CES 2024 Opens in Las Vegas With Traditional ‘Wow’ Factor and AI Everything

LAS VEGAS — CES 2024 officially opened Jan. 9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and early indications are that the show is back to its pre-pandemic size and scope.

The concourse was packed an hour before the show floor opened at 10 a.m., and walking through Central Hall that morning was a lot like moving through Times Square on a Friday night — except there was even more neon and flash.

Big consumer electronics mainstays such as Sony, Panasonic and Samsung battled it out with relative newcomers such as Hisense and TCL for the vaunted show floor “wow” factor, with the former touting its AI-enabled line of massive television sets and the latter capitalizing on its NFL partnership by bringing in such football legends as Bo Jackson and Brian Bosworth to sign autographs and snap photos with guests.

As expected, the big buzz this year is around AI — not so much to replace the human touch but to embellish it.

The Consumer Technology Association, which produces CES, said there are more than 4,000 exhibitors and expects more than 130,000 attendees, a significant jump from last year. Exhibitors this year, according to the CTA, including a record number of startups in Eureka Park, a dedicated area for breakthrough technology.

“At CES 2024, we’re thrilled to bring together exhibitors, attendees and media to display and dream up the technology of tomorrow, and the innovations that are solving today’s greatest challenges,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA. “CES is where business and policy converge.”

During the CTA’s State of the Industry Address on the morning of Jan. 9, Shapiro recognized the 100th anniversary of CTA and underscored the importance of technology that can enhance human capabilities to address issues such as access to clean air and water, food, healthcare, and technology.

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CES Media Days on Jan. 7 and 8 at Mandalay Bay featured 23 press conferences, including presentations by Hyundai, Hisense and the UHD Alliance. CES Unveiled Las Vegas, a preview of the products launching at CES 2024, featured technology from 180 companies ranging from Palmplug’s Theraplay virtual reality game, which helps rehabilitate stroke patients, to Xpeng AEROHT’s flying car.

“Unveiled Las Vegas is such a great way to kick off CES each year and to get a sneak peek into some of the early trends at the show, and it was no surprise to see AI everywhere amid diverse offerings across accessibility, digital health, food tech, mobility and smart home,” said Kinsey Fabrizio, CTA’s SVP of CES and membership.

CTA’s director of thematic programs, Brian Comiskey, and director of research, Jessica Boothe, presented 2024’s Top Tech Trends to Watch. This year’s presentations showcased how AI, sustainability and inclusive tech design will advance tomorrow’s technologies such as mobility, digital health, content, gaming and agrifood tech. Underpinning these trends and evolution in the industry is the rise of Gen Z as a sizable and influential segment, especially in emerging market nations where they’re rapidly connecting to the internet to shape worldwide trends. In turn, innovation in both the consumer and the enterprise will advance to a more intelligent, greener, and more inclusive tomorrow.

In addition to more than 250 conference sessions and the Innovation Policy Summit for global policymakers, CTA on Jan. 9 launched the Consumer Technology Circularity Initiative (CTCI), a voluntary industry initiative to reduce waste, encourage more reuse, enhance recycling, reduce climate impact, and see less disposal of consumer electronics. Founding partners include Lenovo, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony Electronics Inc.

CTA Tech Trends: Gaming Growing, Services Ascendant

LAS VEGAS — Gaming is increasingly taking over leisure time for the average gamer, said Steve Koenig, VP of research at the Consumer Technology Association.

Speaking during the opening “Tech Trends to Watch” presentation Jan. 3 on the eve of the CES event, he noted that in 2019 the average gamer spent 16 hours a week gaming.

“Today it’s a full day. 24 hours. 24 hours a week,” he said.

Why are people spending so much time gaming?

It’s for escapism, entertainment and competition, but it’s also for socializing, he said.

“Increasingly, it’s about connection and socialization,” he said. “The game is really a construct for socialization.”

After the pandemic, consumers signed up for more services and “consumers really are sticking with those,” he said, showing a chart that indicated the level of video streaming services would remain stable from 2021 through an estimated 2022 and 2023.

