The major tech events affected by the spread of coronavirus

The major tech events affected by the spread of coronavirus

A wrap-up of all the significant events in the channel affected by the coronavirus outbreak

Credit: Photo 171081916 © Dgmate -

COVID-19, otherwise known as novel coronavirus, has affected an increasing number of technology events around the world, causing cancellation, rescheduling and virtualisation. Here’s a list of all the events that have been impacted so far this year.

RSA conference APJ event goes free and virtual

The Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) edition of this year’s RSA cyber security conference will be run in mid-July as a free virtual online event, a move prompted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

This is the eighth year the information security industry conference has been run in the APJ region, with the event now set to run from July 15 to July 17, during Singapore business hours. 

“The health and safety of our attendees is of primary importance, and offering RSA conference 2020 APJ as a virtual learning experience this year was a decision we made to help ensure the cybersecurity community stays connected with access to a platform for continual learning and exchanging of best practices during this time of social distancing,” RSA Conference senior director and general manager Linda Gray said.

It is planned that the new version of the annual event will deliver three full days of free virtual learning experiences with some of the cyber security industry’s leading figures, along with speaker-led sessions and keynotes to interactive, hands-on learning breakouts and networking time with peers and experts.

Coronavirus cancels Computex 2020, Taiwan's PC showcase

While the coronavirus has caused many trade shows to close or go virtual, Computex, Taiwan’s celebration of everything about the PC, had so far remained open—though rescheduled for September. Early Friday, that domino finally fell, too.

TAITRA, the Taiwan organisation overseeing the Computex Taipei show, said Friday that Computex has been rescheduled to June 1-5, 2021. 

TAITRA originally delayed the showcase from its usual June to September, betting the coronavirus would have been managed by then. Taiwan itself acted quickly, implementing quarantine procedures, masking, and contact tracing, and limiting the impact to just 443 confirmed cases.

But the organisation also said that travel restrictions would limit the number of attendees, including international exhibitors, visitors and media, who “may not be able to join the show.”

Google Cloud Next ‘20 stretches out into nine-week digital event series

Google Cloud has confirmed that its Next ‘20 event will kick off on 14 July as a nine-week digital event series that will cover a variety of themes, including infrastructure, security, data analytics and more. 

The digital event series is designed to offer fresh content each week from July until 9 September, with over 200 sessions ranging from keynotes from industry luminaries to advanced learning opportunities with top Google developers. 

“Next OnAir will include interactive developer and learning programs such as Study Jams, Cloud Hero, and free one-month access to our curated learning paths on Qwiklabs and Pluralsight to help you prepare for certification,” Google Cloud chief marketing officer Alison Wagonfeld Wagonfeld said in a blog post.

Attendees who were previously registered for Next ’20 will be automatically registered for Google Cloud Next ’20: OnAir. Otherwise, registrations are open to anyone else who wants to attend the free event.

Microsoft, Apple open virtual dev conferences to all

Microsoft and Apple have both opened their annual developer conferences to all and will not charge admission for the virtual events.

Microsoft will host its Build confab May 19-21 and Apple will start its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 22. Apple did not say how long WWDC will run, but historically the conference has gone from Monday to Friday. June 22 is the second-to-last Monday of the month.

Previously, the companies had announced the cancellations of their usual physical events and replacement by all-digital versions. Both firms cited the ongoing pandemic as the reasons for their moves.

Digital-only Microsoft Inspire now free to attend

Microsoft has waived registration fees for Inspire 2020 as the world’s largest channel conference goes digital-only from July 21-22.

With registration set to open in June, there will now be no cost to attend for partners following cancellation of the in-person event, which was originally scheduled to house 18,000 attendees in Las Vegas. Pre-Covid-19, registration prices started at US$2,295, rising to $2,595 after three weeks of early-bird sign-ups.

According to Gavriella Schuster - corporate vice president of One Commercial Partner at Microsoft - the digital-only conference will be “absolutely free” for partners across the world.

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