AirWorks 2020, DJI’s annual commercial drone gathering, was set to take place this August in Los Angeles.
But as the spread of coronavirus has upended not just drone conferences, but the entire conference industry, DJI’s taking AirWorks 2020 entirely digital.
The massive Chinese dronemaker announced that DJI AirWorks 2020 will be 100% digital this year.
Online conference events will run from Aug. 25-28, 2020, and will include live chat and Q&A for each breakout, a chat room for discussions and networking, and opportunities to win prizes through QR codes. All speakers have the ability, at their discretion, to incorporate Q&A into their sessions.
And good news if you were busy that day and weren’t able to make the in-person conference; your ticket grants you access to view recordings of all the live sessions for up to a year after the event.
And DJI’s AirWorks 2020 is especially notable for people who grapple with whether or not to attend conferences because of the high costs incurred.
AirWorks 2020 was set to cost $749 per attendee (and that doesn’t include costs for attendees like airfare or hotels). That can be prohibitively expensive for small business owners.
The industry is largely cheering DJI’s pivot to online because the online version will cost as little as $35 — and no more than $99.
The $35 tickets can be scooped up as part of a one-day flash sale on June 8. Early bird tickets will then cost $49 when purchased between June 9 and July 8. After that, ticket will cost $99.
That’s a sharp contrast with the Federal Aviation Administration’s annual UAS symposium, which also moved to an entirely virtual conference format. The difference? Their four days of webinars will cost $375.
Drone Girl readers called the $375 fee “ludicrous.” Another commenter said the “ridiculously exorbitant cost” makes “attendance attainable only for the elitist and wealthiest.”
While online conferences still come with their own set of expenses (ie. video chat software, speaker fees, marketing costs, etc.) a study by virtual events platform VFairs showed that online events tend to cost 1/3 of what in-person events cost.
DJI said that people who had already bought tickets for the in-person event are eligible for either a full refund, or have the option to request an online ticket and receive a refund for the difference.