Let's Get Digital: Consumer Electronics Show Withdraws From the Real World for 2021

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Via a Google search, an old press release floated up from January of 2019 that, in hindsight, foreshadows current events. You see, because of the shutdown, organizers of last year’s Consumer Electronics Show warned attendees that they might see some changes to programming.

That shutdown was the byproduct of typical partisan wrangling. Fast-forward to 2020 and all programming, everywhere, is impacted by an altogether different shutdown, one which stands to turn next year’s CES tech extravaganza into an online-only affair.

CES announced Tuesday that the upcoming trade show will move to an “all-digital experience” come January, with the virus-defeating move serving, hopefully, as a single-year change.

“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,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association.

“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.”

The organizers ended on a hopeful note, stating, “We plan to return to Las Vegas for CES 2022, combining the best elements of a physical and digital show.”

Growing in importance year over year, CES kick-starts the year’s trade show circuit, allowing automakers and suppliers to show off their latest advancements in electric propulsion, safety nannies, and autonomous driving tech. Attendance at the show is now viewed, at least by some, as more important than traditional auto show appearances — especially if you haven’t yet brought a product to market.

The move to an all-digital experience for CES comes as the L.A. Auto Show still maintains a late-November 2020 event date. That’s a show destined for cancellation.

[Image: Nissan]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Eggsalad Eggsalad on Jul 28, 2020

    CES, along with every other convention held in Las Vegas, is how I make my living. Apparently at age 56, it's time for me to learn a new trade.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Jul 28, 2020

    I would love to comment on this article, but the power to my home is out at the moment...

  • Lynchenstein @EBFlex - All ICEs are zero-emission until you start them up. Except my mom's old 95 Accord, that used to emit oil onto the ground quite a lot.
  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.
  • El scotto So now would be a good time to buy an EV as a commuter car?
  • ToolGuy $1 billion / 333.3 million = $3 per U.S. person ¶ And what do I get for my 3 bucks -- cleaner air and lower fuel prices? I might be ok with this 🙂🙂