Salesforce’s premier Australian conference has become the latest casualty of the global Coronavirus epidemic, with its flashy Sydney World Tour event to be streamed online this year.
The cloud-based software company on Wednesday said it had made the difficult decision to change the format of the event from an “in person event” to “an online experience” on March 4.
The event usually attracts tens of thousands of technology leaders from across the Asia-Pacific region to the International Convention Centre on Darling Harbour.
“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our stakeholders,” Salesforce said in an update on its website.
“Over the last few months, we have been closely monitoring the evolving situation with the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak to ensure we are taking every precaution to look after our customers, partners and employees.”
Salesforce said the decision to change the format was made “after careful consideration of our stakeholders and reflection on our values”, and that the online program would be as valuable.
“World Tour Sydney Reimagined will deliver a full program of inspiration and enablement direct to you, streamed from Australia completely online for the first time ever.”
World Tour Sydney joins a long list of yearly technology conferences that have been abandoned in recent weeks over Coronavirus, including Mobile World Congress Barcelona and Facebook’s San Francisco summit.
Cisco Live Melbourne became the first major Australia technology conference to be cancelled last week.
Research by Analyst firm Gartner suggests that events such as trade shows are a critical marking channel for technology providers as it gives them the ability to engage with buyers firsthand.
As such, technology providers devote the largest percentage of marketing spend to these events. Technology providers on average invest 8.4 percent of revenue on marketing, of which more than a third is allocated to marketing.
According to John Hopkins University's dashboard, he death toll from the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak stands at 1875, the vast majority of which have occurred in China's Hubei province. There are 73,451 confirmed cases worldwide.