Elbow-touching has become a popular alternative to the usual handshake-greeting. 
As we’ve all seen, events have been cancelled at an alarming rate over concern of the virus spreading exponentially. Organizers have canceled SXSW, many other festivals such as Coachella have either canceled or postponed their events. Huge annual conferences have been shut down altogether like E3, Facebook’s F8, the Game Developers ConferenceGoogle’s Cloud Next, and many more. 
Many companies are requiring their employees work from home unless it’s absolutely essential for them to come in. And as we learned in our recent article while attending the SF Travel Marketing Conference, the travel and hospitality industry is taking a big hit as well. 

Experts speak on the current state of the San Francisco travel industry. 
In spite of these alarming developments, many voices are spreading hope and optimism to prevent unnecessary panic. They’re encouraging everyone with tips and recommendations to stop the spread along with ideas and alternatives to facilitate daily functioning. These mainly include social distancing – minimizing exposure to others who might be infected – which has proven to be the best defense against the spread of the virus. This has ostensibly led to the canceling of any social gathering with the goal of slowing down the virus and to avoid the overburdening of a healthcare system that doesn’t have the infrastructure to handle the amount of cases it will have on its hands.
The hope is that this will “flatten the curve”, a term used to describe limiting the rate of infection and reducing a huge surge at once that exceeds the capacity of the healthcare system. In this scenario – which is what’s happening in Italy – more deaths are likely because there simply isn’t enough resources to care for everyone at once.   
Slowing the rate of infection is critical to preventing a surge of outbreaks that can debilitate the healthcare system’s capacity to care for the sick. 

How We’re Operating As A Company In Response

Streaming as an alternative

Orange Photography has not been shielded from the multitude of conferences and events cancelling in the wake of the pandemic. As a result of the loss of demand and need for event coverage, we’re offering streaming services so organizations can still reach viewers and get their messages out, even if they won’t be able to hold face-to-face meetings with the audiences. With much of the world coming to a complete lockdown, a communications strategy is more important than ever. The uses for streaming can range everywhere from meetings and trainings, live product launches, to broadcasting seminars or presentations

Instead of completely shutting down an event or conference, which likely took a lot of time and resources to prepare, streaming is a very useful option for organizations to put out important information and gives a more human experience that people prefer seeing over plain text. We can even provide live streaming where you can present in real time and direct the live feed onto any social channels. It’s also very easy to set up, without distracting and cumbersome cables that can stretch across rooms, all it requires is a tripod or surface to stand on and a line of sight the highlighted activity. In today’s technologically advanced world where audiences want to consume media and information on demand when they want and where they want, streaming and live video is a way for businesses can expand their reach and the shelf life of their events

Companies like Deloitte Global, Lululemon, Nasdaq, and Nikon Inc. are already transitioning to live streaming. You can leverage the same technology for your needs as well and at a more moderate level. 


As a company, we are doing our due diligence in preventing the spread by protecting our employees and associates with a newsletter that has information about the best practices if they are working. It has definitely helped that we have been a virtual company and our employees have been working remotely since the summer of last year (2019). We do not limit sick days and urging employees to stay home if they are not feeling well. 
But the best way to ride out the virus is to follow the warnings of public health experts which encourage social distancing and constant hand-washing with soap. The more we eliminate ways the virus can be transmitted, the faster it can die out and things get back to normal. 

How is the Events Industry Responding?

Concern among health professionals

The pandemic no doubt has hit the events industry very hard. With all the cancellations, all planners and vendors will have a very hard time in the coming weeks until the situation gets under control. According to an MPI survey in mid-February, 34 percent of meetings professionals are extremely concerned about the effect coronavirus will have on the industry, while 56 percent are slightly concerned. Their main reasons for concern include attendee cancellations and lower attendance, travel disruptions, and speaker cancellations or difficulty in finding speakers. But the resulting effect is the huge financial loss from these factors.

Offices have emptied as employees are told to work from home.

Transitioning to virtual as an alternative to public events

In terms of how the industry is developing, many organizations are looking for alternatives instead of canceling their events altogether. Some have considered alternatives like virtual conferencing, webinars, and panel livestreams. Most notably, Google transitioned their largest annual conference, Google Cloud Next to Cloud Next: ’20: Digital Connect, to an online experience instead of canceling the whole event altogether. 
Streaming has become a popular alternative to in-person events.
But there are obvious challenges with this format as explained by Xiaoyin Qu, the cofounder of a virtual conference startup called Run the World, she says the problem with most virtual alternatives is the inability to meet other people, which is usually the main draw of these types of events. But some of these virtual platforms are looking to solve this road block with features like speed dating-style interactions to meet other attendees. 
Moving conferences online has its advantages: reducing travel costs, environmental pollution, and accessibility concerns, as well as moving the cost of in-person experiences to more valuable speakers, hyper-focused events, and lower admission prices. For many conferences, Qu says, “around 20 percent is spent on the venue, 20 percent on food and beverages, and almost 20 percent is on equipment.” Google’s online conference has itself stated: “Innovation is in Google’s DNA and we are leveraging this strength to bring you an immersive and inspiring event this year without the risk of travel,” . And plans to webcast their keynotes along with having digital “ask the expert” sessions with Google teams.
As debilitating as this pandemic is, there is a learning opportunity since planners can now look for ways to explore new platforms as an alternative to the typical event, possibly innovating with more immersive experiences.