Technology conference organizers are choosing public safety over profits as more and more of the largest industry conferences are postponed or canceled due to concerns over the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.
According to Re/Code, the industry has collectively lost USD $666 million with the cancelation of the eight major technology events alone, including Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) and Facebook’s F8 developer conference.
On top of that, organizers must deal with backlash from host cities who also feel the economic pinch from the cancelation of thousands of tourist visits.
Speaking to Bloomberg about cancellation negotiations with Spanish officials, Mats Granryd, the director general of GSMA which runs MWC said, “I think we have salvaged the relationship with them … but it is of course a huge financial downturn for them.”
Tech conferences will be on the right side of history
According to the latest statistics from Johns Hopkins, the novel coronavirus has taken the lives of 3,460 people around the globe, and infected over 100,000. With most cases appearing in China and other parts of Asia, Europeans too are becoming alarmed as the death toll rises in Italy and France.
Across the world, nations and private corporations are taking extra precautions to help slow the spread of the virus. Switzerland for example has banned all events over 1,000 people, and Twitter has sent a message out to all employees “strongly encouraging” them to remain at home for the time being.
These actions should be commended. Technology companies and event organizers are exhibiting restraint and compassion at a time when the entire world needs to make some sacrifices in order to help safeguard the health and well-being of its citizens.
Company leaders from across the globe took to social media and other communication platforms this week to notify their attendees and exhibitors about just how much consideration and compassion went into making the difficult decision of canceling events.
“Each year, we look forward to hosting our customers, partners and employees from around the world at Adobe Summit to talk about the future of customer experience management, unveil the latest product and platform innovations, and get inspired together as a community,” wrote Adobe Vice President Brett Halloran on LinkedIn this week.
He went on to mention that the company has been watching closely as the situation develops and that they had made the “difficult but important” decision to cancel Adobe Summit 2020 in Las Vegas.
In a press communique, Adam Christensen, head of Cloud Global Marketing and Communications at Ingram Micro wrote of the cancellation of their flagship Cloud Summit conference:
“We want to thank our speakers, partners, sponsors and the City of Miami Beach for their support in making this difficult—but correct—decision.”
The company said that out of an “abundance of caution,” it had decided to cancel one of the cloud industry’s largest gatherings in Miami Beach this May 12-14.
As the outbreak continues, we will surely see more tech conferences make the decision of putting public health over profit.
For more information about technology conferences that have been canceled, we suggest this post by ZDNet.