COVID-19 is still a significant concern in 2021 and will likely remain so for the next couple of years at least. When the pandemic first hit last year, many large-scale technology events opted to cancel in a bid to limit the spread of the virus. One such event was IFA in Berlin, but for IFA 2021 happening in early September this year, organisers are planning to host an in-person event and run the risk.
This as organisers confirmed that they are planning a “full-scale” return for the Berlin-based event come September.
“Last year saw a deliberately small-scale ‘special edition’ of IFA Berlin, extending the invitation-only real-life presentations and meetings with a virtual exhibition and event space. With the world on course to emerge from the pandemic, the organisers are now seeing huge interest from brands, manufacturers and retailers across all industry sectors, who want to come to Berlin and see products and innovation in action once again,” explained organisers in a press statement.
IFA 2021 is not alone in its desire to get things back to normal as far as in-person attendance goes. Mobile World Congress for example has moved its event in Barcelona to later in the year in a bid to get more people attending than joining online.
“IFA Berlin is the world’s most inspiring tech event, and completely unique in its depth and breadth of showcasing the global technology industry – from start-ups to the biggest consumer electronics brands in the world,” noted Martin Ecknig, CEO of Messe Berlin.
“The message we hear from our industry is loud and clear: ‘Tech is Back in Berlin’ and ready to meet with retailers, media and consumers – safely, but in real life,” he adds.
While the move to in-person events as the pandemic is still being grappled with by many countries can be interpreted as foolhardy, the revenue that events like this mean for Berlin and Barcelona cannot be overstated.
What it does mean, is for those outside of the EU, or in countries still stricken by COVID-19 or struggling to get the population vaccinated as is the case in South Africa, the prospect of attending IFA 2021 is slim to none.
As such, it feels like the technology world is leaving those without access to the necessary medical resources behind as they push forward with their own agendas.
As we have seen with MWC already this year, whether exhibitors are keen on attending IFA 2021, still remains to be seen.