Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World has witnessed a recession that it had not seen before, not even during the times of the Great Depression. It caused a stock market crash, a major liquidity crisis and many more. It is also notable that international flights are mostly down since. Given these circumstances, one would think that professional conferences are all impossible to organize, thus they are all canceled. Well, not exactly.
During the spring of 2020 - the first major wave of the virus in Europe - many countries ordered a lockdown and other tightening measures. It was very unprecedented and it hit many organizations unexpectedly. All major events such as conferences were either canceled or postponed; only to discover the various ways that can help organizing such events. Nowadays, since the beginning of fall, we have been going from conference to conference, and we have to say, resolving the problems given by the pandemic revolutionized the concept of online events, as all such events were high quality and ran very smoothly.
Those we have attended included Certficate Auhority-related events, namely the ENISA Trust Services Forum and CA Day, also the co-organized European Digital Identity Roundtable of the European Signature Dialog and D-Trust. These conferences and workshops concerned matters such as the application of the eIDAS regulation, identity proofing, the digital independency of the European Union and many more. We have heard many exciting presentations from and had many interesting discussions with some of the industry’s most active and important actors. An other notable event regarding trust services was the Polish EFPE 2020, which was held in a hybrid form, half-remotely; other than being one of Europe’s biggest electronic signature-related conferences, it was important to us because our colleague, Gábor Monori there gave a presentation about the successful sales partnership and coordination of Microsec and Asseco Data Systems regarding PSD2-specific certificates.
Our V2X (Vehicle-to-everything) communications team had no rest these days either, there were plenty of events concerning that industry as well. Those included the quarterly 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) Week, where the membership (that consists of 136 members) discussed the future of the automotive industry as we know it, and the related measures regarding infrastructure, manufacture, communication etc. Another major conference was the yearly CAR 2 CAR Communications Consortium (C2C-CC) Forum. There, our experts talked over standards about the C-ITS Trust model architecture and the trusted list of the European V2X hierarchy.
Although this remote form is way better than having no events at all, a very crucial aspect of conferences that the online attendance lacks is the possibility of networking. Sadly, this way of communication still gives no chance to such discussions (however, we have seen promising solutions e.g. the one of the online BSidesBUD2020, where a Discord server was set up, where the participants could talk informally). So there is no doubt, that once the world is over the whole COVID-19 situation, we will excitedly attend these events in person again.
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