It’s “more about services and less about the hardware itself,” he said, adding “I think the whole ad-supported business model” will help extend the entertainment streaming business.

He presented CTA research that showed that 59% of consumers planned to use video streaming more post-pandemic, with 36% planning to use it about the same and only 5% planning to use video streaming services less. As for video game services, 50% indicated they planned to use them more, 39% about the same and 10% less.

Source: CTA

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CTA: CES on Track for Record Post-Pandemic Growth

The Consumer Technology Association Nov. 30 reported that the 2023 CES show is on track for record post-pandemic growth.

Owned and produced by the CTA, CES 2023 will take place in Las Vegas on Jan. 5-8, 2023. 

As of Nov. 28, the CTA reported: 

  • 2 million-plus net square feet of exhibits (50% bigger than CES 2022)
  • nearly 1,000 new exhibitors and more than 2,400 in total
  • one of the largest global auto shows
  • a record 2,100 CES 2023 Innovation Award entries
  • a 100,000 attendee goal with one-third from outside the United States
  • sold out Media Days on Jan. 3-4
  • 3,000-plus media registered

 

“The growth of, and excitement for, CES 2023 continues as we get closer to the moment where the world’s most influential technology innovators meet in person with customers, media, investors and policymakers,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA. “We are thrilled with the show’s momentum and look forward to opening the halls of innovation in January. We’ll learn about emerging global economic trends, what’s next in healthcare, automotive, Web3/metaverse and see the nexus of technology for good.”

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Adena T. Friedman, president and CEO of Nasdaq and the first woman CEO to lead a global stock exchange, will join Shapiro for a Great Minds session, “What’s Next for the 21st Century Economy,” on Jan. 6.

CoinDesk is the title sponsor and producer of the “CES Web3 Studio Presented by CoinDesk.” The company will curate a half-day Web3 conference program, and the studio will feature interviews with some of the most influential Web3 voices. It will cover the latest cryptocurrency and blockchain news and innovations from CES. The show will also feature Web3 programming by the Blockchain Association.

Dozens of conference tracks and 200 sessions will cover the key show themes that include digital health, Web3/metaverse, sustainability and human security for all. Registration is open and prices increase on Dec. 5.

CTA: CES 2023 on Track to Grow Footprint More Than 40% From 2022

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Oct. 6 announced that CES 2023, taking place Jan. 5-8 in Las Vegas, will likely be the largest in-person, audited business event in the United States since early 2020. The show footprint is on track to grow more than 40% larger than CES 2022, the CTA announced.

“People are excited to head back to Las Vegas for CES 2023, and it will rock,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA, said in a statement. “We are optimistic we can hit our attendance goal of 100,000, which would make it the largest independently-audited post-pandemic tech event. This year’s show will feature keynotes from tech visionaries and the opportunity to see and touch the tech that’s shaking up industries and changing our lives for the better.”

“Global brands including Abbott, Amazon, AMD, Google, John Deere, LG, Qualcomm, Roku, Samsung, Sony, Stellantis, Verizon — they and many others are committed to CES to launch new products and display cutting-edge technologies,” Kinsey Fabrizio, CTA SVP of membership and CES sales, said in a statement.

“The robust conference program shows momentum beyond the show floor at CES,” John T. Kelley, VP and acting show director for CES, said in a statement. “Hundreds of sessions with industry leaders will highlight advancements in transportation and mobility, digital health, metaverse and sustainability. And new at this year’s show: sessions focused on the creator economy, including NFTs, and Web3.”

The CES 2023 digital experience will offer access to more than 75 conference sessions and keynotes, digital activations, and a network of CES exhibitors, media and attendees. Digital registration opens later this year.

Key show themes include transportation and mobility, digital health, Web3/metaverse and sustainability. Another theme is “Human Security for All,” in which CES, partnering with the World Academy of Art and Science, will shine a spotlight on how technology helps people tackle the world’s most-pressing problems. Support of United Nations efforts to advance “Human Security for All” will be a theme throughout the show, from conference programming to keynotes highlighting innovation and products improving the lives of people around the world.

