With globalization and digitalization at the forefront of today’s cleaning industry, the Congress has appropriately selected as an opening speaker European Union Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther Oettinger, who was previously responsible for the EU’s Digital Economy and Society sector. Oettinger has compared digitalization’s importance to that of the printing press, the steam engine or even electricity.

“The BSC industry has been slow to adopt technology both from an equipment utilization standpoint, as well as using data to better manage our businesses,” says Doobin. “The speakers will provide insights, trends and what we can expect in the next few years.”

Information technology specialist Daniel Domscheit-Berg will also present a keynote speech at the Congress, focusing on the “opportunities and risks of digital interconnectedness.” Domscheit-Berg’s interests in freedom of information and the transparency of the internet found a home at the whistleblowing platform WikiLeaks from 2007 to 2010, where he worked as WikiLeaks' spokesman under the pseudonym Daniel Schmitt. In 2011, Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers.” Today, Domscheit-Berg is involved in projects concerning the protection of private data and the decentralization of internet infrastructure.

Other keynote speakers include Anja Förster, internationally renowned entrepreneur, and Dr. Willms Buhse, a leading expert for digital leadership and CEO of digital consultancy doubleYUU.

The keynote speakers will tie in nicely to the other education sessions, which will focus on topics such as data handling, smart buildings, digital procurement and disruptive technologies.

“We are in a constant race, digitizing as much as we can — from how we accomplish tasks to gathering the data around those tasks,” says Youssef. “The info that will be shared from speakers and vendors alike will be around moving our industry to a digital direction.”

Exhibitors, too, are expected to embrace the digitalization theme, showing off the industry’s most advanced robotic cleaning equipment and Internet of Things technology.

“The high-level industry exhibition running parallel to the Congress — Cleaning. Management. Services. — will also provide the ability for BSCs to discover the latest trends and developments in many facets of building management,” says Bruland.

Off of the show floor, WFBSC has planned four social events for BSCs from around the world to network with one another, says Doobin.

And outside of the Berlin ExpoCenter City grounds, WFBSC attendees will have ample opportunity to explore the historic city and its countless cultural and artistic sights, as well as its fine selection of restaurants.

“I plan on traveling through Germany, as well as taking advantage of its position to visit other countries as well,” says Youssef. “I highly recommend others take advantage of the opportunity for their enrichment.”

And, of course, with a short trip down to Munich, travelers can attend the annual celebration for which Germany is most famous.

“When in Germany in the fall,” says Bruland, “a side trip to Munich for Oktoberfest is a must.”

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