CES 2021: Expanding Digital Reach, Limiting Physical Contact

This much is (sorta) for sure: the Consumer Technology Association’s annual CES confab is slated for early January in Las Vegas as it has been for decades. In 2020 more than 175,000 industry professionals, including more than 61,000 from outside the U.S., convened in Vegas to drive the ever-evolving global technology industry forward. The 2021 show is slated for Jan. 6-9.

But in the COVID-19 era, experiencing overhyped CE products like a sardine in a can could be a recipe for disaster. With CE tech enabling millions of people to work and be entertained in the home, so too can learning about the newest QLED 8K television.

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“We will showcase our exhibitors’ products, technology breakthroughs and ideas to the world, both physically in Las Vegas and digitally,” CTA said in a statement. “You can expect to see a wider selection of livestreamed CES content, along with many other engaging digital and virtual opportunities, enabling you to connect with the world’s leading technology innovators, thought leaders and policymakers.”

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How much of that connection will be done in person remains to be seen. While business as usual is a priority for CTA and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, both trade groups have implemented new policies to safeguard attendees and workers from the threat of the coronavirus.

Cleanliness and sanitization will be first and foremost a priority across the show venues to 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. Attendees and exhibitors will be encouraged to wear masks and avoid shaking hands.

CTA said it plans to limit touch points throughout the facilities, including through cashless systems for purchases and transactions. It is also considering employing contactless thermal scans at key venue entry points, in addition to providing enhanced on-site access to health service and medical aid.

“We will highlight technologies … for some of the day-to-day challenges created by the pandemic,” CTA said. “We believe events such as CES that bring thought leaders and innovators together to solve these challenges will be more important than ever.”

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