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Other details the CTA revealed about the upcoming show include:

  • 1,300-plus exhibitors confirmed;
  • 100,000 attendee goal, with one third traveling internationally to attend;
  • two announced keynotes, John Deere and AMD, with a third keynote announcement set for Oct. 13 at Unveiled Amsterdam;
  • four curated floor tours include Automotive, Startup, Healthcare and (new for 2023) the Metaverse Combo Tour; and
  • 200-plus conference sessions featuring more than 750 speakers.

Gary Shapiro: Five Takeaways From CES 2022

CES 2022 was unlike any show we’ve hosted in our 55-year history. 

As we prepared our return to Las Vegas for the first in-person CES in two years, we could feel the momentum and excitement building in the consumer tech community. Hundreds of companies signed on to exhibit, even after the emergence of the Omicron variant around Thanksgiving. We were confident in the strong health protocols we’d put in place, including a vaccination requirement announced in the summer of 2021, masking requirements and free Abbott BiNAX Now rapid tests that would be made available to attendees.

Gary Shapiro

Months of planning by CTA staff and consultants meant that we were ready to put on a show, but we couldn’t be certain our guests would arrive. A few big-brand companies withdrew from in-person participation, but many more reached out to tell us just how much they wanted the show to go forward.

Thousands of companies rely on CES to pitch new, innovative and life-changing technologies. After an all-digital show in 2021, this was an opportunity for them to make connections and build the relationships that are so critical to business success.

We also listened to President Biden’s Dec. 21 call for schools and businesses to remain open — with precautions in place — which seemed a strong message that business should continue. That encouragement, along with advice from various expert consultants, supported our decision to move ahead with an in-person show.

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Opening day demonstrated the strong excitement and desire by so many to convene again in person. More than 2,300 exhibitors showcased incredible innovation on the show floor, joined by over 40,000 industry executives and thought leaders. We knew this year’s CES would be messy, and it was no surprise to see some gaps on the show floor. But by the time we wrapped on Friday, it was clear that even a smaller show punched well above its weight.

Here are my key takeaways from CES 2022:

People Have Different Views on Pandemic Precautions

This statement won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but we watched it play out in real time as we organized CES 2022. We lost some exhibitors over the summer when we announced our vaccine requirement, though several executives thanked me for pushing their CES-loving employees to get vaccinated. We lost some attendees in December over health and safety concerns surrounding the Omicron variant, especially those from the worst-hit coastal cities and COVID-cautious countries. Given the uncertainty of the pandemic throughout our planning process, we decided to meet people where they were by investing further in our digital event for those who could not, or chose not to, travel to Las Vegas. That decision paid dividends in our enhanced capacity to capture content and make it available to attendees virtually both during and after the event.

 

Companies Rely on CES — Especially Startups, Small and Mid-Size Companies

I wasn’t completely sure what to expect at CES, but I was shocked by the nearly universal excitement and enthusiasm. I did not receive one complaint during the show, and the 100+ exhibitors I spoke to all expressed their gratitude for our decision to go forward with CES. Many small and mid-sized companies use CES to connect with customers, partners, investors and media. While our attendee numbers were down, exhibitors reported the quality of participants, especially CXOs and international, was strong. In fact, the decision by some big companies to withdraw from the show created new opportunities to shine for many of our startups and small companies.

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As an executive from one large multinational corporation put it, “this was the show of small and medium-sized companies.” Another executive from a smaller company emphasized the important role CES plays for innovators trying to “break-into the industry.”

 

International Attendees and Media Flocked to CES

This was perhaps my biggest surprise. Over 14,000 international visitors came to CES 2022, along with over 600 members of the international media. I am not sure the U.S. has had any event in the last two years with this type of showing. Those are some 14,000 people who were willing to undergo extra testing and challenging travel requirements because they recognized that CES presents such a unique opportunity. As one international participant put it, “CES 2022: inspiring. We had all been more or less hesitant to come to Vegas despite the pandemic. … I issued and canceled several plane tickets before flying. In the end, we were rewarded. [CES 2022 was the] edition that will serve as a reference for other world events in the coming months.”

