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Published on May 19th, 2020 | by The GC Team

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IFA 2020 in Berlin will be a “real-life event” but with safety measures

IFA has announced today (May 19th) that it has been given the go-ahead to take place in 2020 as a real-life event in Berlin, “based on a special concept that puts health and safety first.

This year’s IFA 2020 “Special Edition” will take place over just three days – from 3 to 5 September – and according to the organisers “falls well within the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.” It will be by invitation only, with no access for the public, will “put strict limits on the number of attendees,” and focus on IFA’s four global core functions, which are:
1. an innovation showcase for brands;
2. a platform for cutting-edge technologies;
3. a sourcing event for OEMs and ODMs; and
4. a marketplace where retailers and brands can come together.
Jens Heithecker, the Executive Director of IFA Berlin, said: “After all the event cancellations during the past months, our industry urgently needs a platform where it can showcase its innovation, so that it can recover and rebound. The recovery of our industry starts here at IFA Berlin.” While virtual events were useful, he added, they were “missing the immediacy, hands-on experience and human connections that make events like IFA Berlin so incredibly useful.”
The concept for IFA 2020 was developed in close collaboration with public health authorities in Germany to ensure the health and safety of all participants. The organizers will make sure that social distancing, careful crowd control and other effective public hygiene measures are all in place.
This year’s IFA will effectively be run as four stand-alone events, with not more than 1,000 attendees for each event per day. While the organizers hope that the overall public health situation will improve between now and September, they have decided to err on the side of caution and meet the strictest safety standards possible.
Details of the four IFA 2020 events are:
1. IFA Global Press Conference, which has moved from April to September and turned it into this year’s Global Showcase for Innovation and Technology. Around 800 journalists covering 50+ countries will be invited to Berlin “so brands and manufacturers will be able to show journalists their latest products and devices”. All keynotes and company press conferences will take place on just two or three keynote stages curated by IFA. The opening keynote will be delivered by Cristiano Amon, the President of mobile connectivity company Qualcomm, who will speak about the company’s latest developments in 5G, AI and other key technologies.
2. IFA NEXT meets IFA SHIFT Mobility, where, for 2020 only, IFA will combine its two innovation platforms – IFA Next and SHIFT Mobility – for an exclusive live event for the international tech community. The event will bring together technology start-ups and companies in the connected mobility sector to help them get the much-needed lifeblood of publicity and industry connections. For innovators, disruptors, tech journalists and digital influencers interested in the cutting edge of technology, this will be the year’s most important event to attend.
3. IFA Global Markets, now acknowledged as “Europe’s largest sourcing show for OEMs and ODMs,”  will, says IFA, “be this year’s first dedicated sourcing show in the world. The message from IFA’s industry partners has been clear: the industry needs a sourcing show to repair and restructure its supply chains hit by the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.
4. IFA Business, Retail & Meeting Lounges, an important marketplace for consumer electronics and home appliances. In 2019, for example, brands and retailers struck deals worth more than 4.7 billion euro during the event in Berlin. While acknowledging that the pandemic will make it impossible to replicate this level of deal-making and networking this year, IFA Berlin “will curate the IFA Business, Retail & Meeting Lounges to give brands and manufacturers the much-needed opportunity to meet retailers in a safe and efficient manner ahead of the year’s all-important shopping season.”
For those who may not be able to obtain entry to the “real life” event, or may be subject to travel restrictions, IFA will offer everybody “virtual opportunities to be part of the IFA Berlin experience.”
Hans-Joachim Kamp, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of gfu Consumer & Home Electronics GmbH, the organizer of IFA, said: “IFA Berlin is the most important event for the consumer electronics and home appliances industry. These past few weeks, we have worked very closely with the IFA team to develop a concept that gives all our industry partners the platform they need to talk about their innovations.”
Dr Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin, commented: “Our IFA team really has pulled out the stops for this one. I’m incredibly proud of how they have tackled this challenge and come up with a solution for IFA 2020.”

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