CES 2021 Will be a Virtual Affair due to COVID-19

Published on July 28, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has been taking a major toll on the events industry in the United States since the virus made it to this hemisphere. A lot of annual events, such as Ultra Music Festival, decided to postpone their events to 2021 and honor ticket-holders that had purchased passes for the 2020 events. As 2021 approaches, we are faced with the very real possibility that things will not return to normal any time soon. A testament to that unfortunate fact comes in the form of an announcement that the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will now be virtual.

CES is one of the biggest trade shows in tech and truly lives up to its descriptor as the “global stage for innovation.” Every year, the industry premieres some truly novel concepts and keeps the hype machine going. In January, Impossible plant-based meats premiered their Impossible Pork and the 2015 event saw the rollout of drones to much fanfare.

Much like what Winter Music Conference is to the electronic music industry, CES is a can’t miss event that is indicative of the industry’s upcoming trends. Every January, CES brings 180,000+ attendees from around the world and all corners of the tech industry to Las Vegas for the innovative technology showcases and invaluable networking opportunities.

ces 2021 virtual
Photo via Pexels

What will CES 2021 Look Like?

Since the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)—the organizers of CES—have ample time to prepare, and because the pandemic does not look like it will let up in the United States any time soon, they have decided to be proactive and convert the trade show to an entirely digital affair.

In a press release, CTA explained that “an all-digital CES 2021 will allow the entire tech community to safely share ideas and introduce the products that will shape our future. You’ll be able to participate in all the awe-inspiring moments of CES wherever you are in the world. We are designing a unique experience for the tech industry.

“CES 2021 will offer a highly personalized experience:

  • Keynotes and conferences. Now you’ll have a front-row seat for groundbreaking announcements and insights from the world’s tech leaders completely online.
  • Product showcase. With this digital evolution of the CES show floor, you’ll be able to explore products and services, based on your interests and business, through dynamic product showcases or live demos.
  • Meetings and networking. You’ll be able to engage with the brands, thought leaders and business connections you care about with live interactions, meetups or roundtable discussions.”

The press release then goes on to offer a comforting and inspiring closing thought for those in the tech industry. “Technology has helped us all work, learn and connect during the coronavirus pandemic, and it has presented real solutions to help solve complex global challenges.

“We recognize that, particularly in these uncertain times, it is the partnerships of some of the most creative minds that bring the best solutions to life. We’re looking forward to welcoming the global tech industry, from international brands to budding startups, to kick off the year with the world’s most influential digital technology event.”

That sentiment not only emphasizing the importance of technology, but further emphasizes the importance of the show itself. What is particularly interesting about how the 2021 CES will play out, is how CTA will take aspects of the digital event and incorporate it into their traditional annual trade show as they “plan to return to Las Vegas for CES 2022, combining the best elements of a physical and digital show.”

Head over to the CES website to learn more about the 2021 event and to find out how to attend!

Justin Shamlou is a Senior Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Miami, he covers international news, consumer brands, tech, art/entertainment, and events. Justin started his career covering the electronic music industry, working as the Miami correspondent for Magnetic Mag and US Editor for Data Transmission.

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