Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you have decided to host the 12th Annual Summit and Conference of the Asia-Pacific Signal and Information Processing Association (APSIPA), which was supposed to take place in Auckland, New Zealand this December, virtually. What sparked the decision to host a virtual event instead of postponing the Summit and Conference to next year, as many other associations have?
The Board of Governors of APSIPA tries to keep organizing the traditional annual flagship conference every year, and the organizing committee of APSIPA-ASC 2020 had already prepared highlight events on-site.
As this is your first virtual event format, how has the planning and organisation changed?
The on-site events such as the welcome reception, banquet, and so on are cancelled, and the paper presentation style has been changed to prepare presentation videos in advance.
Can you give us an impression of what your first virtual Summit and Conference will look like for attendees?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, attendees are basically expected to understand some inconveniences happening during the conference. However, the organizing committee of APSIPA-ASC 2020 has tried their best to create all virtual events similar to the on-site ones.
APSIPA-ASC actually is well known as one of the top class conferences in which many researchers normally try to submit papers and get acceptance. However, as it is the first time virtual conferences are starting to pick up, researchers are still not sure about how effective it is and whether it is a good option to present their papers. This would definitely affect the number of participants and there will be less participants than the normal physical in-person conferences. On the other hand, APSIPA organization designed an excellent software platform to allow participants to benefit from the virtual conference in the same way they benefit from its physical one. The platform replicates all activities of the physical conferences to the virtual conferences. People can hold meetings, communicate with each other, discuss with presenters, make new networks, socialise virtually, and more.
The MICE industry has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. How do you think this will change our industry, and what measures can be taken, in your opinion?
As we learn from organizing the virtual conferences during the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual conferences give some merit to us, and may be inconvenient in some cases. I think we should consider to utilize both virtual and on-site formats for organizing conferences in the future.