The Consumer Electronics Show is one of the largest tech events in the world, but it will not go on as normal in January 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, the Consumer Technology Association announced that the event will instead move into a virtual space, as it is currently impossible to bring the attendees together without spreading the infectious disease.
Statement from CES organizers
“Amid the pandemic and growing global health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it’s just not possible to safety convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person,” CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro said. Typically, the event takes place in Las Vegas every year to exhibit the latest and greatest in the tech world, from consumer devices to mobility trends and, more frequently, futuristic vehicle designs centered around AI and autonomous driving.
This time around, attendees will have the opportunity to see exhibitor presentations in their own home or office, to promote social distancing and public safety. As of July 28, Nevada has nearly 45,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 759 deaths. Clark County, in which Las Vegas is located, accounts for 86 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the state. As it stands, the positivity rate there is 1,662 cases per 100,000 people. On Tuesday alone, the state added 1,105 new cases and 20 additional deaths.
For those who were looking forward to CES, the event’s very nature does cater well to our new social distancing reality, as Shapiro points out. “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.” For the 2020 show, Mercedes-Benz, Ford and Jeep all brought vehicles to CES, showing where automakers are thinking in the years ahead.
CES organizers are planning to host a physical event in January 2022.