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For motoring enthusiasts, CoVid-19 is surely proving to be a real bummer. Auto shows around the world are getting canceled, like the Geneva International Motor Show and the New York International Auto Show that were supposed to be held last March and April, respectively. The NYIAS is rescheduled on April 2 to 12, 2021. November’s Los Angeles Auto Show, on the other hand, was earlier announced to be moved to May 21 to 31, 2021 instead.

Here in Manila, with the increasing popularity of—and need for—online events, one organizer has found a way to not only continue what has become the country’s biggest auto show, but to elevate the virtual scene literally into another dimension.

It’s all systems go for the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) to go virtual from Nov. 26 to 30. And if you think going all-out digital would vastly simplify things for the organizing team, well, you’ve got another thing coming.

The organizing team of MIAS (which includes veteran Worldbex Services International) just told this writer that the MIAS virtual event would be part of a “transitional platform while the whole nation is under some form of community quarantine, where holding live events is not yet possible.”

Appropriately named “MIAS Wired”, the virtual event hopes to recreate the scale and excitement of MIAS, the “like-I’m-really-there” vibe befitting what has become the country’s biggest show of its kind in terms of gate attendance, number and variety of cars on display, and number of exhibitors.

Alvin Uy, MIAS co-organizer, car enthusiast and motoring journalist for Inquirer, said “MIAS Wired” will be representing an edgy and connected virtual auto show with the country’s biggest automotive brands.

“The technology is an innovative platform that can allow virtual visitors to the event to walk through each brand’s showcase as if they are walking through the actual car displays. They can go around the car displays, ‘hover’ the entire showcase (similar to a dollhouse effect), go inside and check out the interiors of the car and click on virtual icons that provide information about the display by way of images and videos. This will be done using the latest 360-degree 3D scanning technology and equipment,” revealed Uy.

The actual venue where all the cars and items will be photographed—or scanned—wasn’t revealed. Uy, however, hints that “the space would depend on the number of vehicles each car brand intends to showcase.”

Virtual attendance to the 5-day event will be free of charge. The link will be announced early in November. For updates, log on to the MIAS official website manilaautoshow.com.

“Each virtual showcase will cover a physical space ranging from 150 to 450 sqm for three to 10 cars. This is the usual average space take-up of car brands in a live MIAS event,” said Uy.

“We hope to showcase all the brands who signed up for MIAS 2020. Most of them have signified their interest already. We’re in the process of discussing various creative treatments and options with them,” Uy disclosed.

As of press time, participating brands and exhibitors have not yet been revealed.

“Definitely, just like MIAS live events, we will have new model introductions. That is something to look forward to,” said Uy.

Aside from using cameras, the MIAS organizing team will also use IR (infrared) scanners, the extent of which would depend on the number of vehicles each auto manufacturer will field in and the complexity of execution.

Due to logistics restrictions, professional stunt driver Russ Swift’s daredevil shows—guaranteed crowd drawers in past MIAS editions—will not be possible. Past videos of Swift’s performances will be shown during the event, however, and even a virtual appearance by the legendary stunt driver himself could be in the offing. “We will try to arrange a virtual meet-and-greet with him and the media and his fans,” Uy said.

Uy explained that holding an online event of such a scale as that of MIAS presents both advantages and disadvantages compared to a physical auto show.

“The dynamics between the two are different. Both of them present different challenges with varying degrees of difficulty. Cost wise, holding a virtual event is more economical since it will involve less manpower during activation and preparation, but brands can be more creative in their booth set ups using current marketing assets they already have in their dealerships. And since everything is prepared and digitized prior to the event, there is time to correct, edit or improve the platform prior to launching. The platform also allows the event to be appreciated globally, since it is not bound by the physical aspects of the venue. This allows car brands to reach out to all its customers nationwide and obtain sales leads for its provincial dealers.”

“MIAS Wired” also puts to rest all speculation that the much-anticipated auto show would be canceled altogether this year after organizers announced on social media last March 9 that its April 2020 show would be rescheduled at a later date.

It looks like MIAS 2020 pressed the restart button just in the nick of time.

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