Ocuco’s Lab Management Software (LMS), has been awarded Best Optical Lab Software for 2021 by HealthCare Insights Magazine, which annually recognizes leading companies in the healthcare sector.
Innovations is Ocuco’s flagship optical lab management software. Ocuco officially entered the LMS segment in 2008 with the acquisition of Innovations. Ocuco’s CEO and founder Leo Mac Canna explains that the Innovations’ acquisition was part of a strategy to expand its footprint in the USA. “Innovations, however, turned out to be much more than a trojan horse: it is a fantastic piece of software. Additionally, the IP and the team behind Innovations have driven huge improvements in our retail offerings while becoming technology leaders in the lab business.”
Created by leading lab professionals about 30 years ago, Innovations offers customization, enables productivity and delivers real-time data analysis for optical labs. According to Ocuco, the software integrates every aspect of lens production into a modular, flexible and comprehensive package to support, streamline and advance businesses. Currently, Innovations is the LMS chosen by 2,700 optical labs around the globe.
The LMS evolves continuously, and it adapts to any lab configuration. Consequently, it can be installed on one PC or multiple workstations. Another feature in the software is the Rules Engine, which enables labs to use data to influence any aspect of production. Additionally, Innovations integrates with all OMA (Optical Manufacturers Association) compatible equipment. It is scalable with no upper limit on production capacity.
Looking to the future, Ocuco believes that cloud-based systems are here to stay. Thus, the company is focusing on leveraging this technology to enhance its products further. Delineating on the company’s long-term goal, Leo adds, “Ocuco indeed will play a significant role in the eyecare industry as a pure technology company. Our long-term plans include consolidating Ocuco globally as a reference in software for the eyecare industry.”
Bettina Reiter, exhibition director of opti. Source: opti
The next opti, the international trade show for optics and design in Europe, will be held from 14th to 16th January 2022. Exhibitors can register for the trade show in Munich right away, doing so entirely free of risk but with the prospect of important and valuable business opportunities.
Bettina Reiter, exhibition director of opti along with Klaus Plaschka, managing director of GHM, in their capacity as organisers, reveal in an interview why in future, trade fairs will be more important than ever, what the industry can expect from opti 2022 and why the venue in Munich will be a business booster. They also talk about the question of whether trade fairs and exhibitions have a future by taking a look at opti 2032.
Mr. Plaschka, you have been working at this craft trade fair organisation (GHM) since 2004, Since 2008 – you are jointly with Mr. Dieter Dohr in the capacity of managing director. Following an internal reorganisation at GHM, since April you have been responsible at a directorial level for the business segment B2B trade fairs, in other words from now on for opti, too. What is your role here and in which areas can the optics industry be pleased about your appointment?
Klaus Plaschka, managing director GHM. Source: opti
Klaus Plaschka: First of all, I am looking forward to taking a more hands-on approach to the organisation of such a great and stylish trade show as opti. This is because if you look at our entire trade fair portfolio, opti is an optical highlight in the truest sense of the word. I can still remember what it was like when we acquired opti in 2008, since which time Dieter Dohr and myself have been jointly developing it from the starting point of our different responsibilities. We will continue to do so of course; it’s just that from now on, I will also be directly responsible for opti.
We utilised the famous year 2020 – which was the first time in its history that opti too had to be cancelled – to make both our organisation and our core competence – the organisation and holding of live events – ‘fit for the future’. As part of this process, my focus was and is on corporate development, which – through collaboration with the trade fair experts – is reflected in our products and a significant contribution to their sustainability. In this regard, each industry has its own needs, with each issue needing to be looked at separately. We carry out individual, customised evaluations of all those aspects of an event whose live counterpart is irreplaceable, as well as of those that can be carried out irrespective of location. The main focus here is on the benefit to the customer, which mustn’t be limited by virtual channels. We have made intensive use of the last few months to organise those processes and areas more efficiently and more simply for the trade show participants, that do not really impact directly on the added value created by a trade fair. For instance, at GHM we have fully digitised the entire area of Customer Services to include in our exhibitor portal: right from registration to the ordering of technical stand equipment and media services, as well as the viewing of admission data and participation invoice data – in future, all this will be available online and grouped together in a single portal. It was a major project that I was responsible for and I am pleased that opti is one of the first trade shows to benefit from all this work.
We are going through turbulent times. Like many other venues, opti’s exhibition halls are standing empty in 2021. No one knows when we will actually get through the coronavirus crisis. Mr. Plaschka, how do you as the managing director of a trade fair organisation deal with this?
