Other vendors like Dell, Google Cloud, Cisco moving ahead with shows but admit situation is fluid
Worries about the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus continue to convince some tech companies to cancel or postpone conferences, with Facebook, the Open Compute Project (OCP), and Cisco among the latest organizations to pull the plug on events.
The Lowdown: Other vendors, including Dell Technologies, Google Cloud, Cisco, and VMware are still moving ahead with their shows, though they note that the global picture of the COVID-19 outbreak is still evolving.
Nvidia Monday afternoon announced that its GTC 2020 event scheduled to start March 23 in San Jose will now be a digital event online rather than a live show.
Decisions are being made as the World Health Organization (WHO) has pushed the global risk from the outbreak to “very high.”
The Details: Tech vendors canceling their events noted the need to protect the health of their employees and attendees and their hesitation about moving forward with major events that some people from around the world would be unable to attend. In addition, some events like the Mobile World Congress 2020 show last month were partially undone by major exhibitors like IBM and Verizon canceling their attendance.
The latest cancellations include:
> Facebook F8: Planned for May 6-8 in San Jose, California. (This follows Facebook’s decision to shut down its Global Marketing Summit planned for this month in San Francisco.)
> OCP Global Summit: Planned for this week in San Jose.
> Cisco Live Melbourne: Scheduled for this week in Australia.
> IDC Santa Clara Directions: Planned for Wednesday. The market research firm still plans to go ahead with its Boston Directions event March 10.
> Google News Initiative Summit: Scheduled for late April in Sunnyvale, California.
Other events have been postponed until later in the year, including HP’s Reinvent channel conference (until the fall), Black Hat Asia (until late September), and EmTech Asia (until early August).
Among the top events still going ahead as scheduled are Google Cloud Next (April 6 in San Francisco), Dell World (May 4 in Las Vegas), Cisco Live (May 31 in Las Vegas), HPE Discover (June 23 in Las Vegas), and VMworld (Aug. 31 in San Francisco).
The Impact: The outbreak will have a rippling impact throughout the tech world, with money lost by vendors that have canceled events and by the cities that were scheduled to host the conferences. In addition, vendors that sell videoconferencing and other remote working tools could see a boost in their fortunes as companies restrict travel and look for new ways for employees to collaborate.
In addition, a growing number of vendors, such as Apple and HP, have noted that the outbreak in China has hurt their financial numbers and IDC analysts said the global markets for such products as smartphones and other personal computing devices will be impacted.
Background: According to WHO, there have been almost 89,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, resulting in 3,043 deaths. While most of the impact has been felt in China, where the coronavirus first appeared, new cases are growing at a fast clip outside of the country. Among the hardest hit are South Korea and Italy, though cases have been confirmed on almost every continent. The United States officially has 62 confirmed cases and had its second death resulting from the virus over the weekend.
The Buzz: “This was a tough call to make – F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world – but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees, and everyone who helps put F8 on,” Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, director of platform partnerships at Facebook App, wrote in a statement. “We explored other ways to keep the in-person part of F8, but it’s important to us to host an inclusive event, and it didn’t feel right to have F8 without our international developers in attendance.”
“A lot of work has been done in preparation for this event, including important product rollouts, company announcements, and innovations from our member companies,” OCP officials wrote in a statement. “We would like to work with you on following through with those announcements to the Community, and the industry at large, over the next week. We will also be creating a plan to convert all the amazing content whereby our sponsors and exhibitors can still share their capabilities and innovations with key constituencies in order to further the innovations among our community.”