As the world carefully avoids the spread of the coronavirus, we have already started to see the impact on the IT industry – closure of factories in China and South Korea leading to component shortages, panic-buying, revised forecasts for the year, warnings by the big tech companies.
International conferences, an integral part of how the tech industry does business, have also been hit with the cancellation of Mobile World Congress, IT Partners in France, and other distributor and vendor events.
So, is this an inflection point, a time for the industry to question? Do we need to travel so much? Are there ways of meeting people, seeing new technology and hearing keynote speeches from your own work environment? According to a number of articles, product launches Sony had planned for MWC were changed to online events.
In our recently launched corporate social responsibility initiative we have three main aims: to do whatever we can to protect the environment, to engage in social outreach, and to contribute to charities.
Under the banner of the environment, we want to achieve carbon neutrality. One of the major contributions to our carbon footprint comes from extensive travelling across the world. So, is this the time to rethink how much we travel and to look for creative alternatives?
As a result of the coronavirus, we were not physically present at a recent channel conference. Instead, the organisers agreed to pre-record our keynote and play it in the auditorium. It appears to have gone well: we received requests for copies of the slides, and we received compliments. It’s not as good as being there in person, but better than having no presence.
You can have very effective meetings using, for example, Zoom, Google Hangouts or Skype – the once expensive domain of videoconferencing is now free. The stock market valuation of Zoom is up 70% and many free offers are being made by Google and Skype. Surely, we can make better use of this technology?
As for networking – another major reason for attending conferences – there are a growing number of hubs which can help you to meet people. Look at ChannelHub set up by Farouk Hemraj who, having founded DISTREE, is a well-known figure in the IT world. If he can bring his networking magic to this platform then it is game, set and match for conferences!
© CONTEXT 2020