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New Stone Digital event to explore a ‘new normal’ for the industry

24 August 2021
Stone Digital

Stone Digital – Shaping a sustainable future. This is a major new high level online event to help map the future of the stone industry in the UK. It is being held 22-23 February 2022.

A major new high level online event to help map the future of the stone industry in the UK is being held 22-23 February 2022.

Run by the organisers of the Natural Stone Show and Hard Surfaces exhibitions in London, and supported by Stone Federation Great Britain, it is called Stone Digital – Shaping a Sustainable Future.

At the same time, it has been decided that the exhibitions themslves will now take place at ExCeL in London, as usual, on 18-20 April 2023.

These shows were due to be held in the spring this year. But Covid prevented that and with uncertainty still surrounding the eventual resolution of the pandemic, particularly around travel arrangements for overseas exhibitors and visitors, the organisers decided the safest decision was simply to cancel the 2021 Shows and resume again in 2023. 

Richard Bradbury, Managing Director of QMJ Group, which runs the Shows, says: “Having discussed the matter with some of the major exhibitors and the Stone Federation, whose ‘Stone Village’ is at the heart of the Natural Stone Show, it was felt it was best simply to cancel the 2021 Shows and resume in 2023. 

“There are a lot of unknowns that make the future particularly unpredictable at this time, but there are some general directions that are becoming clear. And by talking to each other within the industry they will become clearer still, with answers starting to emerge. The aim of this event is to move that conversation on.”

“But because there is so much happening – the UK defining a new role for itself outside the EU; the 2030 and 2050 targets for Net Zero carbon emissions; the extraordinary Covid-accelerated move towards a more digital future, to name just three – we felt the industry needs a platform to bring this all together.

“There are a lot of unknowns that make the future particularly unpredictable at this time, but there are some general directions that are becoming clear. And by talking to each other within the industry they will become clearer still, with answers starting to emerge. The aim of this event is to move that conversation on.”

The online Stone Digital – Shaping a sustainable future will involve presentations by some of the industry’s most influential personalities, with opportunities for everyone to participate and contribute by asking questions and presenting their own ideas.

Jane Buxey, CEO of Stone Federation, says: “Stone Federation are delighted to be supporting Stone Digital in 2022 and are looking forward to the return of the Natural Stone Show in 2023.

“We encourage all those in the natural stone sector to take advantage of the opportunities that Stone Digital will provide.”

There is a call for papers for the event, to give an opportunity for everyone who wants to contribute to do so. Those wishing to participate will be invited to submit their presentation suggestions later this month (September).

There will be four sessions on each of the two days, each lasting approximately 80-minutes. Live questions will be taken at the end of each presentation, while a panel at the end of each session will bring speakers together for 20 minutes to explore key drivers for the industry going forward.

Stone Digital will be hosted throughout by professional presenter Susannah Streeter. She has already hosted a number of ‘sustainability’ themed conferences, including the World Green Summit in Dubai and the decarbonization stream of the recent UK quarry industry Hillhead Digital event.

For Stone Digital, ‘sustainability’ will be the overarching theme, with the opening session concentrating on the benefits of a collaborative approach to whole-life sustainable construction from concept, through build to use.

The second session will focus on planning, developing the Build Better Build Beautiful theme of the government’s planning review, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and National Model Design Code (NMDC).

Retrofitting existing buildings rather than demolishing and rebuilding can significantly cut the carbon footprint and cost of construction, and this is another area that will be explored.

The first day will conclude with a session on responsible sourcing, covering modern slavery and supply chain management.

Day Two will start with a look at how to select the right stone, with the right fixing going back to a properly designed frame, producing a building that will perform as it was designed to throughout its life and provide a more sustainable solution.

The second session will look at examples of design solutions for economical use of materials, such as post-tensioned stone and lightweight frames.

The conversation will then move on to re-visiting how stone was used in the past and transferring that to a modern theme, as has been so ably demonstrated at 15 Clerkenwell Close in London, where the use of a stone exoskeleton has cut the carbon footprint by more than 90% compared with steel or concrete.

And to conclude, an attempt to provide some comprehensible answers to the questions of the digitalization of stone design, production and use, moving into the wider issues of information technology for marketing and business management.

An online exhibition will accompany the Stone Digital  Conference. A virtual booth is priced at just £1,200, which will be fully deductible from the cost of a stand at the 2023 Natural Stone Show or Hard Surfaces.

Registration to attend Stone Digital opens in October. It is free. Keep up to date at www.stonedigital.co.uk, which is going live later this month.

 

 

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