A look at the effect that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on tech events and conferences around the world
Updated as of 2nd April (added DrupalCon OSCON updated Cisco Live & SAP Sapphire). Due to the large number of events currently being cancelled or postponed we will update as often as possible with technology events and conferences only.
As the world continues to battle the spread of COVID-19 more commonly known as the Coronavirus both the human and economic costs are being felt. According to the World Health Organization the outbreak has "pandemic potential " and as of March 6th nearly 100 000 people have been infected with cases in more than 80 countries and over 3 300 deaths. Last month we published a post visualizing disease data and infection spread.
To help countries fight the disease and ease the economic burden the International Monetary Fund has announced $50bn in funding for countries affected. Global supply chains and consumer demand are also being adversely affected and within our own industry events and conferences are being impacted due to travel bans advice from health bodies and companies concerned about employee safety.
Visualizing Event & Conference Cancellations
The true cost of Coronavirus on the conference and event industry won't be fully known for some time but it is already significant. Vox has estimated the cost to be somewhere in the area of $666 Million and rising. We can expect that cancellations will continue as the virus continues to spread.
The first big event cancellation within the tech industry was Mobile World Congress at the beginning of February and since then events such as Google I/O Facebook F8 and others have either been cancelled postponed or moved to online only conferences. Those that have decided to go ahead as scheduled have advised registrants with any symptoms not to attend have banned the shaking of hands and are installing thermal scanners.
The below map highlights events and conferences that fall into one of these four categories and shows how companies and event organizers are responding to the challenges faced by the outbreak.
Using expected numbers of attendees for the cancelled events we can also visualize which areas are likely to see the biggest impact in terms of loss not only from the event but to local tourism and services.
How Can This Help?
Events and conferences being postponed and cancelled can help to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 but there will clearly be an economic impact. Being able to measure this impact by visualizing data such as this can help to determine the level of preparation required. It can also help with determining where to focus efforts in reducing the downturn that will undoubtedly be felt in the coming weeks and months.