Klaus Plaschka: We have certainly been through a turbulent year and we have had to see what a great blow it has been for the trade fair organizers, exhibitors and visitors – as it also was for the entire optics industry – to have all trade fairs cancelled, including opti 2021. Despite this, I am both optimistic and firmly convinced that we can all learn a great deal from coping with this crisis – despite all the hazards and restrictions. In spite of the great and ongoing digital (r)evolution, what we are left with is the longing to go to a café, a concert or a stadium to meet each other in person. In other words, the longing for real people and real experiences is something that cannot be satisfied digitally – this is something else we have seen during the long ‘forgoing’. This is also true for visiting a trade fair, because it is clear that the world of professionals thrives on intensive interaction – as do we as humans – namely from events that stimulate all our senses. It continues to be vitally important that suppliers, providers and users meet in person and that manufacturers, GPs and other practitioners work together to improve their collaboration, to uncover the significant trends and (in particular) to discover what inspires and delights their customers. Handling and testing the products is another significant factor driving the impulse to buy and is something that cannot be permanently presented digitally. All the above is carried out most efficiently at the trade fair, this being another learning experience for us all.
By late summer, Germany too will have probably achieved the necessary vaccination ratio, so that we will then finally be able to get going again. This is the future prospect that feeds my optimism.
What feedback have you received from your discussions with industry players regarding the importance of trade fairs at the current time?
Klaus Plaschka: Without trade fairs or other sales platforms, businesses are missing out on significant and valuable business opportunities, including for making new contacts. For exhibitors, the most important reason for taking part in real-world (as opposed to virtual) trade fairs is the personal interaction and face-to-face contact, followed by the gaining of new customers and the generation of new leads, along with product presentations. You only get a proper overview of the market on a real-world platform that is a live, on-site event. This is why the industry rightly expects so much from a trade fair.
Bettina Reiter: I would like to add opti’s own point of view here, because if there’s one thing I can say from the discussions with exhibitors, it’s that the ‘family’ that is this industry can hardly wait to meet in person again in order to interact face to face and to experience our ‘community’. This is what builds confidence and creates successful businesses. Our greatest motivation in all this is to provide the best possible inspirational framework to bring this about, so this is what we are focussing on.
Mrs. Reiter, does this mean that opti 2022 will be held next year in Munich?
Bettina Reiter: Yes, of course. As sure as the year 2022 comes, opti will be held in January of that year. And this is true in a further sense too: we are planning a live event that will be augmented by digital offerings, both in the run-up to and during and after the trade show that will provide the intensive interaction that the industry urgently needs. In addition, we assure both exhibitors and visitors that opti 2022 will contain many components familiar to them. We are optimally organised for it, as we will take the concepts that were already fully prepared for opti 2021. We will add to them the now-standard measures such as the integration of test results or vaccination certificates and adjusting and implementing these measures in the light of the situation that prevails in January 2022. Should it unexpectedly prove impossible to carry out the trade fair as a live event then we plan to have a different format that we will present to the market in good time.
À propos presentation: What can we expect from opti 2022?
Bettina Reiter: Routine has never been part of the opti experience, which is why opti 2022 will again be different to all its predecessors. This is because the optical industry thrive on new trends and ideas and expect to see innovation. Exhibitors can rest assured that we will again be tailoring the leading themes, concepts and ideas to the industry’s needs. Giving the trade fair a clearly defined and structured design and layout has always proved very beneficial and is a principle that we will adhere to for opti 2022 too. This means that the themes will be clustered and this time will be spread across a total of four exhibition halls.
Does this mean that opti 2022 will be somewhat smaller than in 2019 and 2020?
Bettina Reiter: Yes, that’s correct. Trade fairs reflect the markets they represent, with the pandemic naturally affecting the optics market too and leaving its mark there. This means we would be ignoring reality if we were to base our design and layout for opti 2022 on the figures for the previous two years, when for the first time we occupied six exhibition halls. The quality of and benefit obtained from opti will continue be the main focus. Our primary objective is to finally bring the industry together again on the unique platform that is opti. We will be hosting a trade fair that has a ‘community feeling’ for all participants, where the customary great atmosphere puts a spring in the attendees’ step and generates business opportunities. opti will continue to function as the first business platform for movers and shakers that is a driving force for the new optical business year and that will present all the different themes and fields.
So basically, the familiar, tried-and-tested aspects will remain, but what will be new at opti 2022?
Bettina Reiter: What will be new is that we will deploy far more digital agenda components than before, both before, during and after the trade fair. In addition, our customers can look forward to getting acquainted with our matchmaking tools. A special feature of opti 2022 will be that after a long lean period, we will finally all be able to meet up again. For me personally, this is the biggest highlight, and both my team and I are really looking forward to this.
Mr. Plaschka, we now have an idea of what to expect from the upcoming opti but what do you think opti will look like in 10 years’ time?
Klaus Plaschka: As I have said, our core business is to bring people together and this will continue to be a key focus for our future activities. However, we no longer singularly see ourselves as a provider of stand space that allows exhibitors to put on a presentation but as the conductor of a multifaceted orchestra. This trend was already visible but has now been reinforced by the pandemic. In this way, we as the organiser are facing a change which base is a human need and the basic idea of trade fairs: namely that the trade fair is a platform for communication and interaction. In other words, just as it was 1,000 years ago, in 10 years’ time the main need that people will want a trade fair to satisfy is that of having conversations with each other at the same physical location. However, two aspects will be different to the current situation, namely that both matchmaking and discussion preparation will be made much easier by a whole host of digital tools, with very greatly individualised personal needs being optimally catered for as a result. Discussions themselves will benefit from this too, thanks to people’s desire to come together, to converse and to be surprised at a human, personal level. All of these are basic human needs.
