The Consumer Electronics Show goes digital in 2021
The start of next year is already starting to look very different, as the Consumer Electronics Show leaves Las Vegas for an all-digital format next year.
The Consumer Technology Association—CES’ organizers —cited growing global health concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19 as the reasoning behind their move.
Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA, said it just isn't possible to safely convene tens-of-thousands of people in Las Vegas to meet and do business in person.
“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," says Shapiro. "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."
The marquee event, which historically kicks off during the first week of January, is the first industry tentpole to move online for the 2021 calendar year. Today’s news now puts into question whether other industry stalwarts such as SXSW, Mobile World Congress, Shoptalk, Dreamforce and Cannes will be forced to also adopt an online-only format next year. Developer conferences, such as Facebook F8, Google I/O and Apple WWDC could also follow the CTA's lead.
Last year, CES drew more than 170,000 attendees and 4,500 exhibiting companies ranging from Ford to Samsung. CES is widely regarded as one of the industry’s biggest networking events, drawing scores of marketing and agency executives from around the world. The sprawling event overtakes nearly all facets of Sin City, where brands and vendors compete for attention on how they attempt to solve the future needs of consumers.
CES is known for glitzy parties that include performances by artists ranging from Lil’ Wayne to Joe Perry (lead guitarist for Aerosmith). Experiences such as over-the-top displays, such as LG and its hundreds of large, flexible 8K OLED screens that wrap and curve over undulating surfaces on the showroom floor, will now have to somehow be digitally recreated.
The CTA said next year’s CES “will be “a new immersive experience, where attendees will have a front-row seat to discover the latest technology,” the CTA says. “This highly personalized experience will bring a global event to the comfort and safety of your home or office.”