Technology is even more necessary since the coronavirus outbreak; millions of people are having to work remotely which is testing our technological infrastructures. At the same time, the virus is causing a great number of tech conferences to be canceled.
Like a small light at the end of the tunnel, some events have been postponed or have been prepared so that they can be held online. But the future is still unsure for many tech conferences.
Apple’s WWDC, Microsoft Build, SXSW, F5 Agility, and Collision in Toronto are just some of the significant cancellations, here are some more:
The First Major Cancellation
When Mobile World Congress, planned for February 12th, was canceled, the shock of the news forced other conferences to do the same. Since then, the tech professionals and enthusiasts have seen frequent announcements of cancellations in March and April, even those that were meant to be held in May and June. Virtual events are a way for events to continue, but it is going to be difficult to see the same popularity. Others remain hopeful that things will have calmed done and the events can be celebrated. But as more and more areas worldwide impose restrictions, this is becoming less likely.
Let’s take a closer look at these tech conference cancellations:
Mobile World Congress
From the 24th to the 27th of February 100,000 visitors were expected to visit Barcelona. MWC is a conference that concentrates on mobile devices but as soon as tech giants like LG, Sony, Ericsson, Amazon, and Intel pulled out, the fate of the conference was sealed.
I/O 2020 and Google News Initiative Summit
Google decided to cancel I/O 2020 after following the advice from the CDC and WHO. The event was set to take place from May 12th to 14th. The company has said that purchased tickets will be fully refunded.
Google News Initiative Summit had been set for the end of April in Sunnyvale, but again, following health recommendations, Google ensured the safety of its guests came first.
As Austin was shut down, organizers had little choice but to cancel SXSW, which was due to take place from March 13th to 22nd. Sadly, this is the first time the event hasn’t taken place in 34 years.
Game Developers Conference (GDC)
San Francisco was preparing to host GDC from March 16th to 20th but similarly to MWC, when big names like Microsoft, Sony, Epic Games, Facebook, and Kojima pulled out, on top of all of the attendees coming from China, the only sensible thing to do was cancel.
F5 Agility 2020 conference
Another organization that felt the need to put its customers, partners and employees first, the coronavirus outbreak posed too many health risks. It was also aware of the travel restrictions that would affect the event. Nevertheless, F5 Agility is working on providing a virtual experience.
Its Global Developers Conference set for May 6th to 8th was canceled in San Jose, neither will the Global Marketing Summit that was supposed to happen in San Francisco from March 9th to 12th. The company announced that the risk to the public was too great but it was intending to hold smaller local events and live stream content. As well as this, Facebook will donate ¢500,000 to the tech industry, with a focus on those organizations that contribute to the San Jose area.
Cisco Live Melbourne
Although Australia still hadn’t experienced the full force of the coronavirus, Cisco Systems decided to cancel the Cisco Live Melbourne conference planned for March 3rd to 6th.
IHS Markit 2020 was expecting around 5,500 attendees in Houston for the CERAWeek event. The event planners were incredibly disappointed that people from 80 countries wouldn’t be able to participate in the 2020 tech conference.
Adapting Tech Conferences to Digital Format
It makes sense that some of the world’s leading tech companies have switched to digital-only events to show just how amazing and efficient technology can be. All of the companies made the difficult choice but stated that health concerns meant digital was the only way to go forward. Here are the top digital events that are still planned to be held:
- Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, WWDC 2020
- Microsoft Build and Most Valuable Professional Summit
- Google Cloud Next
- Okta’s Oktane
- ISM’s Think
- Adobe Summit
- 2020 Global Health Conference & Exhibition
- Salesforce World Tour Sydney
- SAP Ariba Live
- Nvidia GPU Technology Conference
It’s great how these companies are preparing for digital conferences on a scale that has not been seen before, keynote speakers, networking, and coding together will all still be able to go ahead.
Postponed Tech Conferences
The biggest risk a tech company could make, yet also the most optimistic, is to postpone an event. The main reason for this is that we are still unsure of when coronavirus will come to an end. Still, EmTech Asia will go ahead in Singapore on August the 4th and 5th instead of March 24th to 26th. Black Hat Asia was due to take place from March 31st to April 3rd but is now scheduled for September 29th to October 2nd.