By Barry Vogel- Executive Director of ALTI (Audio & Loudspeaker Technologies International)
In a lifetime of life changing events, the COVID-19 pandemic stands alone. It has blown across the planet largely unabated and has shown us that we are the masters of our destiny. Until nature decides otherwise. Most business and industry are either shut down entirely, or severely curtailed. In the United States where 68% of the economy is consumer spending, and consumers are largely out of the market due to lay-offs and shelter in place orders, it is hard to imagine it all ever getting back to normal. Whatever “normal” will be after this.
For ALTI and our membership, it feels like the industry is in limbo. ISE in Amsterdam in February was a smaller event than past years. Then came the cascade of trade show cancellations and postponements. Pro-Light and Sound. Cancelled. InfoComm. Cancelled. ALTI-EXPO. Cancelled. Many more key trade events cancelled. Whatever one’s feelings about trade shows, they are a vital link for innovators, manufacturers, and consumers. They are also a fairly accurate reflection of the markets. Travel restrictions and corporate cutbacks have put 2020 event planning in question. For now. Although it may feel like the industry is in limbo, nothing would be further from the truth. There is a full slate of new products, technologies, and innovations ready to go. Right now. Many were set to drop at one or more of the aforementioned trade shows. Smart suppliers are now holding back some of those introductions pending an improving marketplace. It is encouraging to see the increased activity in social networking and outreach to offer encouragement and the promise of better times to come.