Because of Corona: CES technology fair shortened by one day | Life & Knowledge

It should feel a bit like it did before the pandemic …

The makers of the technology fair CES (from 5.1.) Wanted to set an example for the return of major industry events in the first week of January 2022. But on the home stretch, the omicron variant of the coronavirus thwarted their plans.

The tech show in Las Vegas is still taking place – but many heavyweights stay away from the exhibition halls of the desert city. After the cancellation of various large exhibitors, the event was even shortened by one day. It will now close after three days on Friday (January 7th). The organizer, the US consumer technology association (CTA), described the step as an additional corona protective measure.

Around Christmas, one big name after the other had canceled its participation in the CES: Intel, Google, Amazon, the world’s largest PC manufacturer Lenovo and the hi-fi giant Harman referred to corona risks for their employees.

The strong presence of the auto industry – the pride of CES boss Gary Shapiro – also melted away. The US auto giant General Motors wanted to introduce a new model in Las Vegas with a performance by CEO Mary Barra – canceled. The risk was also too great for BMW and Mercedes, the robot car company Waymo and the automotive supplier Continental.

Despite the cancellation of these heavyweights, more than 2200 exhibitors are still represented on site, assures the CTA as the CES organizer. And in the past two weeks, 143 new companies have joined the company despite Omikron.

CES 2021 was a purely online event, this time there will be a mix of presentations in Las Vegas and internet broadcasts. The German electronics company Bosch, for example, is holding a digital press conference on Tuesday – shortly afterwards, the chip specialist Qualcomm wants to present its new products as usual in the ballroom of a Las Vegas hotel.

The CTA and its boss Gary Shapiro long hoped to be on the safe side by stipulating that all participants must be fully vaccinated. A new concept was designed for the halls with wider aisles and one-way traffic for visitors.

Crowds without a mask – there will be no pictures like this from 2020 from CES these days


Now there will be even more freedom due to the cancellations. Shapiro could see something good in that, too. There is now “plenty of space for the participants to keep their distance,” he wrote in one comment for the “Las Vegas Review-Journal”.

Despite the Omikron setback, the CES organizers are convinced that big events that bring many industry players and journalists together have a future. The online version was an appropriate response to the corona situation a year ago, Shapiro told the German press agency. “But what was missing was the interpersonal contact.” One could not hope for surprising inspirations online like when walking through the exhibition halls.

Shapiro therefore assumes that there will continue to be a need for trade fairs. A good 171,000 visitors from all over the world came to CES 2020, shortly before the start of the pandemic. For this year Shapiro dared not predict, but was defiant. “The CES will and must go on,” he wrote in the “Las Vegas Review-Journal” after the cancellations.



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