We are two weeks away from the second big tech conference of the year in Mobile World Congress 2020 but it’s starting to look like it’s going to be an empty affair.

The latest firm to cancel its appearance at the conference is Sony which issued a statement this morning.

“Sony has been closely monitoring the evolving situation following the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization on January 30th, 2020,” the manufacturer wrote.

“As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain,” said Sony.

The firm said it will be announcing its new products via a video on its Sony Xperia YouTube page on 24th February in lieu of this cancellation.

At time of writing that means the following firms will no longer be at MWC 2020:

  • Nvidia
  • Ericsson
  • Amazon
  • LG

Organisers of MWC 2020, GSMA, released a statement at the weekend outlining some of the precautions it is taking ahead of the event.

These measures include:

  • Increased cleaning and disinfection programme across all high-volume touchpoints, e.g. catering areas, surfaces, handrails, WCs, entrances/exits, public touch-screens, etc. along with the use of correct cleaning/sanitising materials and products
  • Increased onsite medical support – doubled over last year
  • Awareness campaign via online and onsite info-share and signage
  • Availability of sanitising and disinfection materials for public use
  • Awareness and training to all staff on standard personal preventative measures, e.g. personal hygiene, frequency of use of sanitising/disinfection products, etc.
  • Advice to exhibitors on implementing effective cleaning and disinfection of stands, offices along with guidance on personal hygiene measures and common preventive behaviour
  • Public health guidelines and advice communication to Barcelona hotels, public and private transport, restaurants and catering outlets, retail, etc.
  • Installing new signage onsite reminding attendees of hygiene recommendations
  • Implementing a microphone disinfecting and change protocol for all speakers
  • Communicating advice to all attendees to adopt a ‘no-handshake policy’
  • A 24-hour telephone Security and Medical service for all attendees, operational from 12th to 29th February 2020. This number appears on the back of badge holders, in the event App and on signage around the venue.

The organisers will also not allow travellers from Hubei province to access the event and Chinese attendees will need to “demonstrate proof they have been outside of China 14 days prior to the event” by way of a passport stamp and health certificate.

With just two weeks to go before MWC 2020 we do wonder how many more firms will cancel before the doors open.

[Source – Sony, GSMA]