As the world continues to battle on with SARS-CoV-2, large public events and especially trade shows were cancelled one after another for 2020. Large computing shows such as Computex, even after an attempted delay to September, eventually completely cancelled their plans for the year.

Today, the Computer Technology Association has announced that next year’s CES 2021 event will also no longer take place in physical form, and instead move to an all-digital format experience. CES is usually the world’s biggest consumer electronics show with up to 180,000 attendees assembling in early January in Las Vegas to showcase the newest gadgets and electronics in the consumer market.

The new all-digital format will be a big change for the show which likely will represent a herculean effort on the part of the organisers. CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro quotes:

"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." 

We here at AnandTech had low expectations of CES taking place, so the move to an online format makes a ton of sense given the health and safety concerns of such a large physical event. The current pandemic situation in the US and various travel restrictions as well as quarantine procedures will have played a large role in the CTA’s decision to cancel the physical event. The CTA states that they’re planning to returning to Las Vegas in 2022.

With CES confirmed to moving to an online-only event, as well as yesterday’s announcement of Supercomputing 2020 (SC20) also going online-only, the AnandTech team is likely to be staying at home until well into 2021 as there’s no physical events left to attend for the foreseeable future.

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  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - link

    Events like these have already been on the decline for a few years anyway so I wouldn't be surprised to see CES never return as an in-person event and I wouldn't be surprised if it does return for it to be significantly diminished in significance in such a way that it never recovers.
  • TristanSDX - Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - link

    nothing really lost. Just show for prototypes, where 90% of then never go to mass production

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