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The Canalys Channel Forum has become the latest high-profile event to switch from a virtual to digital footing.
The channel analyst holds a series of Forums annually in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Latin America (LatAm), during the autumn, with UK partners often packing their bags to head to Barcelona in October. With the switch to digital, there could be a chance for some of those in the channel that have never attended to log on.
Canalys has a policy of capping the event at 1,000 attendees to ensure that it continues to keep the focus and networking qualities that have become synonymous with the forum, but this year there is going to be an opportunity for a wider audience to take part.
“The benefit of being virtual is that we can open up the attendance to a broader reach in terms of numbers as well as geographic spread. We will be working with our distributor partners to keep the calibre of attendees high, but also allowing for new partners to attend and experience our Canalys Forums,” said Gemma Edwards, senior director of events at Canalys.
Some of the other vendors that have held events have seen significantly higher registrations and attendances online because the barriers of physical distance and time away from the desk have been removed and reduced.
Speaking ahead of its recent Discover event Antonio Neri, CEO of HPE, revealed that it had seen 100,000 registrations and the experience was the same for Cisco with its Live event in June.
Canalys had been weighing up holding a physical event until last week, when the decision was made to go virtual, with it kicking off the EMEA Forum the week of 5 October.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is easing in both Asia and Europe and some borders are reopening. It is likely that attendees will be excited to travel to our events by October and November. But a conference doesn’t just need attendees to make it happen,” said Edwards.
“It needs binding contracts to be agreed with hotels and other suppliers, and it needs sponsors to commit their time and money. This requires a level of confidence that will take months to return, especially with the possibility of a second wave.
“The pandemic may have caused us to reinvent the Canalys Forums this year, but we believe these new digital event experiences will offer you an exceptional opportunity to learn and connect with the channels community,” she added.
Although the lockdown continues to ease and there are signs that the government is encouraging more events to take place in venues such as theatres, social distancing requirements and a fear of a second wave continue to cause concerns.
Canalys Channel Forum registration
Canalys is promising to deliver chances for the channel to “learn and connect” at its Forums this year. Things kick-off with the EMEA event on 5 October, APAC on 16 November and LATAM on 30 November.