The World Health Organization (WHO) has yet to declare the current coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. But as the infectious disease continues to spread and public health concerns rise, the WHO categorizes the risk from the virus as “very high”. As of Tuesday, health officials reported more than 90,000 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease and over 3,100 deaths, including 172 outside of mainland China (the epicenter of the outbreak) and 6 in Washington state. The virus has been detected in more than 73 countries and territories and the overall effect on global health is till unknown.
In last week’s Monday Morning Opener, Larry Dignan examined how the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is affecting global supply chains and consumer demand. On Friday he looked at how the disease may accelerate the future of work, including an increase in telecommuting, greater importance on video conferencing and digital collaboration technology, and less travel. As Larry wrote, “One thing is certain: The coronavirus is likely to mean the definition of business, as usual, will change.”
While we won’t know the coronavirus’ effects on the overall nature of work for some time, one sector of the tech economy that’s already feeling an immediate impact is industry events. Whether as a result of travel bans, laws banning large gatherings, or an abundance of caution, officials are being canceling, postponing, or converting tech events to virtual conferences…leaving show organizers, attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors scrambling to make alternative plans. Companies are also instituting travel restrictions for employees. So, I decided to use this Monday Morning Opener to compile a list of the events that have been called off, pushed back, changed format, or are being held as scheduled.
Note: The coronavirus’ effect on the tech industry is a rapidly-changing story. We will do our best to update this list as news of conference cancellations and travel restrictions breaks.
Tech conferences canceled, postponed, or going virtual
- Adobe Summit (Mar. 29-Apr. 2 in Las Vegas) – In-person canceled; online-only event
- Apple WWDC (June) – TBD no announcement as yet
- Atlassian Summit 2020 (Mar. 31-Apr. 2 in Las Vegas) – Being held as scheduled
- Black Hat Asia 2020 (Mar. 31-Apr. 3 in Singapore) – Postponed until Sep. 29-Oct. 2
- Cisco Live (May 31- Jun. 4 in Las Vegas) – Being held as scheduled
- Cisco Live Melbourne (Mar. 3-6 in Melbourne) – Canceled
- Dell World (May 4-7 in Las Vegas) – Being held as scheduled
- Domopalooza (Mar. 18-19 in Salt Lake City, Utah) – In-person canceled; online-only event
- EmTech Asia (Mar. 24-36 in Singapore) – Postponed to Aug. 4-5
- F5 Agility 2020 (Mar. 16-19 in Orlando, Florida) – In-person canceled; online-only event
- Facebook F8 (May 6-8 in San Jose, Calif.) – Canceled
- Facebook Global Marketing Summit (Mar. 9-12 in San Francisco) – Canceled
- Game Developers Conference (GDC) (Mar. 16-20 in San Francisco) – Postponed to Summer 2020
- Gartner CIO Symposium/ITxPo (Oct. 18-22 in Orlando) – Being held as scheduled
- Gartner Data and Analytics Summit (Mar. 23-26 in Grapevine, TX) – Being held as scheduled
- Google Cloud Next (Apr. 6-8 in San Francisco) – In-person canceled; online-only event
- Google I/O (May 12-14 in Mountain View, Calif.) – Being held as scheduled
- Google News Initiative Summit (Late Apr. in Sunnyvale, Calif.) – Canceled
- HPE Discover (Jun. 23-25 in Las Vegas) – Being held as scheduled
- IoT World Developer Conference (Apr. 6-9, 2020 in San Jose, Calif.) – Being held as scheduled
- Microsoft Ignite (Sep. 21-25 in New Orleans) – Being held as scheduled
- Microsoft MVP Global Summit (Mar. 15-20 in Bellevue & Redmond, Wash.) – In-person canceled; online-only event
- Mobile World Congress MWC Barcelona (Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona) – Canceled
- MWC Americas (Oct. 28-30 in Los Angeles) – Being held as scheduled
- Nvidia GTC – GPU Technology Conference (Mar. 22-26 in San Jose) – In-person canceled; online-only event
- O’Reilly Strata Data & AI Conference (Mar. 15-18, San Jose, Calif.) – Being held as scheduled
- OFC 2020 (Mar. 8-12 in San Diego, Calif.) – Being held as scheduled
- Oracle Code One (Sep. 21-24 in Las Vegas) – Being held as scheduled
- Paris Blockchain Week Summit (Mar. 31-Apr. 1 in Paris) – Postponed until Dec. 9-10
- Percona Live Open Source Database Conference (May 18-20 in Austin, TX) – Being held as scheduled
- Recode Code Conference 2020 (May 26-28 in Beverly Hills, Calif.) – Being held as scheduled
- RSA Conference (Feb. 24-28 in San Francisco) – Held as planned (IBM, AT&T, Verizon, and other vendors withdrew)
- Salesforce World Tour Sydney (Mar. 4 in Sydney) – In-person canceled; online-only event
- SAP SAPPHIRE NOW (May 12-14 in Orlando) – Being held as scheduled
- SAS Global Forum (Mar. 29-Apr. 1 in Washington, DC) – Being held as scheduled
- Shopify Unite 2020 developers conference (May 6-8 in Toronto) – In-person canceled; online-only event
- SXSW (Mar. 12-22 in Austin, Texas) – Being held as scheduled (Twitter has withdrawn from SXSW)
- VMworld (Aug. 31-Sep. 3 in San Francisco) – Being held as scheduled
Major tech companies institute travel restrictions and work-from-home policies due to coronavirus
As of February 29, 2020, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued multiple travel warnings due to the coronavirus disease. The CDC recommends travelers avoid nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy.
Amazon has asked all of its 798,000 employees to stop all nonessential travel, both domestic and internationally, immediately, according to an Amazon spokesperson. After a Google employee in Switzerland tested positive for coronavirus, the company expanded employee travel restrictions. Twitter has canceled all non-essential employee travel until further notice, including CEO Jack Dorsey’s appearance at SXSW. On Monday, Twitter also asked employees, which the company refers to as Tweeps, to work from home if possible. “We are operating out of an abundance of caution and the utmost dedication to keeping our Tweeps healthy,” the company said in a blog post.
On Monday, Salesforce announced a series of employee health and safety measures for the month of March, “including prohibiting cross border travel, restricting all but the most critical domestic travel, replacing our in-person customer events with digital experiences, and enhancing our office protocols to ensure we provide the healthiest work environment possible.”
Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and others have also implemented employee travel restrictions.
ZDNET’S MONDAY MORNING OPENER:
The Monday Morning Opener is our opening salvo for the week in tech. Since we run a global site, this editorial publishes on Monday at 8am AEST in Sydney, Australia, which is 6pm Eastern Time on Sunday in the US. It is written by a member of ZDNet’s global editorial board, which is comprised of our lead editors across Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America.
Updated March 2, 2020: Updated coronavirus statistics, added information about Salesforce, added information about Twitter’s employee travel restrictions and updated list of conference cancellations.
Updated March 3, 2020 9:44am EST: Added information about Twitter’s work from home announcement and updated the list of conference cancellations and reordered alphabetically by conference name.
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