The coronavirus outbreak has some in the events industry worried. While it’s best not to be alarmist, it’s also important to understand what’s happening so far.
Here’s the background on how the outbreak has impacted events, as well as what the Intellitix team is hearing from the industry and the precautionary measures we are taking.
Event Cancellations To Date
The coronavirus has already affected live events globally.
Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest phone roadshow scheduled to take place in Barcelona this February, has been cancelled. Multiple watch summits have seen cancellations, with the Swatch Group cancelling its upcoming Zurich-based watch summit, and the Seiko Watch Corporation cancelling its summit in Tokyo. Multiple live music shows in China, Hong Kong, and Singapore have also seen cancellations.
Sports events have also felt much of the impact. At least 18 major sporting events have either been cancelled, postponed, or otherwise affected due to the outbreak. This includes the cancellation of professional golf tournament — HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore — and the postponement of The Chinese Grand Prix. Esports have felt it as well, with Blizzard cancelling Overwatch League set to take place in China in February and March
The events industry may also be impacted by travel restrictions and flight cancellations. If global travel slows down significantly, more events may end up postponed.
Impact on Technology Supply Chains
Events rely heavily on technology, and disruptions in the supply chain may cause delays or shortages as well.
Big technology brands that rely on manufacturing in China have already felt the impact. Apple closed all of its physical stores in mainland China, and the country’s iPhone manufacturing has slowed down substantially, with only about 10% of the workforce having returned to work. Tesla has been ordered to shut down a factory in Shanghai amid fears of the outbreak, while Facebook has also put a halt on any new orders of their Oculus Quest in light of slowed production. In the meantime, Korean telecoms have cancelled launch events of the Galaxy S20.
The outbreak has affected not just the ongoing production of technology but initial shipments as well, with the Nintendo Switch console and accessories being pushed back. The toll on the shipment industry itself has reached $350 million a week so far.
Impact on RFID Manufacturers
Intellitix’s teams haven’t yet seen any major disruptions, but we’re witnessing a few events looking outside of their usual RFID bracelet suppliers. Since a significant amount of RFID technology is manufactured in China, any events relying on distributors located in the country may be affected. As a result, Intellitix has made early moves to ensure we maintain relationships with multiple suppliers globally.
As far as incidents, so far Intellitix has heard of at least one major distributor reporting that their RFID production will be completely shut-down until at least February 17th. In another instance, we’ve heard about delays in eco-friendly RFID chip manufacturing for green-conscious events, with production slowing down to 2/10ths capacity.
As long as you have a partner with a strong network of RFID chip suppliers, there are no risks to event operations, and Intellitix has spent a decade building those relationships with manufacturers at a global scale. Organizers should definitely be more cautious and make themselves aware of alternatives, but should remain calm and confident, especially if they already work with a technology partner that supports a global infrastructure like Intellitix does.