While the International Microwave Symposium will also hold a virtual conference, exhibitors insisted on a live event albeit with COVID-19 restrictions.
The International Microwave Symposium 2021 live event runs June 7-10, 2021, in Atlanta with a virtual event running June 20-25. The live event will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center as scheduled years in advance. What were the decisions that the conference organizers have to make regarding holding both a live and virtual event? 5G Technology World spoke with symposium co-chairs Steve Kenney and John Papapolymerou about what you should expect at both the in-person and virtual events.
5GTW: Why did the IMS2021 organizers never consider cancelling the in-person event?
Kenney: We discussed our options, which included a virtual-only event and delaying the live event until the Fall of 2021. Delaying wasn’t an option because the Georgia World Congress Center was booked. The only available week was right before Christmas.
We spoke with attendees and exhibitors. Many exhibitors, especially small companies, don’t see any value in a virtual event. They expressed a strong desire to exhibit in person. They know how to sell face-to-face but lack the resources and expertise to produce webinars and other online events the way companies such as Analog Devices, Keysight, or Rohde & Schwarz do. Some presenters wanted the in-person experience as well.
Papapolymerou: Because of travel restrictions, we needed to produce both live and online events. We wanted attendees unable to travel to have the option to attend as well.
5GTW: Will those who present papers in Atlanta also present their papers online?
Kenney: Atlanta will have a fraction of the full complement of presentations that will take place online.
Papapolymerou: We will hold a synchronous virtual event. People who give presentations in person will also present their work in the online event. Most speakers will give their presentations live online and attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions through a chat box. We will record some presentations in cases where speakers can’t come live online, mostly because of time differences.
Kenney: We will record the plenary sessions in Atlanta, but that’s all because the technical papers presented at the live even will also be presented in the virtual conference.
5GTW: What safety protocols must live-event attendees follow?
Kenney: The live event will operate at 25% of convention hall capacity and we expect to reach that level of attendees. We will maintain social distance and require all attendees to wear masks. Everyone must wear a mask and social distance because only a portion of attendees will be vaccinated.
5GTW: How will IMS2021 address 5G?
Kenney: Since 2017 in Honolulu, IMS has featured a 5G summit. This year, we have a Connected Future Summit at the virtual event. The summit will cover topics such as Wi-Fi, future 5G, and 6G.
As far as the exhibits, 5G is in full swing. Engineers want to see the latest 5G products.
Papapolymerou: The virtual event will close with a mobility panel, which will look at the big picture of possible applications for 5G such as vehicle communications. Live and virtual sessions will discuss hardware and the big picture. That is, “What is the role of these technologies in everyday life?” The COVID-19 pandemic showed us how important wireless technologies have become. There are problems, particularly in rural areas and with socio-economic issues. We will hear from speakers covering areas outside the typical IMS hardware issues.
5GTW: Have terahertz frequencies, often spoken in 6G circles, taken on a new role at IMS?
Kenney: Yes. We have a subcommittee that looks at terahertz frequencies and we will have papers on the subject.
Papapolymerou: Terahertz has traditionally been the subject of curiosity and scientific research, but now we’re hearing about possible commercial applications.