Huge CES show won’t be in-person in Vegas in January, just online

The annual CES event in Vegas will go online this January in order to prevent more COVID-19 cases. (CTA)

CES 2021 won’t go ahead with a physical presence in Las Vegas in January, the show producer announced on Tuesday.

Instead, like so many events, CES 2021 will be a global digital event, running from Jan. 6-9, 2021, said Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, the owner and producer of CES.

The most recent in-person CES event in Las Vegas finished up in January just as COVID-19 was getting global attention.  It attracted 170,000 attendees, 6,000 media and 4,000 exhibitors, likely the largest of its kind.  “Thousands of exhibitors have already signed up for and committed to CES 2021,” Shapiro said on a LinkedIn post.

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Canceling the physical presence and going all-digital “was the costliest option on the table,” he added.

“We were driven by one mandate—to do the right thing…We concluded it is simply not possible safely gather over 100,000 people indoors with a raging COVID-19 virus and not real hope for a tested and widely available vaccine by January,” Shapiro added. “The world does not need more COVID-19 cases…”

 Shapiro promised a “first-class experience” digitally for journalists, invesstors, retailers, entrepreneurs and innovators who have benefited from CES in the past.

“We will spread the gospel of 5G, artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles and new forms of mobility, digital and telehealth, resilience, robotics, drones, new forms of entertainment and smart TVs, “he said.

Some early comments on the LinkedIn post called the decision a tough one, but the right move. Others wanted to know what online platform will be used for the event.

After CES went ahead last January in Vegas, other big tech conferences went took their shows online or canceled due to COVID-19.  Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, slated for Feb. 24 to 27, and Embedded World, in Germany from Feb. 25-27, were among them.

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