On with the show for OFC

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The Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC 2020) will go ahead as planned, amidst concerns over the Coronavirus.

The event will take place from 8-12 March in San Diego, and there had been some speculation as to whether it would suffer the same fate as MWC, which was cancelled in February after a number of key exhibitors withdrew their participation over Coronavirus concerns.

A statement attributed to OFC management was issued to Fibre Systems on 28 February. It said: ‘We are excited to confirm that OFC 2020 is still on and going strong. The conference will be held as planned 8 – 12 March in San Diego, California USA with a high-quality technical program and exhibition. OFC Management is fully committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all OFC attendees.’

Viavi confirmed its decision not to attend in a statement, which read: ‘Viavi has been closely monitoring developments on the global impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Due to ongoing health and safety concerns for our employees, customers, and partners, we have withdrawn from participation at this year’s OFC, March 10-12 in San Diego. We will be contacting customers and other stakeholders that we intended to meet at the show to arrange alternative means to showcase our expanding portfolio.’

Likewise, Pierre Marty, senior vice president, fibre and cable, North America, for OFS stated: ‘We value OFC as a venue for sharing our latest research and innovation each year. However, with the continued spread and growing concern of COVID-19 and the prioritisation of health and safety, not only in our manufacturing environment, but in the travel and exposure potentially impacting our employees, customers and stakeholders, we have decided to cancel our participation in OFC. We will work to share our intended demonstrations and research with customers and industry partners over the coming months in local forums.’

Tom Fallon, CEO at Infinera said of the company’s decision: ‘While we were looking forward to attending OFC 2020, and showcasing our latest innovations, our top priority is the health and safety of our employees, and our concern extends to the welfare and well-being of our customers, partners and others in our community. We appreciate the event organiser’s action plans to lessen the coronavirus risk, but our decision not to attend this year is in line with other precautionary measures we have implemented to reduce the threat of exposure to our employees and mitigate the impact on our ability to serve our customers.’

Such measures include an increased availability of hand sanitising stations, as well as increased cleaning and disinfection processes across any high-volume touchpoints such as catering areas, surfaces, handrails, bathrooms, entrances/exits and touch-screens. Onsite medical support will also be increased and there will be a ‘no-handshake’ policy in operation, which will be communicated by an awareness campaign via online and onsite information and signage

At the time of going to press, of the 700+ exhibitors, the number confirmed as withdrawing is in the teens. The statement from OFC management concluded: ‘We have heard from many exhibitors that they are committed to attend OFC and we thank them for their continued engagement. OFC management respects the decision of exhibitors who decided to cancel their participation and look forward to partnering with them in the future.’

The Fibre Systems team is looking forward to attending this year’s OFC. We have a number of meetings already set-up but if you’d like to meet up, we’d love to hear from you. Or you can catch up with us on booth 6115.

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