Last month, the Consumer Technology Association made a surprising announcement, that CES 2021 would be held as an in-person event. After that, it sent out surveys to potential attendees, asking about various circumstances under which they would actually attend, and it would seem that the results were not promising. Today, the CTA announced that CES 2021 will go on, but only as an all-digital event.
Obviously, it doesn't make sense to bring over a hundred thousand people and put them under one roof (well, it's CES, so it's closer to a dozen roofs, but the point remains). Even if the COVID-19 pandemic is sorted out locally by the time January rolls around, attendees would be coming in from around the world.
"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, CTA. “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 CTA is promising a "new immersive experience", which is right along the lines of what everyone else is offering with their virtual events. It would seem that IFA 2020 will be the test case for in-person events, as that's still happening next month in Berlin.