This same trend will also have a knock-on effect on the business, with the boundaries between exhibitors and visitors becoming blurred. Trade fairs could become much more conference-like in nature, in other words that each trade fair participant will be a market partner who wants to become involved and help shape the creative processes and events. There will also be digital tools for this that will facilitate and interconnect these interactions. In other words, at its core the trade fair of the future will continue to be that which has always defined it, namely the campfire that we have all searched for and gathered round since time immemorial and that is now being facilitated by ‘rocket science’.
We are working hard to respond to these major cultural changes and to organise the new trade fair of the future. However, the key objective will always be: to bring people together.
Mrs. Reiter, Mr. Plaschka, many thanks for this interview!
The Vision Council released the 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey Report. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the custom survey The Vision Council fielded to the vision care community in November 2020. The confidential survey, developed in partnership with Nonprofit HR was designed to benchmark the vision care leadership landscape in order to help organizations within the industry identify opportunities they have to promote diversity, cultivate talent and improve their performance.
The survey was open to all members of the vision care products and services industry and was fielded from November 9–24, 2020. The survey received 1,527 usable responses, all U.S.-based. The comprehensive report is available to download here.
“As we look to the future of The Vision Council and our industry, fostering a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community is paramount to our mission of creating more opportunities for community-building and encouraging industry growth,” said Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council. The Vision Council’s main goals in commissioning the survey included: to assess diversity, inclusion, and career perceptions within the optical industry; to understand if certain populations were experiencing the industry differently; and to obtain feedback on how The Vision Council and other network organizations can provide support in this area.
Key Survey Insights
Highlights and key insights from the survey responses across industry segments are included below:
Suppliers and Manufacturers
• Responses from members of the salesforce within the suppliers and manufacturers segment regarding inclusion were higher compared to responses from other parts of the organization within this industry segment. For example, 64 percent of respondents within the suppliers and manufacturers segment who identified as members of the salesforce feel that promotion decisions are fairly and equitably determined compared to 56 percent of all respondents within this segment.
• Senior leaders who responded within the suppliers and manufacturers segment deem helping their organizations to become more diverse and inclusive a high priority. 92 percent deem it their responsibility to help their organization become more diverse, inclusive and equitable.
• Student respondents had one of the highest scores in feeling the need for a focus on DEI across all segments. 89 percent of students responding in the academia segment indicated they believe it is important to focus on improving DEI.
• When asked how they viewed their opportunities for advancements, there were differences in opinions among respondents from different demographic groups within the academia segment. 75 percent of those respondents within the academia segment who identify as white feel they have the ability to advance their career in this industry, compared to 58 percent of those respondents within the academia segment who identify as people of color.
Independent Eyecare and Retail
• There are discrepancies when comparing the responses of owners within the independent eyecare and retail segment to the responses of staff within this segment. Owners seem to perceive they are providing a more inclusive culture than what their staff feels. A need for more open-ended dialogue is apparent in this segment.
• 88 percent of owners feel that their organization’s Board, management team or senior leadership demonstrates commitment to DEI, but less than 75 percent of staff feel that management has this commitment. Of note, among those who identified as having a disability within this industry segment, only 61 percent felt this commitment from their leadership.
Corporate Eyecare and Retail
• A more diverse group of people responded to the survey in the corporate eyecare and retail segment compared to the demographics of the people who responded within the independent eyecare and retail segment.
• However, the corporate eyecare and retail respondents provided some of the lowest scores to key questions regarding equity and inclusion compared to other segments. For example, 46 percent of respondents in this segment feel that their ideas are strongly considered in the decision-making process at their organization compared to 64 percent of all survey respondents who feel their ideas are strongly considered.
Industry Groups (includes buying groups, trade media, non-profit organizations)
• Overall, respondents in the industry groups segment reported a higher feeling of belonging than respondents in other segments. 81 percent of respondents in the industry groups segment said they feel comfortable bringing their authentic ‘whole self’ to their places of work.
• Questions around rewards, recognition, and advancements showed discrepancies among different demographics within the industry groups segment. For example, 73 percent of men in this segment felt that recognition for performance is fairly and equitably distributed among their colleagues, compared to 49 percent of women in this segment.
The Vision Council’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force is using the survey results to prioritize key areas for change; identify potential policy and culture shift; set impact measurements; and identify additional resources for the industry. The Task Force’s next steps and recommendations will be shared in the coming months.
An analysis of the 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion survey was presented by The Vision Council’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force following their review of the survey results at The Vision Council’s 2021 Virtual Executive Summit, which took place virtually January 26–28, 2021. The presentation is available to view through the Executive Summit’s On-Demand platform, available now until April 28, 2021.