The 2020 Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin, better known as IFA Berlin has, despite what the organisers say, effectively been cancelled or at the very least, what has been put in its place is nothing like the original.
Last year IFA Berlin spanned a week at Messe Berlin, and attracted more than 1800 exhibitors and 250,000 visitors making it undoubtedly “the largest consumer electronics trade fair in the world”. In its place this year, is an event that will take place over three days, September 3-5, 2020 and allow a maximum of just 1,000 attendees to each section of the event per day. In addition, #IFA20 will not be open to the public. All of this follows a decision made by the Berlin government several months ago, to ban any event with more than 5,000 participants until at least October 24, 2020.
No wonder then that South Korean newspapers (also picked up here by Invidis. see ‘LG und Samsung überdenken IFA-Teilnahme ‘) are reporting that both LG and Samsung are re-considering taking part.
During a recent livestream, IFA Executive Director Jens Heithecker “Our industry – like the rest of the world – now has to plan and prepare for how we can recover and rebound. For 2020 we are planning to go ahead based on a reworked concept that highlights IFA’s core functions: supporting brands and manufacturers, retailers, innovators and the media. Based on the current safety regulations we are planning to organise four physical Live-Events, alongside a virtual extension”.
Jens Heithecker said “We have only one priority — health and safety must come first. Brands and manufacturers need a global stage to launch new products ahead of Black Friday and the holiday season for the good of the global economy”.
Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon was announced as the first of this year’s keynote speakers. Press conferences will be held at a central location rather than spread around different company booths, and only 800 journalists will be allowed to attend. In addition to the press conferences, three parallel events will allow the trade show to go ahead. There will be virtual opportunities to take part in the event for those not able to attend.
If this is the ‘new normal’ for large trade shows then I think that exhibitors will continue to stay away.