Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, pretty much every in-person event over the last few months has been canceled. Google scrapped its I/O 2020 developer conference completely, and while Microsoft Build went all-digital, the Redmond firm is actually making all of its events digital until July 2021. The only holdout still is IFA, which is still planning an in-person event this year.
However, the Consumer Technology Association says that we're still on for CES 2021, and it will still be an in-person event in Las Vegas. It claims that there will be some changes to make for a safer space:
- Regularly clean and sanitize spaces across the show venues and provide sanitization stations throughout;
- Better enable social distancing, including widening aisles in many exhibit areas and providing more space between seats in conference programs and other areas where attendees congregate;
- Issue best practices for attendees, such as wearing masks and avoiding shaking hands, and for exhibitors on product demonstrations;
- Limit touch points throughout the facilities including through cashless systems for purchases and transactions;
- Evaluate solutions for contactless thermal scans at key venue entry points;
- Provide enhanced on-site access to health service and medical aid.
CES can be known as a hot spot for transmitting infectious diseases. Just about everyone that's been to the event has heard of the 'CES Flu'. After all, when you get a hundred thousand people together from around the world, and everyone shakes hands with each other, some people are bound to get sick. The international nature of CES is worth noting too, because even if COVID-19 is under control in most countries, people might be visiting from a country where it's not under control.
Of course, there are still a lot of question marks. Just about every consumer technology company usually shows up at CES to promote their wares, and the event actually happening still relies on whether companies get on-board. Presumably, the CTA has at least spoken with some of the bigger ones.