Automate Forward 2021 Virtual Trade Show and Conference Starts Tomorrow

March 21, 2021 by Seth Price

Automate Forward is an annual trade show and conference that brings together exhibitors, industry professionals, engineers, and plant managers to cross-pollinate ideas and solutions in manufacturing.

Automate Forward is run by A3 (Association for Advancing Automation). With COVID-19 still simmering, 2021’s Automate Forward conference will be held virtually. It is free to register to attend. A3 will host the virtual conference and trade show online from March 22–26.


automate forward 2021

Automate Forward’s webpage header. Image used courtesy of Automate Forward 2021


One of the neat things about attending an online conference is the freedom to move around. Attendees can check in and out or walk around and listen to the discussion from their smartphone. This can be preferred to sitting in a conference and wanting to leave to take a quick walk or get a cup of coffee. Also, the attendee can focus on the automation exhibitions of interest rather than wandering through an exhibit hall, looking for the correct booths to visit. 


Keynote Presentations

To start the event each day, there will be a keynote panel, followed by a keynote speaker. The keynote panel discussions are hosted by four or five speakers and cover topics such as “The New Industries Driving the Growth of Automation and Robotics” (3/22) and “The Rise in Smart Automation” (3/24). Monday will kick off with Raj Batra, the president of digital industries at Siemens, who will give his keynote talk, “The Competitive Advantage is Here, and It’s All About Digital.” 


raj batra siemens

Raj Batra, President, Siemens Digital Industries, is the first Automate Forward keynote speaker. Image used courtesy of Automate Forward 2021


The conference portion of Automate Forward features 80 speakers, most of whom are industry leaders in automation. Every afternoon, there will be two sets of concurrent talks, so attendees can pick the ones most relevant to their interests. Conference speakers include representatives from virtually every name in automation, including Intel, ATI, Microsoft, Honeywell, and Teledyne

Some of the talks will be delivered from companies that rely heavily on automation, such as FedEx and UPS. The entire speaking schedule, including topics, speakers, and keynote panels, is available on the Automate Forward website.


Trade Show

The trade show portion of the event features over 500 confirmed exhibitors of automation products. ABB, Bosch Rexroth, Fanuc, Siemens, and many other companies are in the lineup. The companies will cover everything from robotic manipulators to machine vision, from big data to control software. Also in attendance are several governmental and research institutes, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Southwest Research Institute


marc segura abb

Marc Segura, Executive Global Business Line Leader - Consumer Segment Service Robotics, will speak for ABB Robotics and Machine Automation. Image used courtesy of Automate Forward 2021


In some ways, the networking at this event will be a little more personal. Instead of chance meetings in the hallway, attendees may have a higher chance of getting their questions answered by the speakers. With chatrooms, attendees can ask questions, while the speakers can respond via email at a later time. 


Event Registration

Registration only takes a few minutes. Create an account, which is one page of standard information: name, address, title, company, email, phone number, and a password. 

After that, the system will ask whether the registration is for you or someone else. The next page asks whether you will be an attendee or a vendor. Finally, there is an invoice page (which will show a balance due of $0.00 for attendees). One more click and registration is complete.

Automate Forward anticipates moving to an in-person, live conference in Detroit for 2022. The Automate Forward Virtual Trade Show and Conference will be great for making some contacts, getting questions answered, and ideas brainstormed—perhaps in preparation for 2022.