I registered for a press event last week that had something to do with IFA 2020. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was getting into, but as I stumbled to my desk this morning and flicked on my computer, I fired up the live stream and was met by some shocking news: IFA 2020 will go on as an in-person event.
This is huge. Almost every major and minor tech event has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, with many companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, OnePlus, and LG canning the in-person portions of their events in favors of gussied-up livestreams. But IFA won’t be taking the same route, and with coronavirus cases and death counts beginning to drop, the organization sees this as an opportunity for brands to “recover and rebound.”
“After all the event cancellations during the past months, our industry urgently needs a platform where it can showcase its innovation, so that it can recover and rebound,” said Jens Heithecker, executive director of IFA Berlin. “The recovery of our industry starts here at IFA Berlin.”
Four events, one IFA
IFA 2020 will be structured in a much different way than it ever has before. Instead of opening the show floor all at once, the show will be broken down into four different events. Those events include the IFA Global Press Conference; IFA Next meets IFA SHIFT Mobility (a combination of IFA Next and SHIFT Mobility); IFA Global Markets; and IFA Business, Retail & Meeting Lounges. Per event, IFA will only allow up to 1,000 guests, including members of the media.
Registration for the event will also be a bit different, with first-dibs being given to select media partners. There will also be opportunities for members of the media to have briefings in private booths, while the public will get to see only a few exhibits throughout the show. IFA 2020 will really stand as a global platform for brands to deliver their message to the media rather turn it into an amusement park of technology for the general public.
Things could go sideways
Organizers said during the press conference if the situation surrounding the coronavirus worsens, they’ll simply host IFA 2020 as an online-only event. A vast majority of announcements and keynotes will be live streamed, so it wouldn’t be hard to pivot strictly to the web. Still, this is something they definitely don’t want to have to do, so here’s to hoping things remain calm going into September.
When will IFA 2020 happen?
Oh yeah, the dates.
IFA 2020 will take place from September 3rd to September 5th. I assume the keynote will happen on September 2nd or something to kick things off. I’m personally not going (and you probably shouldn’t either) but I will be watching online.
Could events start making a comeback?
I really hope so. If IFA feels confident enough in hosting an in-person event as early as in September, I think there’s a real chance we’ll start seeing more press events and in-person keynotes more frequently. This assumes there isn’t a major second wave of coronavirus cases, however. If the numbers start spiking in October or November, I’m sure everything will get canceled all over again. CES 2021 is one event I’m keeping a close eye on for this reason.
In the end, it’s tough to say whether IFA is making the right choice. There’s still time for them to sort out all the details and understand where the world stands in terms of infection rates. If things look good, they’ll move forward. Otherwise, the media (including myself) will be spending a lot more time on Zoom.
Let me know your thoughts on IFA’s announcement in the comments.