2021. What an interesting year. With the world turned upside down by a pandemic that seemingly had its sights set on...
HPE NonStop RUGs
What will 2021 hold for the NonStop community
The numbers are beginning to tell the story. It’s hard to replicate in the real world what’s taking place in the virtual world of events. The numbers from some of 2020’s biggest events are so large that they are somewhat intoxicating; dizzying for many to the point where it will be hard to justify the expense associated with returning to the old ways of doing things. Who wants to travel on an airline? Who wants to take that ride to a hotel, stand in line and then walk into a room of who-knows-what level of cleanliness? No, like many of you, let me click on ZOOM and participate over the ether.
Of course, there’s always at least the one smiling face among the crowd that isn’t wearing a mask, but even so, for many members of the NonStop community, travel wasn’t what they thought it would be when we all began putting our plans together at this time, last year. However and admittedly it’s early in the calendar year, community event calendars are looking threadbare. If you haven’t been on the Connect Community web site lately, you will have missed looking at a calendar with hardly an entry on it. At least an email from Kathy Wood suggests that dates have been given for some RUG meetings to be held this year, as follows (but are all subject to change):
SunTUG March 5th
NYTUG May 4th
MATUG May 6th
CTUG May 19-20th
NonStop Technical Boot Camp October 5-7th
I have to admit, however (and as much as I like Florida’s warm weather) the likelihood of any of these events happening seems remote at this stage of the global pandemic.
As for what’s happening in Europe, the latest info we have been given notes that BITUG is still planning on holding its BIG SIG, June 22- 24 at Trinity House, London, where it hopes for a “in-person” – but watch for more info about this as and when it becomes available. As for the next pan-Europe eBITUG that will likely be in 2023 as GTUG looks like it will be in a position to hold the GTUG sponsored pan-Europe eGTUG event in 2022 having already postponed the 2020 event, an event in 2021 looks less and less likely. But then again, watch for more info about this as and when it too begins to be promoted.
When it comes to numbers, HPE Discover 2020 exceeded all expectation even as views of the captured “on-demand sessions” went through the stratosphere. At this time last year, promotion of the then planned HPE big tent event was in full swing with the expectations being that the event would pull in the usual big numbers of attendees. Then everything went south; the event went virtual surprising many with the numbers it produced but now, as 2021 gets under way, there’s almost nothing on the web that gives us any comfort in terms of what HPE Discover 2021 will look like. Furthermore, with the numbers depicted above, it’s likely that the days of the big networking opportunities are now gone with HPE turning to ZOOM and the like for all major events.
Whether this is a format we like or dislike is not the issue. It’s our safety, our budgets and a general drifting away from gatherings of this type. So much so that there are many event companies wondering if the outlook will continue to be focused on virtual events and that in all likelihood, this is the new normalcy. According to George Meek, CEO of InPlayer (a leading monetization and subscriber management platform, in a December 15, 2020, post to the Trade Show News Network blog, when it comes to life in the new normalcy:
“But there’s an implication weaved into that outlook – an assumption that we’ll soon go back to the way things were. We’re here to tell you: Don’t hold your breath. Although a time will come when many of us will again enter offices, halls, theaters and similar public spaces, virtual events are no fleeting fad. The flexibility, reach and cost-effectiveness they offer have certified their value across industries, markets and time zones – and even revealed new opportunities along the way.”
Returning to the matter of NonStop events, very early promotion of the planned NonStop TBC 2021 has already started. Set for October 5-7, 2021, to be held in the Hilton Denver City Center we will all just have to wait and see. As a Coloradoan I am excited to read of a big event for the NonStop community headed our way but even so, not only will I have to wait and see but will be keeping an eye on the weather as October can be problematic. If you caught our Buckle-Up social blog post of September 8, 2020 you will have read of our first snowfall arriving this year before summer had ended!
Even though we live outside Ft Collins (hope that HPE folks at the Ft Collins location extend an invite to visit them – what do you think?) if all goes to plan then I will be among the first to register. However, I don’t think the odds favor a real event so much as they suggest it will be another virtual event. And it’s all about the numbers! The All Digital Experience pulled in the biggest crowd of any NonStop events, including the heydays of ITUGs past. So, by all means, watch the event updates on web sites and social media channels as the new normalcy that is descending upon us all shows little interest in returning to the past. When it comes to filling in the calendar then, so sorry to report (as that blogger wrote), “We’re here to tell you: Don’t hold your breath!”