2020 was a tough year for events. The tech world witnessed thousands of cancellations, amounting to a direct economic loss of $500 million. As we look forward to a vaccine and hopefully, a refurbished event landscape in 2021, these in-person meetings will be crucial for collaboration tech companies and buyers worldwide. After all, events are known to be more effective for driving interest, understanding, and eventually adoption, than digital channels like email (48%), and online demos (39%).
But this doesn’t mean that digital is on its way out next year.
The convenience and cost-effectiveness of online events won’t be undermined by the rebound, and several collaboration tech companies will stay with the digital model in 2021. Here’s our list of must-attend collaboration events scheduled for the next few months and why you need to be there – in-person or virtually.
Integrated Systems Europe or ISE is a state-of-the-art exhibition for the latest collaboration technologies. Plans for ISE 2021 are well underway, scheduled for June1-4, 2021 at Fira de Barcelona Gran Via. The venue’s management team has partnered with risk mitigation companies and a local healthcare provider to ensure a safe, enriching few days. Here are the highlights:
The event is open for pre-registration by showing your interest.
Typically held sometime around April, Google’s biggest annual conference – Cloud Next – moved to an innovative digital platform in 2020. The company not only cancelled the in-person event, but it also took time to convert the online event into a permanent repository of digital content. You can access complete sessions from Google Cloud Next ’20: OnAir on the company website, but official details for 2021 are yet to be revealed.
Google has only left an intriguing note saying: “See you in 2021. Until then, stay safe and healthy.” As per rumour mills, 2021’s event could be held at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco between June 28-30, 2021.
Frontiers is Slack’s two-day customer conference, bringing together its community of customers, partners, and builders. Frontiers 2020 was held as a fully virtual live event, with end-to-end recordings now up for on-demand consumption. You can check out full keynotes (headed by author, tech-veteran and comedian Sarah Cooper), as well as in-depth breakout sessions. About Slack Frontiers 2021, the company had this to say: “The short answer is we don’t know yet, but we’re working on it!”
Further information about Frontiers 2021 may be obtained by contacting [email protected]. But given the recent Salesforce-Slack acquisition, you can expect 2021’s event to go through a full rebranding.
Cisco is a global giant in collaboration hardware and software, so it is probably fitting that Cisco is sticking to a digital format in 2021. The company has announced that Cisco Live will be held on June 8-10, 2021, bringing exciting keynotes, educational sessions, hands-on labs, musical performances, and celebrity speakers. Registration for the event is yet to begin – but you can sign up for updates and alerts.
First announced in 2018, Flow was envisioned as a global leadership summit organised by Workplace from Facebook. It aimed to bring together tech founders, thought leaders, and C-level executives; the first chapter of the event included keynotes from collaboration giants like Zoom, Box, and SmartSheet. Next year (2019) Flow was again held in Menlo Park in the month of October, this time with participation from Booking.com, WW International, and others.
Facebook did not announce any updates for Flow 2020, possibly due to the constraints of COVID-19. Workplace has instead switched to holding multiple micro-events across the year – there’s no confirmation as to Flow’s return in 2021.
Future Decoded take a fresh spin on collaboration technology and its import. Every year, Microsoft’s experts come together to discuss some of the most pressing social issues for current and future generations, and how their technology is aiding their resolution. In 2019, for example, Microsoft explored AI, climate stability, accessibility, and compliance, among other issues. Microsoft Future Decoded 2020 was held in India – across Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru – talking about how data and technology could power economic prosperity.
With regards to Microsoft Future Decoded 2021, there are no official updates, but the company has announced that all events until July will be digital-only.
Zoomtopia is the company’s annual user conference, witnessing participation from industry giants like NVIDIA, Thrive Global and others. Zoomtopia 2020 saw a keynote speech from Mark Cuban, serial entrepreneur, owner of NBA’s Dallas Mavericks franchise, and of Shark Tank fame. It was a fully virtual event held on October 14-15, 2020 – you can watch full sessions recordings here.
Details about Zoomtopia 2021 are yet to be announced, but you could expect a jam-packed two days of guest keynotes, fireside chats, and breakout sessions. Members of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth have already won two tickets to Zoomtopia 2021 during this year’s Innovation Awards.
Ignite is possibly Microsoft’s biggest event, bringing together community experts, Microsoft’s business leaders, and key customers and prospects. The company will stay digital-only till July 2021, which includes Ignite 2021 as well. Microsoft decided to split Ignite into a two-part event, the first held on September 22-24, 2020. The next half debuts on March 2-4, 2021, also as a free, fully digital event.
Microsoft’s Satya Nadella will be spearheading the event, along with other top industry leaders. The first half saw exactly 812 sessions, and we are looking forward to the next instalment in 2021.
UC Summit 2021 is a virtual, interactive event, offering expert-led sessions on UC, CX, and collaboration technologies. Collaboration leaders such as Poly, EPOS, and AudioCodes will be sharing their insights helping to guide decision-makers in their technology choices. The list of speakers is constantly evolving, with experts from Ribbon Communications, Cisco, and Avaya also scheduled to lead the discussions.
It is a 26-day event starting January 25, 2021, and registrations are already open.
Avaya ENGAGE is the company’s annual user conference, and Engage 2021 was originally scheduled for February 7-10, in Orlando. The company recently announced its intention to push the vent back by a few months, now scheduled for June 6-9 at the same venue. ENGAGE 2021 will bring 120+ hands-on sessions, one-on-one conversations with Avaya experts and networking tracks, and going by this year’s numbers, we expect 3000+ attendees from across the globe. Watch this space for further details and updates on registrations.
After a complex year now almost behind us, and the first rays of hope beginning to appear at the horizon, we believe collaboration tech will witness an all-new-high in 2021. Whether WFH remains the preferred modus operandi or a hybrid model is the way forward, expect a multi-faceted series of updates, extensions, and new product variants launched in rapid succession.
These 10 events are sure to offer a ringside view to these movements, and we look forward to seeing you (or, e-seeing you) there. Stay safe, everyone!