 

We Need Leadership and Real Life Experiences

I heard from executives of companies big and small thanking me for taking a stand. They recognize the importance of getting back to in-person interactions where relationships can be fostered, investments made and new products discovered. While I’ll be the first to praise the tech companies who made virtual meetings and workplace collaboration possible in the early stages of the pandemic, it can’t replace the value and importance of face-to-face conversations.

Ultimately, COVID will be with us for some time, and we have to find ways to live with that reality. Several CEOs made precisely that point to me in commending CTA on our leadership in hosting an in-person CES. As one wrote to me, “It is not easy making the decisions you are making and I wanted to lend my support. You are taking all the right measures to ensure everyone’s safety as best as you can to greatly reduce risk. … For what it’s worth, I personally believe that if we don’t start moving to some level of what it was like, we will be doing damage that can’t be measured in charts and graphs.”

Leadership requires taking a stand and our stand resonated with many business executives across multiple industries.

 

Innovation is Blossoming and Changing the World

Since our last gathering in Las Vegas in 2020 the world has changed, and tech has evolved along with it — especially in areas like health care, mobility, food and entertainment. The pandemic accelerated many existing trends, pushing us towards telehealth services and streaming and increased reliance on artificial intelligence. We’ve seen breakthroughs in robotics, delivery, and the virtual reality. In the home entertainment sector alone, CES 2022 introduced new trends in audio, such as Noveto’s “invisible headphones” that beam audio directly into your ears; video and display, such as Sony’s Bravia Cam that optimizes TV picture quality and brightness; and virtual and artificial reality tech that can bring live events and sports to the metaverse and into homes via smartphones and VR headsets.

Despite our time apart, innovation has not stopped. Instead, it appears to have sped up, spurred by entrepreneurs from around the globe who have committed their expertise and know-how to solving some of the world’s biggest challenges. After walking the show floor this year, I’m more optimistic than ever in the capacity of innovation and technology to change millions of lives for the better.

I can’t wait for CES 2023 — and hope to see you there!

Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the trade group that produces the annual CES.

CES Closes With 40,000 In-Person Attendees; 2,300 Exhibitors

The Consumer Technology Association announced that CES 2022 in Las Vegas, which concluded Jan. 7, tallied 40,000 in-person attendees.

The show also registered more than 2,300 exhibiting companies from around the world, including more than 800 startups, according to the CTA.

In January 2020, just before COVID-19 hit, the show drew more than 170,000 attendees and 4,400 exhibitors. The show went virtual in January 2021.

The 2022 show opened Jan. 5 with a smaller footprint and a shorter run, three days instead of the usual four, due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, which the week before Christmas saw 42 exhibitors opt for a virtual rather than a physical presence, including such heavyweights as Amazon, AT&T, Google, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Meta (Facebook) and T-Mobile. 

Attendees included 1,800 global media, across 11 indoor and outdoor venues, with 30% of attendees traveling from outside the United States, representing 119 countries, according to the CTA.

“We hope to see you at CES 2023, Jan. 5-8 in Las Vegas,” read an email from organizers.

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Through Jan. 31, registered CES 2022 attendees can replay events from the show, access keynotes, select session recordings, exhibitor showcases and show floor content with Brian Tong through the digital venue. Starting Jan. 10, look out for newly added session recordings that were not previously available in the venue.

CES 2022 Opens as Scaled-Down, Shorter Event

LAS VEGAS — CES 2022 officially opens on Jan. 5 with a smaller footprint and a shorter run, three days instead of the usual four.

The culprit: The surge in COVID-19 cases, which the week before Christmas saw 42 exhibitors opt for a virtual rather than a physical presence, including such heavyweights as Amazon, AT&T, Google, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Meta (Facebook) and T-Mobile. 

