Epistemix, a computational modeling software company that develops simulations to fight disease and inform policy, and the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA), a coalition that represents the common interests of the U.S. exhibitions and conferences industry, today announced a partnership to provide expert guidance on how to reopen events amid Covid-19 concerns. The partnership will provide the data leaders and event coordinators need to determine what size events are safe to host, and when event capacities can safely increase in locations across the country.
The $396 billion U.S. business events industry, including meetings and business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) exhibitions, has been drastically impacted by the pandemic. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) reported that the B2B exhibition portion of the industry shrunk by 80% in 2020 due to the pandemic. Major events take months of preparation to organize and execute, and Epistemix will help make safe reopening possible.
“Small and mid-size businesses rely on trade shows to drive their business by launching new products, generating leads, and entering new geographies,” said Hervé Sedky, Chairman of ECA. “That makes the exhibitions industry such a foundational element of how business gets done. It has a tremendous overall economic impact on the local, state, federal levels. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) estimates that events contributed $101 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2019. Our industry has what can be called a multiplier effect on businesses, in that the impact of these events stimulate economies across the U.S., through sales that occur beyond the walls of convention centers.”
“Our team has spent decades building epidemiological models to combat smallpox, measles, HIV, SARS, MERS, the opioid crisis, and other epidemics,” said Dr. Don Burke, President of Epistemix. “The mathematical and scientific data we’re utilizing to custom-build these models will support leaders in making the best decisions possible as they plan for conventions to help invigorate the trade show industry while preventing the spread of the virus.”
As public health officials begin to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, the world is seeking a path toward social and economic recovery. Attendance-based industries like sports, entertainment, and trade-shows have been hit especially hard by the ongoing pandemic, particularly those in Nevada, New York and California.
While current COVID-19 statistics offer useful context, they often fail to provide enough specificity to inform real-time decisions and policy interventions. Epistemix’s software simulates the public-health impacts of high-stakes decisions by incorporating a “digital twin” of every person in a population, and matching the age, gender, race, and other demographic information of each individual in a specific geography. It then uses this synthetic population to model how to safely host a conference, trade show, or other large event during COVID-19. ECA’s adoption of this platform will allow the group to develop science-based plans for future events and safely bring large-scale gatherings back in the U.S.