The Consumer Technology Association Tuesday announced that the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2021 will take place as an all-digital experience rather than be held in Las Vegas.
Analysts say this development means that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry will continue into the early parts of 2021, according to reports on tvtechnology.
“It certainly wasn’t due to a lack of interest or success in our annual physical event in Las Vegas. CES 2020 attracted over 170,000 attendees, 6000 media and 4000 exhibitors. Thousands of exhibitors have already signed up for and committed to CES 2021.
“It wasn’t to make money. Cancelling the physical presence, investing in an all-digital presence for 2021 and creating a fair refund policy were the costliest option on the table,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA.
“Amid the pandemic and growing global health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it’s just not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person,” Shapiro further said.
“Technology helps us all work, learn and connect during the pandemic—and that innovation will also help us reimagine CES 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.”
CTA bills the new format as an immersive experience that will allow attendees to discover the latest technology, bringing the global event to people’s homes and offices.
“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, 8K Ultra HD screens and smart TVs to the curious, entrepreneurs, investors, business and media who can access the best of CES from their homes and offices.
“Our CES 2021 attendees will hear and see the future. They will also learn first-hand from global policy leaders about big policy issues involving privacy, competition and the regulation of new technologies and media platforms, Shapiro added.
There was some initial hope that CES 2021 would be able to conduct its usual in-person gathering in Las Vegas.
“CES 2021 will be different. It will be all-digital. It is the right way to focus on the cause of innovation in this unique moment in our shared global history,” Shapiro assured.
CTA says that it plans to return to Las Vegas for CES 2022, where it will combine the best elements of a physical and digital show.
Shapiro offered more detail on the decision to take CES 2021 virtual in a LinkedIn post.
CES 2021 will take place from Jan. 6-9, 2021.