As the world continues to reel from the impact of the pandemic, the shows, as they say, must go on. Many in-person events have transitioned to an entirely virtual model or to a hybrid in-person/online event. 

As work from home and virtual meetings have become more normal (or at least “less odd”), event managers have begun to deliver online experiences different from the early days of Zoom calls with a bunch of slides and a person talking. While happy hours and networking is different, many events are doing their best to bring the in-person benefits of an event -- the hallway meetings, chance encounters, and even bar chats -- to the virtual world. We’ve combed the Web and whittled down the list to some of the most interesting virtual (and hybrid) events to look forward to in 2021. Even if we can’t travel, there’s no reason not to continue learning and meeting new friends.

1) BTOES RPA & Intelligent Automation Live - A Virtual Conference

Date: January 12-14, 2021

Virtual Only

Cost: Free

Join executives and industry leaders from the robotic process automation (RPA) and intelligent automation (IA) industries and discover answers to the RPA challenges of today and tomorrow. This 3 day event includes advice for building pilot projects, the intersection of cloud computing and data analytics applications, and much more. 

2) CES 2021

Date: January 12-14, 2021

Virtual Only

Cost: TBD

The Consumer Electronics Show is one of the most influential technology events in the world. This year, it will be entirely virtual -- with two days of exhibitor showcases on January 12-13 and all three days of conference programming.  Conference topics will include Internet-of-Things, AI, blockchain, and much more. 

As of this posting date, registration isn’t yet open, but you can sign up here to be notified when it does. You can also watch the recorded conference sessions and keynotes from CES 2020 for free, click here.

3) OPEX WEEK: Business Transformation Summit 2021

Date: January 25 -29 2021; July 19-23 2021

Hybrid Event (January Virtual, July in Orlando)

Cost: Free for virtual.

OPEX Week is reacting to the pandemic with a global approach for its virtual event. There will be three virtual events - North America, Europe, and APAC - anyone will have access to transformation strategies, insights, and case studies, regardless of time zone. Speakers will cover topics like process transformation, holistic transformation, digital and cultural transformation, and on innovation and business agility.  

4) Deep Learning 2.0 Virtual Summit

Date: January 28-29, 2021

Virtual Only

Cost: Virtual pass $99. An additional network pass is free, but only limited quantities are available. Register here

This even takes a deep dive into the technology and applications of artificial intelligence as well as into the ethical dimensions of these tools. The summit is divided into five stages: Deep Learning Landscape, Reinforcement Learning, Ethics & Social Responsibility, Generative Models, and Enterprise AI.

5) Microsoft Ignite

Date: Early 2021

Virtual Only

Cost: TBD (click here for previous Ignite information).

Microsoft has decided to add a second virtual Ignite event after its successful September Ignite virtual event. This virtual event will serve as a connection opportunity for Microsoft’s various technical communities and news about product development will be shared. This second Ignite is not intended to replace the Microsoft Build event, which is also still in the planning stage.

6) ODSC East

Date: March 30-April 1

Virtual Only

Cost: Access to the virtual exposition hall is free. Registration ranges from $499 (2-day live stream only pass) to $1,499 (four days and on-demand access). Register here

Originally scheduled to be held in Boston, ODSC East is now virtual in the interest of safety and health. It is one of the largest data science conferences in the world with 55 training sessions, 75 workshops, 280 speakers, and 400 hours of content. Focus areas of the event include machine learning, predictive analytics, data wrangling, data science at scale, data science management, and natural language processing. 

7) Internet of Things World

April 26-27, 2021

Hybrid Event (Virtual/Santa Clara, CA)

Cost: TBD 

A comprehensive event focused on IoT, the 2020 conference tracks focused on industrial IoT, 5G and IoT connectivity, edge computing and AI, and developing IoT. 2020 speakers included Manohar Paluri, Director, Facebook AI; Jeremy Balkin, Head of Innovation, HSBC; and Ashwani Dev, Digital and Data Science Office, Haliburton.

8) Red Hat Summit 2021 - An Event in 3 Parts 

Date: April 27-28/June 15-16/September 2021

Hybrid Event (April/JuneVirtual, September Location TBD)

Cost: Registration for 2021 is not open as of yet. Click here for more information

Building on the success of the virtual 2020 event, next year’s event will be a hybrid -- the first two dates are virtual and the fall event will be an in-person. April will focus on news and announcements from customers, partners, and Red Hat keynote speakers, as well as Q&A sessions with Red Hat experts.

In June, it’s time to get technical as breakout sessions are designed for deep dives into products and topics such as cloud-native application development, Kubernetes, hybrid cloud, and more. 

In Autumn,at the in-person event. you’ll be able to network and get your hands on the technology in labs, demos, and training. 

If you missed the 2020 Red Hat Summit, you can register for on-demand access here. 

9) Ai4 2021 - Exploring Artificial Intelligence Across Industry

Date: August 17-19, 2021

Virtual Only

Cost: The event is free, but you have to qualify to attend. Click here to apply.

This event brings together leaders in business and data practitioners to facilitate the adoption of AI and machine learning technology. The goal is to bring AI from the realm of the technical to the practical, providing actionable insights for anyone bringing artificial intelligence into their business. Previous speakers are from Johns Hopkins Healthcare, UPS, T-Mobile, Wells Fargo, and Merrill Lynch.

10) Applied AI Summit

March 25-26, 2021

Hybrid Event (Virtual/Boston, MA)

Cost: Register here for updates.

This will be a hybrid event in 2021, offering networking and connection opportunities for those who can’t attend in person. The focus of the event will be on deep-dive sessions for in-depth discussions, practical workshops, and technical labs. Topics include machine learning, deep learning, business case studies and applications, vision, and more

Remember, Things Can Change

If 2020 is any indication, the times, dates, and locations for these 2021 events could prove to be just as changeable. Be sure to check back often for updates and new events--including's very own webinars and mini-conferences.

To see playback videos from last spring's virtual conference, the Xforce Data Summit, visit