Organiser Reed Exhibitions hung on as long as it could (longer than the Tokyo Olympics) hoping for a reprieve, but today it announced the cancellation of Infosecurity Europe — the latest major conference to fall victim to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Infosecurity Europe was scheduled to take place from June 2-4, 2020 in Olympia, London. The cybersecurity calendar staple typically attracts over 19,000 attendees.
With most commercial conferences now wiped from the calendar for the foreseeable future, Wimbledon, Glastonbury, and other annual highlights also cancelled, observers may wonder what took organisers so long.
The decision comes as fellow IT conference organiser O’Reilly said on March 24 that it had made “the very difficult decision to cancel all future O’Reilly in-person conferences and close down this portion of our business”.
Reed Exhibitions meanwhile said it would be looking to reschedule for another date this year and meanwhile would be taking the event online: “We are working closely with our partners and venues to obtain new dates for later in the year and we will announce these new dates on the Infosecurity Europe website as soon as we can.”
The company added: “We will be providing a programme of virtual content on 2-4 June. More information will be available soon.”
Many other event organisers, including Google, have initially proposed pivoting to digital, online-only events after major conferences were cancelled, only to ultimately decide to terminate those plans too.
(Google cited the need to “focus our attention on supporting our customers, partners, and each other. The company added this month “we are fully committed to bringing Google Cloud Next ‘20: Digital Connect to life, but will hold the event when the timing is right.”)
O’Reilly’s position was that “without understanding when this global health emergency may come to an end, we can’t plan for or execute on a business that will be forever changed as a result of this crisis. With large technology vendors moving their events completely on-line, we believe the stage is set for a new normal moving forward when it comes to in-person events.”