AVIXA, the organization that runs the annual InfoComm trade show here in the U.S. and is a partner in the Integrated System Europe (ISE) convention overseas, announced today that it has postponed the 2021 InfoComm from mid-June until the fall.
David Labuskes, AVIXA's CEO, said in a statement that the organization has been monitoring the state of the COVID vaccine rollout, economic conditions, travel restrictions, and sentiment from its exhibitor and attendee constituencies in deciding whether to move forward with the planned in-person event.
"In January, after receiving an opportunity to explore new dates, we gathered key stakeholder feedback and industry opinion, where we received overwhelming support for a postponement," he said. "As excited as the community is about the show, and as hopeful and optimistic as we remain in combatting the pandemic, it is believed that the U.S. will be further along in the battle against the pandemic by October than in June."
The new dates for InfoComm 2021 will be October 23-29, still at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The exhibition floor dates are Wednesday October 27th through Friday October 29th.
The postponement does not come as a total shock as the pandemic carries on throughout the U.S. and elsewhere, and the deadline for exhibitors to make major financial commitments assuring their attendence was bearing down hard. An ominous early sign was the announcement by major exhibitor Panasonic on January 25th that the company would be "erring on the side of caution" in choosing not to attend this year. InfoComm's original 2021 dates of June 12-18 were established well before last year's show was cancelled and taken virtual, and AVIXA could not anticipate that conditions for a live trade event could remain unfavorable through this spring. Pushing the event forward more than four months buys some much needed time.
Meanwhile, the 2021 ISE, a joint venture of AVIXA and CEDIA, remains scheduled for a live in-person and virtual event from June 1-4 in Barcelona. Labuskes noted that InfoComm and ISE "remain unique shows in separate geographies," while Mike Blackman, managing director of ISE, issued his own statement today confirming that ISE 2021 will stay on the books, at least for now. ISE has also been monitoring the situation with government and health authorities and has published a guide outlining the safe practice protocols put in place for the show that can be downloaded here. Some 37,000 square meters of space have been booked to date by just under 700 exhibitors, Blackman reported.
That said, "We understand our exhibitors and partners need to make commitments that will incur cost and we do not wish to burden them unnecessarily," he noted." For this reason, if circumstances impact our ability to host an in-person event and we are forced to cancel this element of ISE, we will make this decision by 1 March."
ISE's 2021 date already reflects a push forward from the show's usual February timeframe. The show's website says a cancellation of the live show in June would result in a virtual-only event and would make Feburary 2022 in Barcelona the next in-person show. Meanwhile, ISE has clearly been active in soliciting opinion from its constiuencies as recently as this week, when it sent an email survey to an unknown number of prior attendees inquiring about their comfort level with travel to an in-person event, and asking what safety protocols they might require for attendence.