The start to every new year brings about one of the largest technology trade shows in the world, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, thousands of people won’t descend upon Las Vegas to crowd the hotels along the Strip or the Las Vegas Convention Center.
To be perfectly honest, no one is sure what to expect from the first online-only iteration of the event – and that’s perfectly okay. In late July, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) confirmed CES 2021 would be an all-digital event, citing the difficulties in trying to safely bring people from around the world to Nevada for the event.
I remember a certain level of resistance from some critics, attempting to argue it was too early to cancel the event. Fast forward a few months, and we clearly see organizers made the right call by making it a virtual event so early.
As noted by Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA, in a press statement from earlier this year:
“Technology helps us all work, learn and connect during the pandemic – and that innovation will also help us reimagine 2021 and bring together the tech community in a meaningful way. By shifting to an all-digital platform for 2021, we can deliver a unique experience that helps our exhibitors connect with existing and new audiences.”
I’ve attended CES twice in the past, more than 10 years ago, and it was just chaotic fun. It didn’t matter what you had scheduled, or when, but it always seemed like everyone was running late. The press events yielded the opportunity to play with shiny tech, and the industry press parties each night were absolute fun.
Of course, without being required to run around from multiple hotels, to and from the convention center, and all over Las Vegas, there is the chance to absorb more of the news cycle from CES. Even so, I believe there will be plenty of people – despite the complaints of sore feet and tired bodies – who will miss the chance to attend the event in-person.
CES 2021 runs from January 11 to January 14, 2021.