COVID-19 Pandemic Changes IT Trade Show Landscape in 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic Changes IT Trade Show Landscape in 2020

May 22, 2020 Off By Hoofer

By David Marshall

With the pandemic outbreak of Coronavirus affecting countries around the globe, the IT world has been affected like most other industries.  And one of those areas within that industry that has been greatly affected is the trade show community. 

As of now, vendors and trade show organizers have been (and continue) canceling live events, in many cases all the way through October.  In some instances, conference sponsors have outright canceled trade show events; in other cases, they have postponed them or set out to create digital events for attendees.  As information changes, organizers say they will continue to monitor the situation and make decisions for the fourth quarter and beyond.

Organizers, exhibitors, attendees and the local communities that host these events are all trying to anticipate what the “return to normal” date will be on the calendar so the IT community can once again walk the aisles of a trade show floor and sit in a room full of colleagues to hear a presentation without fear or concern.

Because of COVID-19, IT companies themselves are canceling or restricting travel plans for its own employees over fear of contracting and further spreading the virus.  As such, this affects show organizers, sponsoring vendors, and attendees.  While government travel restrictions have been lifted, most companies still have a freeze in place.  And venues themselves are still closed to gatherings of this sort.

For trade show organizers that are canceling events, we’re hearing them say things like, “This was a very difficult decision and not one taken lightly.”  And, “Our number one priority is ensuring the safety of attendees and employees.”  Both of which, we completely understand.

But trade shows are a central figure for B2B marketing.  In some cases, we’re talking spending in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to host an event or spending tens of thousands to buy sponsorships for others.  For decades, events have been one of the best ways of getting in front of a large audience at once, to further marketing, sales, and even product management efforts.   

So while COVID-19 has had an enormous effect on the live events industry, we firmly believe that trade shows will re-emerge next year with a vengeance.  Despite the rise of digital marketing, physical trade shows will absolutely remain important in the future, because they are still one of the best ways for people to connect with prospects and customers in a face-to-face fashion in large quantities.  And that won’t go away.  Online sessions are great, but they can’t replicate or out perform live, in person contact. 

We cannot wait to see what our calendar will look like as companies who have postponed their events during this time begin to reschedule.  Let’s get ready!

As we all do our best to forge on and stay healthy, here’s what we’ve gathered so far about a few of the upcoming events.

Cisco Live

Cisco Live is being relaunched as a complimentary, full-scale digital worldwide event, enabling remote participation from anywhere in the world, offering more than 40 sessions over 4 channels during two days. The Cisco Live 2020 digital event will take place on June 2-3.

Citrix Synergy

This year, the company has decided to postpone Citrix Synergy and instead create a virtual program to be held sometime in the fall time frame.  We are waiting on exact program dates and format.

Dell Technologies World

Dell Technologies has created a Dell Technologies World virtual experience scheduled for October. Dell said it would stay engaged with customers, partners and all stakeholders through smaller virtual meetings, gatherings, briefings, webinars, podcasts and town halls.


An Austin favorite each year, Zenoss has decided to transition GalaxZ20 from a physical event to a digital experience, which will take place July 16. GalaxZ20 is now a free, one-day digital event where Zenoss customers, partners and other IT experts can uncover new strategies, share industry best practices, and learn more about enabling maximum service health across the most complex IT environments in the world – all from the safety of their own homes.

HPE Discover

HPE announced HPE Discover 2020 will transition from an in-person event to a virtual experience, with a host of live and on-demand content, as well as technical resources, demonstrations, and training.  The digital event will launch on June 23 and continue to feature content in the weeks following.


Veeam announced that its Las Vegas event would instead become a virtual event, taking place June 17-18. Gain access to experts to master better backup.  Connect via interactive chat rooms, live expert sessions and more to elevate your data strategy.  And in true Veeam fashion, they’ll also have a live concert with Keith Urban.


VMware said it would be hosting VMworld 2020 as a global online event during the week of September 28, 2020.  As a digital event, attendees will learn about innovative new technology solutions, hear perspectives from VMware executives, dive into educational and technical content, and engage with experts across the industry ecosystem.


The in-person ZertoCON 2020 event that was scheduled for Florida is canceled. But Zerto announced that ZertoCON 2020 will become a virtual event instead, delivering all the latest information and announcements from Zerto, including sessions spanning topics on Zerto’s solution, customer success stories and strategic partnerships that extend your IT investment.  ZeroCON kicks off on June 10th.


About the Author

David Marshall is an industry recognized virtualization and cloud computing expert, an eleven time recipient of the VMware vExpert distinction, and has been heavily involved in the industry for the past 20+ years.  To help solve industry challenges, he co-founded and helped start several successful virtualization software companies such as ProTier, Surgient, Hyper9 and Vertiscale. He also spent a number of years transforming desktop virtualization while at Virtual Bridges.

David is an author of two very popular server virtualization books and the Technical Editor on Wiley’s “Virtualization for Dummies” and “VMware VI3 for Dummies” books.  David authored countless articles for a number of well known technical magazines, including: InfoWorld, Virtual-Strategy and TechTarget.  In 2004, he founded the oldest independent virtualization and cloud computing news site,, which he still operates today.

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