With the continued spread of the coronavirus more and more large event conferences are being canceled. Facebook has already canceled their F8 conference in May which was going to be held in San Francisco and attracts around 5,000 attendees. Mobile World Congress a large telecom event which was being held in Barcelona was also recently canceled. Other conferences like the Game Developers Conference (GDC) which attracts over 28,000 attendees and is scheduled to be held in March in San Francisco is still on for the moment but key vendors have already pulled out and they are closely watching for new developments that may cause them to cancel the event.
The situation with coronavirus is expected to get worse before it gets better and the CDC warns that it’s not a matter of if the coronavirus will spread in the US but more a question of when it will happen. In addition San Francisco has recently declared a state of emergency to help prepare for the spread of the virus within the community. With that in mind I expect we will see more and more tech conferences get cancelled this year. VMworld is still 6 months out and it might be too early to tell what the situation will be like then but if I had to speculate I’m betting there is a good chance that there won’t be a VMworld this year.
If the conference does get canceled I expect the event will go on instead as a virtual event instead of a physical in-person event which is what Facebook is doing with their F8 conference. There is already a framework in place to do this with the virtual VMUG events that are held periodically throughout the year. Virtual VMUGs do have keynotes, breakout sessions, vendor booths, chat and more but it definitely won’t be the same as an in-person event as you just can’t have the same quality of interaction with others that you get at a physical event.
I’m sure VMware is monitoring the situation closely and will plan accordingly based on how events unfold in the US. VMware’s big announcement for this year will occur next month at an online event but I’m sure they are excited to be able to use VMworld to show off everything they have announced. Other big tech conferences such as Dell World is coming up in May and HPE Discover in June and it will be interesting to see what happens with those events.
Until then we’ll have to wait and see, I’m still planning to attend, this will be my 13th time attending VMworld and I’ll be dis-appointed if the event does not happen this year. I’m hopeful that the emergency response within the US stops coronavirus from spreading through mass population centers but nothing is more important then your health and if the event cannot go on I’ll more than understand.