Q3 2020: Zoombombing enters the fray but so do job losses and bankruptcy

Our third quarter wrap up begins where Q2 left off – Covid. The pandemic which had already decimated all live events during the summer was threatening to do the same for the summer of 2021 as well.

This led ISE to publish a statement declaring the risk of the show in Barcelona as low. That being said, the show was eventually moved from February to June next year.

Fira de Barcelona

The summer was when the reality of Covid really began to hit, with job losses announced at Sennheiser, and trade body AVIXA reporting a $20bn hole in AV finances, with recovery not expected until 2022.

In one of the mre positive bits of news in a pretty bleak year, tech goliath Apple announced it would be carbon neutral by 2030.  And in one of the more significant people moves of the year, Job Sidwich, for so long associated with Uk then EMEA-wide distributor Maverick announced he was moving (with long-time sidekick Jane Hammersley) to become president of Collabtech, a US-based provider of collaboration products.

In August we heard the first use of the phrase ‘Zoombombing’, when a court hearing was interrupted by hackers posing as CNN and BBC employees who were given access without any password security. This story ran for a few months until Zoom was forced into a flurry of security updates. In many respects the video conferencing software was a victim of its own success, as its astonishing success had become one of the stories of the pandemic. Technology such as Zoom (and Teams) were to be so successful that by the end of Q3 nine out of ten people wanted to keep some for of remote working in their weekly office routine.

In what would be a sadly familiar story this year, LED provider Prysm was forced into bankruptcy and eventually split apart, with Blitz following soon after.

Distributors such as Exertis did try and help the economy along with credit initiatives but it would be a slow, long road back to 'normal' ie 2019 levels of economic success for the AV indutsry in 2020