Coronavirus has impacted the events industry this year with many of them not being able to go ahead physically due to safety fees of attendees. However, CES is the first trade show to move their 2021 event to 100% digital officially.
CES, one of the tech world’s biggest gatherings, which is held in Las Vegas in January bringing together the most significant technology firms to launch products, engage with global brands and define the future of the tech industry.
But with growing concerns about how long the coronavirus pandemic will last, organisers have said 2021 will be “an all-digital experience”.
It said it was “not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people”.
In a statement, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which organises CES, said it was “reimagining how to connect exhibitors, customers, thought leaders and media from around the world while prioritising health and safety”.
Shift to virtual events
It joins a list of other high-profile technology conferences in going virtual – including Web Summit in November and both this years and the 2021 TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference.
The organisers of Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona in February, are currently still hoping for an in-person event.
Many tradeshows have seen the benefits of online conferences as they are both greener and cheaper, but delegates often complain that they miss out on making connections with others.
CTA said that, alongside traditional keynote talks and conferences, it would enable meetings and networking in a “highly personalised experience”.
Mobile analyst Ben Wood, who has attended nine CES conferences, said that it was little surprise that organisers had opted for a virtual format.
“The insurmountable logistical challenges of delivering an in-person event were clear given the global pandemic.
“The decision to hold CES 2021 as a digital-only event will send shockwaves through the events world. When one of the largest consumer electronics shows in the world says it is not viable to have a physical event, it sends a strong signal that these types of events will be near-impossible to hold in coming months.”
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