Update 1: February 12, 2020
GSMA, the organisation that operates Mobile World Congress, aka MWC, has decided to call off MWC2020 amid the fear of Coronavirus. The event was already facing challenges since the outbreak of Coronavirus in the mid of Jan 2020, which resulted in many tech giants backing off from the event.
“The global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances make it impossible,” said GSMA CEO John Hoffman in a statement to Bloomberg.
Just two days before we wrote about how tech giants, including Amazon, Nvidia, LG, Ericsson, have turned their back to MWC 2020 one after another. You can read more about this below.
January 10, 2020:
Mobile World Congress 2020, aka MWC 2020, one of the world’s largest conference, has started losing its shine much before its kicks off.
Novel Coronavirus, the deadly virus that killed 811 people immediately after following an outbreak in the central city of China, Wuhan has turned out to be a major medical concern since the beginning of this new year. The death toll and the number of infected cases have been seemingly popping up at a rapid pace since its inception. Now, the outbreak has also become the central issue of distress in the global business community.
Mobile World Congress or MWC as it is referred to, is one of the most important corporate networking opportunities between executives belonging from the mobile industry and various government officials. This year, the MWC 2020 is scheduled to be held in Barcelona starting from 24th February but with the growing concern over the Coronavirus outbreak, major companies in the mobile industry have started to withdraw themselves one after another from participating in the exhibition event.
As of now, Amazon, L.G., NVIDIA and Ericsson are few of the major companies who have abandoned or withdrawn from the event. But that’s not the only damages that have put MWC 2020 in a tough spot. Many other companies, including Samsung, have reduced the number of executives, as compared to the previous years, that would be participating in the conference. In fact, rumours are also making rounds that executives of many companies participating in the MWC 2020 are also not very comfortable in attending the event due to the fear of Coronavirus.
An email statement from an Amazon spokesperson received by a major tech news outlet stated that it was because of their concerns over the coronavirus and its quarantine efforts that they had to back out from the event at such short notice. Other major companies such as Microsoft has reportedly said that their plans to attend the event remains unchanged as of now but they might just cut back on the number of executives that they plan on sending to attend MCW.
This fatal blow seems to have left the MCW event organizers of 2020 on uneven grounds and has, therefore, led them to take some serious measures by implementing stringent safeguarding policies around the event.
As per GSMA Chief Executive Officer John Hoffman, everyone from the Hubei province of China are banned from attending the event whilst all travellers who have been in China will need to provide tangible proof showing they have been outside of China 14 days prior to the event. The attendants also need to self-certify that they haven’t been in contact with anyone that they think have contracted the virus.
The show organisers said they also plan to clean and disinfect commonly used items such as speakers while making sure the same piece of equipment isn’t used by multiple people. They have also issued a request to refrain from shaking hands at the meet and greet to further eliminate any probability if there remains any to contain the spreading of the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared novel coronavirus to be a global health emergency but has also remarked that there is no evidence at present to suggest that there is a community spread in Europe, so WHO/Europe won’t currently be requesting that large gatherings such as that of MWC 2020 be cancelled.
What will the future of global business communities hold amid the outbreak?
The novel coronavirus is a deadly outbreak with huge outspread potential and therefore it would definitely be a wise call to refrain from any global community meet and greets as of right now as it will assist and ensure the speedy quarantine and elimination of the virus.
As of today, the death toll has risen to 908 with over 40,171 infected cases as reported by major news outlets. W.H.O has declared they will seemingly accelerate their pace of research and innovation to battle the virus and finally defeat it before it is able to infect and kill any more of the population. Let us know what are your thoughts regarding such a massive outbreak and it’s consequences in the comments below.
All such development has jeopardised the plans of MWC 2020 organisers this year. Not only the security measures have become a serious concern, but the drastic fall in the expected number of attendees is also another challenge to tackle. This will also make companies refraining and showcasing their major innovations and announcements that take place every year. Amid all the fear related to the contagious Coronavirus, MWC 2020 is definitely not going to be a head-turner as it used to be every year.