Digi-Key Electronics held its virtual keynote event for EMEA customers and suppliers, entitled “Enabling the World’s Ideas,” focused on innovation in EMEA beyond the pandemic on Thursday, November 19. 

The virtual keynote event featured updates from president Dave Doherty as he did a walkthrough of the newly expanded product distribution center expansion (PDCe); a market business development update from Ian Wallace, director of EMEA business development; and a roundtable discussion with Hermann Reiter, senior director of global strategic program development and EMEA supplier development and Stephane Ratelet, international API champion at Digi-Key, which was moderated by Johann Wiesböck, editor-in-chief for ELEKTRONIKPRAXIS

“With the pandemic creating a significant gap in the annual industry events we all look forward to, the Virtual Keynote Event was designed to bring together the customers and suppliers we’ve been missing,” said Doherty. “Though it was virtual, we were still able to engage in important industry discussions, like how to drive innovation in a post-pandemic world.” 

The virtual keynote event was the first-of-its-kind in Europe for Digi-Key and was attended by customers and suppliers from across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

During the EMEA business update portion of the keynote, Ian Wallace shared that while the market is 8 percent down in 2020 through Q3, Digi-Key is actually up 16 percent, a difference of 24 percent better than the market. “More recently there have been some more positive signs in markets such as IoT, 5G, IT infrastructure, communications, robotics, AI, factory and home automation and transportation,” said Ian Wallace, director of EMEA business development for Digi-Key. “Digi-Key is aggressively ordering ahead, increasing our inventory breadth, and depth to support our customers as we face additional waves and longer lead times.”

The roundtable portion of the keynote touched on topics from the outlook for 2021 to business model shifts due to COVID-19, Brexit, digitalization, and much more. “Customers want to be more and more connected to our offerings, and they want to get accurate and up-to-date data, and in real-time,” says Stephane Ratelet, international API champion at Digi-Key. “API is really the game-changer in this context from our point of view, that’s really the future of the market from a digital point of view.” 

During the panel it was also noted that Digi-Key has more than 1,000 suppliers across all electronic component technology areas. “Our core business is to be recognized by the engineering community as having the newest and latest technology and stocking the widest breadth of product and technologies available,” said Hermann Reiter, senior director of global strategic program development and EMEA supplier development. “We’ll continue to add both to our supplier base as well as our inventory in order to create a healthy foundation to support the engineering community forward in 2021.”