Open Letter to the AutoSens Community: Taking AutoSens online in 2020

Open Letter to the AutoSens Community

Dear AutoSens Community,

The all-consuming changes that have been brought by the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted all of us, and presented us with difficult choices to make. We all want things to get back to normal as quickly as possible, and we’re all desperate to reconnect face-to-face at the next conferenceIn difficult circumstances, we can’t always get what we want, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept a poor result. Business is built on innovation, we adapt to the circumstances, we improve, we explore new ways to do things, that’s what makes us human. 

The AutoSens team has gathered data via a market-wide survey, we’ve been talking with our customers and contacts, we’ve been monitoring the news and wider events industry sentiment. Just 17% of survey respondents expected to travel for conferences or trade shows in 2020, and our other feedback reflected this trend. In the end, what has become very clear is that we will not be able to deliver a physical event of the quality demanded by our community. It may be possible to deliver an event. It may attract some attendees. It may have to include social distancing measures. But our judgement is that it would be significantly diminished in size, with a very localised audience, and lacking in the rich diversity of international attendees that give the event its value. We expect that any physical events that do take place in 2020 will fall far short of expectations for all involved. 

From the start, Sense Media has stated that we’ll stick with our industry partners through thick and thin. It’s in our mission statement. Doing what’s right for the community is at the heart of our business plan. In fact, our own company’s needs are right at the bottom of the list of priorities – we don’t exist without our community, so our decision-making is based on doing what’s right to support your objectives. We love conferences, we thrive on face-to-face interactions, but now is not the time to focus on those emotional needs. 

After consideration of all the factors, we believe the only way to successfully serve the AutoSens community of engineers and scientists in 2020 is to take both the Brussels and Detroit events fully online. A wise man once told me “You can make the right decision, or you can make the wrong decision, but worst of all is to make no decision at all.”. Going online now gives both the AutoSens team and the AutoSens community clarity and purpose over the next 6 months, and the opportunity to dedicate our full energy and resource to making AutoSens best in class online platform for learning, networking, discussion and showcasing the latest innovations in ADAS and autonomous vehicle technology. 

Learning from our recent AutoSensONLINE series, we have gone back to first principles to create an online experience that stands out from the many webinars, zoom calls and other screen-time interactions we’re subjected to in these times. We’ll take the best elements of our physical events – 

  • The highquality technical content and discussion, available both live and on demand 
  • Excellent networking opportunities with senior technical experts from throughout the supply chain 
  • An engaging and informative technology showcase 

And we’ll add to this some new features that make the most of being online  

  • Access to a much larger international audience 
  • ‘Always on’ engagement, not limited to just the days of the conference 
  • Enhanced analytics and lead generation for sponsors and exhibitors 
  • Improved, targeted networking features at the touch of a button 

Of course we’ll all miss the some of the social aspects of events and we know there will be disappointment about not meeting in person, but we must all adapt to the circumstances we are presented with and I can say with confidence that we’re planning a full roster of physical events in 2021 – all enhanced with the online features we are launching and optimising throughout 2020. 

If you are a speaker, exhibitor or sponsor you will likely have a question or two and we are fully prepared to respond to all of them and engage with each of you over the coming weeks to explain how AutoSens is going to be even bigger, better and a more globally connected experience than ever before. 

The team at Sense Media is excited to be exploring these new ways to help you meet your goals of learning, meeting industry peers, and doing more business with both existing and new customers. COVID-19 has changed the world forever, but we all still share the same mission to make roads safer and save lives by improving automotive technology. 

We remain dedicated to serving our community, and we invite you to join us on this journey as we learn together how to keep our businesses and careers moving onwards and upwards in the new world. 

Best regards,

Rob Stead and your AutoSens team

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