opti 2015: Getting a Glimpse of the Future

opti15By JoAnne Sommers

As the first optical trade show of the new year, it is fitting that the theme of opti 2015 was “The Future of Vision.” The event, which ran from January 9-11 at the Messe Munich fairground, attracted almost 26,000 visitors with a rich mix of new products, the inaugural “Walk of Frame”, and an exciting preview of the future in the form of presentations on “Smart Glasses” and “Augmented Reality.”

“Smart glasses are an important area in the field of wearable technology,” said Dieter Dohr, chairman of the management board of the GHM Gesellschaft für Handwerksmessen mbH, which organized the show. “We wanted opticians to know about this visual revolution and to see the potential of the technologies and applications of smart glasses at a fairly early stage of their development.”

Exhibitors presented data glasses and 3D software technology that allows customers to try on spectacle frames virtually, while the lectures included one on 3-D printing in optics.

Another intriguing eyewear trend on display was eco-design. An estimated 70 companies worldwide, including some of opti’s exhibitors, now employ eco-design, which involves the use of natural materials, including cork, stone, leather, textiles, bamboo and paper, to create frames. A creative niche of this trend is called upcycling, in which existing products get a second life in the form of eyeglass frames. One company makes glasses from vinyl records and old films, while another uses the decks of discarded skateboards to create wooden glasses.

Quality is the foundation of opti’s success, said Dohr, adding that the Germany optical industry is 100 per cent behind the show. That commitment, added to the show’s timing and an incomparable atmosphere, make opti a can’t-miss event.

“This event accelerates the heartbeat of the industry because all the big names are here, competing for the attention of opticians. Taking part in opti is essential for anyone who has the desire to go on an expedition through the ophthalmic world.”

opti provides its audience with the full range of ophthalmic products, from frames, lenses, contact lenses and low vision to shop fittings and technical equipment. It is also a platform for product premieres from international market leaders and start-ups alike.

Product descriptions can promise a lot but it is far better to hold the actual product in your hands and personally interact with the manufacturer, Dohr said. “The opti is the best platform for this.”

The optical industry knows that the networking and contact opportunities provided by opti are unparalleled, he added. “This is also evidenced by the large number of first-time visitors to the show.”

Among opti’s 525 exhibitors from 36 countries were a number of new designers, including Victoria Beckham, Tom Rebl, RVS Eyewear from Turkey, Italy’s Apro Spectacles and Conservatoire International de Lunettes, iHuman from France and Germany’s Eric Lauer Brillenmanufaktur.

According to an independent survey, visitors placed orders for products worth over € 178 million (more than $250 million Canadian) during the three days of the show.

opti 2016 will be held from January 15-17, 2016 in Munich, Germany. Mark your calendars now for this exciting and innovative show in the heart of beautiful Bavaria.