Digitising is the theme of recent, and likely the coming, years. It keeps people busy and for two reasons: what will happen to the auction, and will I not be left between a rock and a hard place? People general reason as such: on the one hand the auction has been a functional and reliable instrument since the beginning when it comes to selling flowers. If 'we' just cast it aside, despite all the fantastic opportunities that come with digitising, are 'we' not making a big mistake? And in line with this: if it's going in that direction, will I get my flowers onto the virtual media?
Gerard van der Bijl
To set the minds of growers at ease and to guide them, Gerard van der Bijl has joined Royal FloraHolland as chief of digitising. Floriday.io, says Van der Bijl, should be seen as a 'digital ecosystem'. Floriday.io is to be a plug, one that can be plugged into the garden itself. It should be dead simple to plug in all products in the garden with the ease with which we use popular apps on our phones. Floriday.io wants to be the 'orchestrator' of the global flower and plant trade, in which all other imaginable platforms, webshops or other trade channels can be linked. And FloraHolland will have to do it, according to Van der Bijl. "We want to take the lead, as we are the only ones that can organise digitising sector wide."
Two other speakers on the night: Lodewijk Hoekstra, who spoke of his vision of sustainability; and Toon van Kessel of Florius (and the FPC cutting, berry and forced shrubs), who spoke about how his company has been working on digitising from the start.
Interesting developments and certainly not the last ones, but this isn't why they met. The flowers took the leading role once again and the annual, almost unending awarding of prizes followed. Continued by dignitaries such as Sjaak van der Tak (mayor of Westland), Arnold Hordijk (NZBT president) and Matthijs Masken (VGB director), prizes were awarded for the best stems in many product categories, followed by the VGB Award, the Master Grower Award and the My Florist Award. Then the company moved to the Oude Kerk to continue with drinks.
The NZBT has 'Heritage' as its theme this year, and a themed flower: gladiol. The exhibition is in its 32nd edition this year, and can still be visited until Sunday. More information can be found here.