula E race. The benefit for Formula E is a huge amount of data from their audience, which has shown them that the large majority of the customers of tomorrow in the 12-18 year-old age range consume their content on mobile devices and that they do not watch the races live (read the full interview for more information).

Visitors will have to wait until the official opening of the exhibition on the 22nd March to find out just how intelligent and how chatty the new Baselworld “bot” is. Your editor-in-chief has signed up and awaits his first interactions with eager anticipation. You can try it for yourself by signing up at https://www.baselworld.com/en-US/News/LiveNews.aspx and choosing your preferred messenger service. “In this way, we are moving from global communication to direct and personalised communication in real time,” explains Sylvie Ritter, Managing Director of Baselworld, “which allows us to bring exhibitors and visitors closer together more quickly.”

Immédiateté - le mot d'ordre de Baselworld 2018

© Baselworld

What is interesting about this approach is the use of push messaging, which brings news straight to a user’s phone, rather than hoping that they will click on an e-mail or visit a particular social network or website. Given the size of the communities using these services (1.3 billion monthly active users for Facebook Messenger, 180 million for Telegram, 300 million on Skype), the potential is huge – even without the 1.5 billion monthly active users of the most popular messaging service, Whatsapp (which is owned by Facebook). The key to success will be treading the line between a steady flow of meaningful and well-targeted information and an unrelenting torrent of spam.

The leading figures in the industry have already divulged some of the news that you might receive via this innovative new platform. In a series of newsletters distributed by the organisers of Baselworld in the build-up to the show, Jean-Claude Biver, President of the LVMH watch division, revealed that the most important launches for his three brands will be the Zenith Defy Inventor, the Hublot Ferrari Techframe II and the TAG Heuer Grand Carrera 2018. Carl F. Bucherer’s CEO Sascha Moeri evokes a “world innovation” in the form of the Manero Tourbillon DoublePeripheral. From Germany, Thomas Meier, CEO of Glashütte Original, will be bringing the first stainless-steel version of its iconic Senator Cosmopolite model. For his part, Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, is less specific but nevertheless promises to continue to “break comfort zones, conventions, boundaries and habits”. Georges Kern, who is making waves as the new CEO of Breitling (which joined WorldTempus as our most recent partner brand just ahead of Baselworld), promises to abandon the production of quartz watches and move up range towards fine watchmaking pieces. You can read more in Brice Lechevalier’s interview in the latest issue of GMT magazine. 

One collection that you will definitely not hear about through this new real-time platform will be the annual Rare Handcrafts collection from Patek Philippe. As company president Thierry Stern explains, “These exclusive and unique timepieces are usually ready just in time for the opening of Baselworld. Thereafter, many of these timepieces leave our workshops for delivery so the show offers a rare opportunity to see this amazing collection in its entirety.” That’s another good reason to visit Baselworld in person, in addition to the 10 already offered by Brice Lechevalier.

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