The COVID-19 pandemic isn't really too kind on the events industry, certainly not those that can easily pivot to an online-only system and require actual people to turn up en masse. For us at Giz UK that means no MWC, a wildly different San Diego Comic Con, and the promise that IFA 2020 would be something new and different. But it's just been announced that it's still going to be a 'real-life event' in Berlin.
Which is a really stupid idea, even if the press release claims that the 2020 event will be "a special concept that puts health and safety first." Who knows what the state of the pandemic will be at the start of September, but bringing thousands of people from all over the world and stuffing them in a single city is just asking for the disease to start spreading again. It only takes one carrier for that bastard of a virus to then come back to visitors' home countries.
The genius plan, though? Hosting IFA as separate events, and only allowing 1,000 attendees in each event on a given day. It all seems very business focused, which means it's not going to be for the general public. They will probably end up having to settle for the 'Virtual IFA Experience', which is for people who can't get a place or have to deal with travel restrictions.
The whole event could have been something like that, and while I get that businesses find it a lot harder to acquire contacts and meetings when they're not face to face, IFA should have gone for a virtual-only conference until all of this has well and truly died down.
Needless to say there's, no way I'm going this year.