The Consumer Electronics Show announced today that their event planned for January 2021 will not take place as originally planned, but will instead be converted to a digital format. It feels like they held back this decision until they were absolutely sure it was the right choice, but at least it is early enough that the people who want to attend the event have not yet finalized their travel plans .
CES typically starts the year with product and technology announcements and showcases that set the tone for the rest of the year. Major industry players such as Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, Lenovo, Sony and others make announcements and demo technologies at the event.
We attended the Las Vegas Show last year and you can revisit all of our coverage here. It’s a shame we can’t go there in January, but it may be the best given the health risks currently associated with international travel.
In a statement, Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association said:
“Given the pandemic and growing global health problems related to the spread of COVID-19, it is simply not possible to safely bring tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas together in early January 2021 to meet and do business.” Technology helps us all work, learn and connect during the pandemic – and this innovation will also help us redefine CES 2021 and bring the tech community together in a meaningful way. By switching to a fully digital platform for 2021, we can offer a unique experience that helps our exhibitors connect with existing and new target groups. “
Given all the technology companies involved, they should be able to host an online streaming event with minimal technical issues.
Some launch plans may have been affected by the pandemic, but we would still expect most of the CES attendees to have news on the horizon, whether it be new laptops, new PC components, or other new technologies. We are sure that this will be interesting news from this digital event.
The remaining question is what will be the first major tech event to return to a regular physical event. Will the Mobile World Congress take place in February as usual? Will the game developer conference be back on the calendar? SXSW? Computex? E3? Only time will tell, but given the risks of mass gatherings of people, it will be a decision that puts a heavy strain on the minds of the respective organizers.
For the CES, it is said that it will be back in operation in 2022, as Shapiro says:
“We plan to return to CES 2022 in Las Vegas and combine the best elements of a physical and digital show.”
Let’s hope these plans work.