The current situation in the world has completely changed normal life as we know it. Activities once considered harmless and run-of-the-mill are now restricted, while most of the world has adapted to staying indoors and only stepping out when needed. Face masks and hand sanitizers have become some of the most commonly-seen items, as well as extremely essential, and there is no guarantee that we will be able to resume ‘normal’ life any time soon. It is thus no wonder that we have had to change how work is being done, and this is taking place at all levels, from individuals doing their work from home, to large companies and events going online as well. One of the most famous and influential tech gatherings has also not been immune to this, and this year’s edition will be seen in a new format.
CES is one of the biggest technology shows in the world, and its annual event is the place where a number of tech giants announce their latest products and innovations. We have seen the likes of LG, Samsung and other companies launch televisions and refrigerators at past CES events, while Apple and Google use CES to provide further details on their products which they launch at their own flagship events. Thus, CES is a very important part of the calendar for the tech sector, and its popularity can be seen from the fact that the 2020 edition drew over 170,000 visitors. However, the ongoing global pandemic has meant that CES 2021 will have to be conducted in a different manner.
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) recently made the announcement that CES 2021 will be a digital event due to the spread of the coronavirus. This is not expected to have a huge impact on the companies which present at the event, since they will be able to launch their products online during the show instead. However, it will have a significant impact on the Las Vegas economy. As mentioned above, CES attracts almost 200,000 visitors to the city, who then contribute to the Vegas economy by staying in hotels, eating at restaurants and gambling in casinos. Casinos and gambling venues are going to be especially hit hard, as they have already been suffering due to the ongoing lockdown orders. With more and more people going onto the internet to play online casino games, it is necessary that land-based casinos do the same to be able to hold on to their clientele, since they risk being run out of business otherwise. This is even more important when considering the fact that hundreds of thousands of casino workers have been laid off or furloughed over the last few months as casinos struggle to stay afloat in the current climate.
The CTA has said that it plans to return to an in-person show next year, but the 2021 edition will have to be online to guarantee the safety of all attendees. Given the number of people who attend CES every year, along with the rising case count in Nevada and Las Vegas specifically, it would have been extremely irresponsible to attempt to conduct the event as normal this year. Indeed, we have seen several high-profile events getting cancelled and moving online this year, none more so than the respective Democratic and Republican conventions ahead of this year’s presidential elections. Both events will be much smaller in scale, and a lot of the events as part of the convention will be conducted remotely, underlining the scale of the pandemic in the United States, if not globally.