I was one of many who made it to last year’s Embedded World conference, which convened annually in Nuremberg, Germany. It happened to be one of the last conferences that was held in person as COVID-19 overtook the world.
In one sense, we attendees were very lucky. COVID-19 wasn’t widespread at that point. Unfortunately, many of the prevention efforts like wearing masks wasn’t in play on a major scale at that point either. A noticeable number of companies, large and small, pulled out at the last minute, leaving a bit more open space in a typically crowded affair (see figure).
Many other companies had a reduced presence, but the number of announcements was as substantial as in the past. It was actually a better conference from my perspective—navigating from one meeting to another was easier as was scheduling meetings.
This year’s Embedded World is online, which is the case for most conferences these days. Navigating a virtual conference is a bit different. A video camera and a comfortable chair are the norm for attendance, and it’s BOYB instead of partaking of tasty local fare. On the plus side, not having to schedule and travel does have its benefits. The obvious downside is no in-person meetings.
One thing that will be a challenge is handling time differences. Having an in-person event means everyone is in the same area and time zone. That’s not the case with remote conferences like this; I’ve had some odd hours for past conferences held in Europe and Asia.
This year’s conference still has a large number of exhibitors. It will be interesting to see if the interface for Embedded World is any better or worse than others. For us in the press, there’s the usual crop of press conferences and news announcements. We will cull it all down into more useful information that you can use, as well as try to pinpoint new trends and hot products.
What will be a challenge is to find those serendipitous tidbits that usually emerge while wandering around an in-person event. I’ve found a number of products like eGlass, which is actually for video conferencing, while wandering through a virtual tradeshow just to see what was new and interesting.
On the plus side for many of you, these online incarnations are often open to the public with the right technical background and credentials. If you do get a chance to wander the virtual halls and find something interesting, let us know.