Speaking on the eve of the show on the Fox Business Network’s “The Claman Countdown,” CTA CEO and president Gary Shapiro provided an update on the exhibitor count, which after a record high of 4,400 in January 2020 was expected to fall by more than half, prompting the closure of the South Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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“I’m pleased to share with you now the new number, which is actually an expanded number,” Shapiro said. “A few weeks ago we were saying 1,700, now we’re over 2,300 exhibitors. They keep signing up; we’ve had lots in November and lots in December. And why is that? Because this is one place a lot of companies rely on each year to get their message out and they really didn’t have that in 2021. You know, there’s been a huge amount of investment in startups lately.”

Shapiro said he and his team decided to proceed with the physical show because “companies rely on it. Last night we had our CES Unveiled, [with] hundreds of startups out there and other companies. And I was overwhelmed by the number of people just thanking me. Saying, look — with tears in their eyes — we wait for this all year. Please go forward.

“Plus we heard from the countries that are sending people and companies for the first time from Eastern Europe, from Asia. Korea has a record number of startups coming, France has a huge number, Netherlands has a record, Italy has a record. All over the world, they’re coming, converging on Las Vegas in a reasonably safe way to see what they could do for the year because that’s what innovation is about.

“Now, this show will be a little messy, we know that. But innovation is messy.”

One thing that hasn’t changed is the show’s increasing focus on technology and innovation instead of its legacy consumer electronics. This shift was affirmed in November 2015 when organizers changed their name to the Consumer Technology Association from the Consumer Electronics Association. 

During the CTA’s 2022 Tech Trends to Watch presentation, one of two media-only events held prior to the show’s opening, CTA VP of research Steve Koenig said the big trends to watch, and the focus of this year’s CES, are transportation (from electric vehicles to micro-mobility); space tech; sustainable technology; and digital health.

Similarly, among the new products on display at CES Unveiled, the annual media preview held right after the tech trends presentation on Jan. 3, were a smart mirror from Baracoda Daily Health that includes personal health data and makeup tutorials; the Megane X virtual reality, from Panasonic subsidiary Shiftall, for metaverse experiences; the VTOL Platform drone from VETAL, with 4G and 5G capability; and a home urine test kit from Vivoo that provides users with personalized nutrition and lifestyle advice.

Speaking on the Fox Business Network, Shapiro noted, “We’re seeing lots of new things and new categories created almost overnight. … In space, we’ve seen some tremendous developments. We’ll see a space plane — it’s a big part of the show — as well as food technology. The metaverse is, obviously, huge.

“There’s over 100 health-related technology exhibitors. And we have the automobile areas — one of the biggest footprints we’ve ever had. Smart homes, robotics, you name it.”

In addition to the two Jan. 3 media-only events, the first CES 2022 keynote was delivered by top Samsung executive Jong-Hee Han, vice chairman, CEO and head of Samsung Electronics’ DX (Device eXperience) Division.

Held under the theme, “Together for Tomorrow,” the keynote showcased sustainability efforts and demonstrated customized and connected experiences Samsung says can enrich people’s lives.

Last week, CTA announced the show will close one day early, “as an additional safety measure to the current  health protocols that have been put in place for CES.”

Those protocols include requiring all attendees to be fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO), and to provide proof of their vaccination status prior to picking up their badges. 

In addition, masks are required at all indoor CES events, including the show floor, and on shuttle buses. The CTA has “safety ambassadors” stationed throughout the exhibit floor, handing out masks to those who may need one.

In addition, the CTA is encouraging all attendees to take a COVID test prior to arriving in Las Vegas. The CTA is distributing complimentary Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Self Test kits, provided by Abbott, to each attendee upon retrieving their badge. The CTA also will provide testing for those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms while at a CES venue, and will distribute free RT-PCR tests for attendees who are traveling back to their international destination and who require a test to travel. 

CES 2022 Shortens Run by a Day Due to Health Concerns

On the eve of CES 2022, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) announced that the annual trade show, which opens in Las Vegas on Jan. 5, will close one day early.

“The step was taken as an additional safety measure to the current  health protocols that have been put in place for CES,” the CTA said in a press release.

The CTA reaffirmed that more than 2,200 exhibitors will be at the show, with an additional 143 companies signing up over the last two weeks.

“Construction of exhibitors’ show floor space is well underway and soon attendees will be able to see and experience the latest tech innovations,” according to the CTA announcement.
 
