I think 2020 will be a defining year. People will know exactly what they did, were going to do or had to cancel. It is also the year when, for many of us, furlough, working from home, zoom meetings, missing family and get togethers just became part of life.
For me, traveling to companies, plant visits, understanding companies capabilities and general networking all has to be done remotely and it’s difficult to switch from having the ability to see and interact with a company in their facility to a video call at a home office. Trade shows have always been a staple ingredient, where multiple companies could be seen in a single location, products viewed and discussions held. Some of these trade shows have been attended for decades and the pulse of an industry sector taken in a few hours, new potential customers and old established companies seen and interacted with.
The virtual decimation of this sector in one year with the repeated push backs of all mass gatherings leaves the hope of a renewal in whatever amended form for 2021, but without a vaccine, for many companies the risks of travel and interactions first hand will be a risk too far.
Reduced travel will cause re-evaluations across industry and 2020 may well be remembered not as the year of COVID-19 but the year things did not change at a gradual pace but took a major leap. The direction of that leap could well be in ways it’s hard to imagine, but so was not getting on a plane or having a meal out with friends like last year