Maximum Freedom for Speech- and Hearing-Impaired Visitors

25th May, 2018
Stefan Lohnert, Vice President of Guest Events at Messe Stuttgart, was clearly pleased to welcome in such a worthy cause. “Deutscher Fürsorgetag can be traced back to Germany’s original association for welfare and care for the poor, which was founded in 1880. This rich history surely puts the event among the oldest we've ever had the privilege to host at our trade fair grounds. The topics it covers, however, are more current than ever 138 years on, and the technology making it all possible is definitely 21st-century,” Lohnert pointed out.
Deutscher Fürsorgetag (the “German Day of Care”) takes place in a different location every three years. In 2018, Messe Stuttgart’s International Congress Center got its chance to serve as the venue from 15 to 17 May. For those three days, some 1,800 attendees and 50 exhibitors explored questions related to modern and forward-thinking social welfare systems, social solidarity, and ways to handle diversity. These topics were highlighted in an exhibition area and various symposia and expert forums. Nearly all of these facilities were fully occupied and equipped with sophisticated conference technology. Here, Neumann & Müller (one of Messe Stuttgart's service partners) was able to fulfil every request of the host organisation, the German Association for Public and Private Welfare.
“We made a number of efforts to offer as much barrier freedom as possible, including projecting sign language interpreters onto a large screen during presentations in a real-time picture-in-picture display,” reports Avni Memaj, a project manager at Neumann & Müller. 
“We also had infrared equipment running in all 14 of the conference rooms that were booked, which used induction loops to amplify sound for the visitors who need hearing aids. That provided for the greatest possible convenience and freedom of movement, as it meant that these visitors could move from room to room without having to change the settings on their hearing devices or external headphones,” Memaj adds.
On the second day of the event, the City of Stuttgart invited those interested to attend an “evening of encounters”, which featured a theatre performance by the inclusion-minded troupe Inclusio. This also required special measures to ensure the safety of the performers. “We always have to make safety a priority when it comes to stage equipment, but when people with certain limitations are involved, the usual measures aren’t enough. That's why we positioned the stage manager, who's responsible for things like the lighting and directing traffic in general, right at the access point to the stage. From there, he was able to look after the ensemble's safety personally and make sure that no one took a tumble,” Memaj continues.
The host organisation was very pleased with how the 81st Deutscher Fürsorgetag went – and came away particularly impressed by the facilities at the ICS. “Along with the excellent local transport infrastructure and the grounds’ location right next to Stuttgart Airport, the professional support we received from the Guest Events staff really won us over,” explains Michael Löher, chairman of the German Association for Public and Private Welfare e.V. “From the natural light in all the modernly appointed rooms to conference equipment that never let us down, our speakers and attendees had everything they needed for a successful event.”

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