“As the world’s most influential technology event, CES is steadfast in its pledge to be the gathering place to showcase products and discuss ideas that will ultimately make our lives better,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA, said in a statement. “We are shortening the show to three days and have put in place comprehensive health measures for the safety of all attendees and participants.”

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Those that are unable to travel to Las Vegas for CES 2022 can join digitally. Digital registration will grant access to more than 40 live streamed conference sessions, keynotes, select Media Days press conferences and the ability to engage with exhibitors, according to the CTA. 

The weeks leading up to CES 2022 have been difficult ones for CTA, as the surge in COVID-19 cases brought on by the fast-spreading new Omicron variant triggered a wave of high-profile exits from the show, including Amazon, Google, Meta (Facebook) and Intel.

Several annual events that have involved the home entertainment industry, including an annual party and awards ceremony presented by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group and streaming trade group OTT.X’s annual breakfast, also are not happening.

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In a Dec. 22 press release, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) reiterated its intent to proceed with the show, now scheduled for Jan. 5-7, despite what it said were 42 exhibitor cancellations. 

CES went virtual in January 2021, but as a winter COVID-19 surge began to ebb and movie theaters and other businesses began to reopen, the CTA on April 28 announced CES 2022 would once again be held in person in Las Vegas in January 2022.

At the time, CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro said in a statement, “We’re thrilled to return to Las Vegas — home to CES for more than 40 years — and look forward to seeing many new and returning faces. Hundreds of executives have told us how much they need CES to meet new and existing customers, find partners, reach media and discover innovation.” 

 

CTA President: ‘CES Will and Must Go On … It’s Time We Return to Making the World Better, Rather Than Living in Fear’

We know several major companies have reduced their physical presence at CES 2022, and we understand their concerns. They want to protect their employees from COVID-19 and the risk of having to quarantine in Las Vegas. Our staff raised this issue with me, and I told employees that anyone with concerns would not be required to travel to Las Vegas.

Gary Shapiro

At CTA, we believe passionately that innovation and technology will make a better world and solve some of the biggest problems in health, energy, mobility, the environment (clean air and clean water) and more. CES is the world’s largest innovation event and we have thousands of people coming from around the world to see and show products that will make life better. We just heard from the Netherlands delegation about entrepreneurs eager to come to the show, as well as business people from France and Africa looking forward to the many innovations at CES. In addition to thousands of entrepreneurs, AARP is running a start-up contest for products serving seniors and the winners of the Global Women’s HealthTech awards — an awards program developed by CTA and The World Bank — will showcase innovations aimed at improving women’s health in emerging markets. 

I first joined the CTA after serving as a consultant, going to a CTA board meeting and hearing the then board chairman (who represented our largest exhibitor) guide a discussion on whether to raise the cost of CES. I will never forget his guidance: we must always run CES for the sake of entrepreneurs with new ideas. The show allows them to present to potential investors, partners, buyers, media and others who will give them feedback, offer investment or even acquire them. That is an article of faith at our association.  

Innovation can come from anywhere and anybody, and we must respect and encourage that. This conviction informs all of our public policy positions, and the major tech companies — almost all of whom are our members — respect CTA for always looking out for smaller companies. Indeed, at CES and even as members of CTA, over 80% of our membership is smaller companies. At CES, we promote the newest entrepreneurs with a huge, subsidized section of the show, Eureka Park, where hundreds of start ups from around the world get to connect and thrive or learn and adjust. Many of these founders tap out their credit cards just to get to Las Vegas, and while we subsidize their space, we know that the exposure of CES can make or break them. These companies and these founders are the ones I think when I say it’s not time to pull the plug on CES 2022.

Ask Robbi Cabral, Founder and CEO of BenjiLock, an immigrant who lost his job while his wife was pregnant. Robbie talks frequently about how Eureka Park transformed his company from an idea to an enterprise. Or ask Aswhin Navin, CEO of Samba TV, who had a small booth in Eureka Park several years ago and has now filed for an IPO. 

