The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place just before the outbreak of the corona virus in early 2020, but that won't be the case in 2021. Today the show's organizer, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), announced that CES 2021 in Las Vegas is canceled. The show becomes a purely online event.
CES 2021 should take place in early January, but given the terrible pandemic in the U.S., the CTA does not believe the country will be ready to host international events by next year. Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of CTA, emailed the now familiar COVID cancellation language. "Amid the pandemic and growing global health problems related to the spread of COVID-19," Shapiro wrote, "it is simply not possible to safely bring tens of thousands of people together in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business."
Shapiro said that the CES 2021 "switched to a fully digital platform for 2021" and "offers a unique experience that helps our exhibitors connect with existing and new target groups". On its website, the CTA claims that it will offer a rough online equivalent to the three main pillars of the CES: "Keynotes and Conferences", "Product Showcases" and "Meetings and Networking".
CES started in 1967, before the Internet communications revolution, and today regularly attracts more than 150,000 visitors from around the world. As a source of technical news, the CES has been declining in recent years. Many major providers have realized that they can only hold their own events and share the limelight with no one. While big planned announcements can be handled easily over the Internet, the hundreds of business deals that take place between thousands of participating companies at CES will be much more difficult to digitally replace. A single CES venue can have a series of stands from hundreds of smaller, unknown companies crouching their goods and hoping to make an important deal with a larger company. Replicating that online would be difficult.
In 2020, the pandemic canceled almost every major personal event and trade fair and often replaced it with an online equivalent. The Mobile World Congress, Google I / O, the WWDC, the Geneva Motor Show, E3, F8, PAX East, the game developer conference and many other conventions have been closed for security reasons.
CTA promises to return to Las Vegas in 2022 and states that CES will combine "the best elements of a physical and digital show".