Q1 2020: Everything began as normal then Covid begins to creep in

In the first of four quarterly round-ups of 2020, we look at the period covering January-March. The year began as normal but slowly it became obvious Covid-19 was a) here to stay and b) was going to affect everything.

Long before it became a dirty word, 2020 began just as many other years have, with CES in Las Vegas. Which for us and our readers means new flat panel displays concepts, like this 8K model from Samsung, and futuristic car interiors using AR (pic below) and very cool in-car audio and 3D dashboard displays.

audi interior

Facial recognition did not have a good year in 2020, privacy concerns, such as this example in London, saw the technology move from 'the next big thing' to 'probably not going to happen on any large scale' this year.

February means one thing in the AV calendar – ISE. The show this year wasn’t the most memorable in terms of ground-breaking products.

It was probably more significant because it happened in the midst of Storm Dennis which saw hundreds of flights cancelled and also just as Covid-19 loomed on the horizon, and also because it was the final year before the show moved from its traditional home of Amsterdam to a bigger and better venue in Barcelona next year.

Post-ISE 2020 the stories began to be dominated by Covid, at first the stories were addressing potential supply issues as China appeared initially to be the worst hit of any country.

As we know now, the Covid story then morphed into affecting other trade shows in the AV calendar, with Prolight and Sound being the first to be hit with a slew of cancellations before eventually being cancelled altogether, which was a trend that rapidly increased as we approached spring.

2020 was a very good year for Microsoft Teams and Zoom, once lockdown had been established in mid-March the two video conferencing systems had gone from growing nicely to ubiquitous overnight. In fact, the only problem was having often having too many users using the software at the same time, something they probably never though in their wildest dreams would be a problem they’d have to ever deal with.

Covid went in early January from being seen as a problem confined to ‘just’ South-East Asia to a truly global issue by March.  AVIXA was quick to see that Covid would have a significant impact on the AV world, and began producing a weekly report to assess the damage.

Q1 ended with the sad but (by that time) utterly predictable news that InfoComm 2020 in Las Vegas had been cancelled.

And finally in a trend that we would be seeing a LOT of in 2020, companies started doing webinars to keep customers abreast of what they were up to, and offering online training, which became one of teh biggest stories of the year.