Postive Covid-19 Case at UKG Software Conference Highlights Hurdles for Tech
(Bloomberg) -- A positive Covid-19 case at technology vendor Ultimate Kronos Group’s user conference highlights the growing challenge businesses face in seeking to bring back in-person events amid the ongoing pandemic.
The workforce and HR software provider required all employees at the UKG Connections conference in Las Vegas this week to be fully vaccinated, the company said Thursday in a statement. Unvaccinated customers that attended had to submit a negative test. Vaccinated attendees were not required to be tested ahead of time, but UKG offered optional rapid tests upon arrival for the event, which ran from Monday through Thursday.
“Upon learning of the positive Covid-19 case, we immediately notified all close contacts, alerted all attendees to the positive result and made rapid tests available, and reinforced all health and safety guidelines as dictated by the CDC and the city of Las Vegas,” said an UKG spokesperson.
Conferences are an important strategic lever for software companies. The events let vendors give a detailed outline of their product road maps, which helps users, investors, analysts and others better understand the trajectory of the business. The gatherings also aid in attracting new customers or expanding sales with current clients because it can be difficult to fully demonstrate product capabilities over video conferencing.
Some of the earliest online tech events in the pandemic also had notable hiccups. Last year, for example, SAP SE Chief Executive Officer Christian Klein encountered technical issues that affected his keynote address at the vendor’s annual Sapphire event. Adobe Inc. also faced technical challenges for its 2020 virtual Summit conference when executives were forced to record sessions in their homes.
While some of those problems have become easier to navigate as the pandemic has dragged on, companies are eager to return to in-person events. The annual CES conference hosted by the Consumer Technology Association, for example, is slated to be in-person in Las Vegas in January. And Salesforce.com Inc. had a limited number of in-person attendees at its signature Dreamforce event in September. Earlier this month, the company also ran a smaller Dreamforce event in New York City.
Others, however, continue to hedge against holding conferences in the real world. JPMorgan Chase & Co., for example, pivoted on Wednesday to make its annual health care conference in San Francisco all-virtual after companies including Moderna Inc. and Amgen Inc. decided not to attend amid a surge in Covid-19 cases as a result of the omicron variant.
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