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CES will and must go on. It will have many more small companies than large ones. It may have big gaps on the show floor. Certainly, it will be different from previous years. It may be messy. But innovation is messy. It is risky and uncomfortable. I view CES as representing the best of our unique American history — a place where those who are different and have big ideas can gather.  Where success is not based on class or religion or anything but the strength of an idea.

CES 2022 attendees will see a spaceship created by Eren Ozmen, the co-owner of Sierra Nevada Corp. Eren and her husband Fatih, immigrants from Turkey, built this business that now shuttles goods to space. Attendees will also see a robotic kitchen that makes complete meals and hundreds of other products by innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world.  

As we look to CES 2022, we confront a tough choice. If we cancel the show, we will hurt thousands of smaller companies, entrepreneurs and innovators who have made investments in building their exhibits and are counting on CES for their business, inspiration and future. If we do not cancel, we face the drumbeat of press and other critics who tell the story only through their lens of drama and big name companies.  

We are mindful of concerns that CES could be an event where the Omicron variant can spread. We are leading the way in requiring masks and vaccines, recommending testing and offering free tests. No one wants to get sick.  We respect that some do not want to take the risk involved in travel to Las Vegas, even in the vaccinated bubble of CES. But with significant safety measures and fewer people, there is plenty of space for attendees to socially distance. We have consulted with experts, both medical and analytical, and have been advised that with our health and safety protocols infections should be minimal.   

I will feel safer at CES with our vaccine and masking mandate than I do when I’m running every day errands, including food shopping!  In fact, our consultants concluded CES would have no measurable effect on Las Vegas and its ability to deal with any new spike in COVID-19.  

We are also working with leading health experts in the state of Nevada who support the best practices we have put in place, and followed the recommendations of an outside event medical consulting group who assured us our precautions way exceeded the norm.  Below is a statement from Dr. Tony Slonim, president and CEO CEO of Renown Health in Reno, Nev.:

“With the recent climate, many people have been working remotely and creating virtual relationships. That’s okay, the work gets done, but for me, nothing is better than meeting in person,” says  Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, FACHE, president and CEO of Renown Health in Reno, NV, one of the nation’s most innovative and progressive health systems. “CES 2022 brings together progressive thinkers and energetic pioneers who are passionate about bringing technology to the world and improving lives. That has never been more important than it is today. The good news is we are now more prepared than ever to keep people safe, which is the top priority for CES. I am impressed that the Consumer Technology Association, our hotels, the [Las Vegas] conference venues and the City of Las Vegas have worked diligently to put every contemporary safety practice in place to ensure a healthy and successful in-person meeting this year. I encourage you to join me in attending CES 2022, adhering to the requirements, building new relationships, and supporting the innovators, professions and industries integral to our future.”   

We also benefit from the wisdom of one of our Board members, Jim Mault, a prestigious doctor and entrepreneur and former chief medical officer of Qualcomm. Jim also started and heads BioIntelliSense a start-up CES exhibitor and maker of wearable technology for monitoring discharged patients or seeing temperature differentials indicating the onset of COVID-19. As Jim put it:

“As a volunteer CTA leader, physician, entrepreneur, CES exhibitor and heading a company relevant to fighting Covid, I appreciate the extraordinary CES health and safety measures. I look forward to CES.”

The bottom line is that we are living in uncertain times. We have spent some 20 months surviving — thanks to vaccines, the medical community and technology — in a virtual world. But as every CEO knows, we are humans. We need each other and we especially need each other for innovation to thrive!  

Let’s face it head on — we survived but we need to live. For those who are vaccinated and willing to take the minor risk of Omicron and a quarantine, CES may be worth it. For those who have a dream of using innovation to build a better world, we will be in Las Vegas bringing thousands of entrepreneurs together eager to make those connections and discoveries. For those who can’t make it to Las Vegas, we will stream many of the key presentations and give every exhibitor, including those who recently canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, the no-cost opportunity to extend their CES presence globally. 

