Rapid News Group announced their intent to hold the 2021 TCT 3Sixty event over three days this coming September.
The 2020 instance of the event was rightly cancelled due to virus concerns in May 2020, just as the pandemic heated up. Initially, Rapid News Group had scheduled the 2021 event for 29 June – 1 July 2021, dates that now seem quite optimistic .
The 2021 event will take place 28-30 September in Birmingham, in-person at the UK’s NEC facility as it has in previous years. Well, that’s not completely true; Rapid News Group has held the TCT Show for many years, but after the 2019 event they decided to reshape things and even had a new name: TCT 3Sixty. However, circumstances did not allow them to proceed in 2020.
Rapid News Group said:
“Rapid News Group has today announced its decision to reschedule TCT 3Sixty, the UK’s flagship event for 3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing Intelligence, to 28–30 September 2021. The venue for the event, the NEC, Birmingham, UK remains unchanged.
The organisers have moved quickly to secure these new dates to enable the community to plan for the next period with confidence.”
This is notable as this could be one of the first major Western 3D print events to resume a physical conference approach, whereas almost all other events have for months operated digitally, if at all.
The obvious question here is: “Will the pandemic be sufficiently quashed by September 2021?”
That’s hard to know, and if I knew the answer I’d be a professional epidemiologist. However, Rapid News Group is confident things will be in place by then. CEO Duncan Woods said:
“I don’t believe anyone thought that our first reschedule would require an adjustment, but the latest information in the UK means the right thing to do is to reschedule the event to enable a further 13 weeks of vaccinations to take place ahead of the event.”
The challenge in organizing a large event such as TCT 3Sixty is that one has many unknowns and a long lead time for commitments. One big question is whether the pandemic will indeed be dealt with by late September.
As of this writing, the cases in the UK are skyrocketing. On the other hand, the UK is one of the leading countries in the world for vaccine deployment, with about 2% of their population vaccinated over the past 19 days. That’s about 0.1% per day. With now over 250 days before the event date, that suggests about 25% of the UK population will be vaccinated by then. That’s not sufficient.
However, it’s highly likely the distribution of vaccines will occur at an increasing rate, particularly as additional vaccines are approved by health authorities. Each new type will increase the supply, and thus increase the administration rate.
Rapid News Group is obviously planning on this to occur given they’ve committed to September dates.
There’s another problem they will face, and that’s whether people will actually attend. Many people I’ve spoken with are reluctant to do anything until the coast is truly clear. If the vaccine program has an effect that only becomes visible a few weeks before September, that may be too late for some to make a decision to attend.
There’s also the problem of international visitors, who often made up a portion of previous TCT crowds. If those countries have vaccination programs unfolding at different rates, then it’s possible there could be travel restrictions preventing attendance. People may also be nervous about leaving their primary location in fear of being trapped somewhere else.
These are certainly all challenges evaluated by Rapid News Group and evidently they feel they have sufficient grounds to continue.
I’m hoping they succeed, as everyone wants the world back to normal. Maybe TCT 3Sixty will be among the first to demonstrate so.
Via TCT 3Sixty