IEEE cancels plenary due to coronavirus; CCA, WISPA events still on

Dallas
WISPA and CCA events in Dallas are scheduled to happen as planned. (Pixabay)

Some industry organizations are forging ahead with their events while others are canceling meetings and telling employees to work from home due to coronavirus concerns.

Citing the global concern regarding COVID-19, the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee (LMSC) cancelled the IEEE 802 Plenary Session scheduled for March 15-20 in Atlanta.

“This decision recognizes that government and company travel restrictions now make it impossible for the LMSC to hold a successful face-to-face plenary with all constituents of the 802 community fairly represented,” the committee said in a statement. “We recognize that the timing of this decision has significantly inconvenienced many of you. However, this decision was made out of deep concern for the health and well-being of our volunteers, staff, vendors, and the Atlanta community.”

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The 3GPP nixed face-to-face Technical Specifications Group (TSG) and Working Group (WG) meetings for the first quarter of 2020, as well as meetings that were set for April. Instead, the meetings are being converted to e-meetings, with the focus of work during the second quarter to be on Release 16 completion. The 3GPP WG meetings scheduled for May are still planned to proceed as normal.  

These groups are a among of slew of entities canceling or postponing events to avoid spread of the virus. The GSMA last month cancelled the industry’s biggest trade show, Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which typically attracts more than 100,000 people from around the world. More recently, city officials in Austin, Texas, cancelled the South by Southwest tech, music and movie event that was set to start on March 13.

RELATED: Marek’s Take: Coronavirus’ impact will be bigger than a cancelled trade show

However, smaller conventions planned by the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) and the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) are still on schedule to take place in Dallas later this month.  

WISPAMERICA 2020, set for March 17-19, will be held at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, where more than 1,000 attendees and exhibitors are expected.

“WISPA has been closely monitoring information from the U.S. State Department, the CDC, WHO, Dallas County Health Officials and others pertinent to the novel coronavirus,” said Trina Coffey, vice president of Events & Operations at WISPA in a statement. “Armed with this information, as well as common sense behaviors to prevent person-to-person communication of the virus, WISPA has determined that WISPAMERICA 2020 will proceed as planned.”

The organization said it has put numerous precautions in place to prevent the potential spread of the virus, including barring attendance by people who reside in or recently traveled from countries that are subject to CDC travel advisories related to the virus and the elimination of “open food serving stations where food is available at conference center events, replacing them with individually wrapped or boxed food items.”

The CCA also is moving forward with its show, scheduled for March 30-April 1 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, and said it’s taking steps to ensure everyone’s safety.   

“The health and safety of our show attendees is of the utmost importance, and CCA is closely following developments regarding the coronavirus,” the association said in a statement. “The vast majority of CCA attendees are U.S.-based, and CCA has proactively reached out to companies with offices in China and affected areas to ensure their plans are to send only U.S.-based employees to MCS. We will continue to monitor the situation and intend to contact anyone registered from Asia or any areas significantly impacted by the virus. We look forward to a great event in Dallas.”