It’s time we return to making the world better, rather than living in fear. Earlier this week, President Biden asked Americans to vaccinate, wear masks, test for COVID — and stop closing schools and businesses. I agree. CES 2022 will kick off 2022 messy, but it will be chock full of innovation and full of entrepreneurs and businesses. We will all be taking risks. But without risk there is no innovation. 

For those who don’t attend, we respect your decision, we encourage you to join us digitally, and we hope to see you at CES in 2023. For those who are coming, we can’t wait to see you in Vegas! 

Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the trade group that produces the annual CES.

The Show Must Go On, CES 2022 Organizers Say

CES 2022 remains on track to touch down in Las Vegas next week for the first time in two years, despite surging Omicron infections and a series of high-profile tech-firm exits.

In an email sent to Media Play News late Monday, Dec. 27, a spokesperson for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which produces the annual technology show, said, “Yes, the show is proceeding.” CES 2022 takes place Jan. 5 – 8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The spokesperson provided the following statement: “Over 2,200 companies are confirmed to participate in person at CES 2022 in Las Vegas. Our focus remains on convening the tech industry and giving those who cannot attend in person the ability to experience the magic of CES digitally.”

According to the statement, “comprehensive health measures” have been put into place, including a vaccination requirement, masking and free COVID-19 testing. And that, along with “lower attendance and social distancing measures,” makes the CTA  “confident that attendees and exhibitors can have a socially distanced but worthwhile and productive event in Las Vegas, or while experiencing it online,” according to the trade association.

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The spokesperson also provided a statement from Dr. Tony Slonim, president and CEO of Renown Health in Reno, Nev., who said, “With the recent climate, many people have been working remotely and creating virtual relationships. That’s OK, the work gets done, but for me, nothing is better than meeting in person.

“CES 2022 brings together progressive thinkers and energetic pioneers who are passionate about bringing technology to the world and improving lives. That has never been more important than it is today. The good news is we are now more prepared than ever to keep people safe, which is the top priority for CES. I am impressed that the Consumer Technology Association, our hotels, the Las Vegas conference venues and the city of Las Vegas have worked diligently to put every contemporary safety practice in place to ensure a healthy and successful in-person meeting this year.

“I encourage you to join me in attending CES 2022, adhering to the requirements, building new relationships, and supporting the innovators, professions and industries integral to our future.”

Last week, in the days leading up to Christmas, 42 exhibitors dropped out due to concerns over the Omicron variant. Among them: Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Meta (Facebook), Intel and TikTok. T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert canceled his keynote address, while General Motors chief Mary Barra will deliver her keynote address virtually rather than in-person.

On Dec. 22, the CTA issued a press release in which it stated the show will proceed despite the cancellations.

Two days later, on Christmas Eve, CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro wrote in a LinkedIn post, “CES will and must go on. It will have many more small companies than large ones. It may have big gaps on the show floor. Certainly, it will be different from previous years. It may be messy. But innovation is messy. It is risky and uncomfortable …

“As we look to CES 2022, we confront a tough choice. If we cancel the show, we will hurt thousands of smaller companies, entrepreneurs and innovators who have made investments in building their exhibits and are counting on CES for their business, inspiration and future. If we do not cancel, we face the drumbeat of press and other critics who tell the story only through their lens of drama and big name companies.

“We are mindful of concerns that CES could be an event where the Omicron variant can spread. We are leading the way in requiring masks and vaccines, recommending testing and offering free tests. No one wants to get sick. … But with significant safety measures and fewer people, there is plenty of space for attendees to socially distance. We have consulted with experts, both medical and analytical, and have been advised that with our health and safety protocols infections should be minimal.   

“I will feel safer at CES with our vaccine and masking mandate than I do when I’m running every day errands, including food shopping!”

CES went virtual in January 2021, but as a winter COVID-19 surge began to ebb and movie theaters and other businesses began to reopen, the CTA on April 28 announced CES 2022 would once again be held in person in Las Vegas in January 2022.

The last in-person CES, in January 2020, attracted 171,268 attendees and 4,419 exhibitors. The CTA earlier had said the 2022 event will be much smaller, with 40,000 to 60,000 attendees and around 2,200 exhibitors.