CES 2021 to proceed as scheduled with "in-person event"

CES 2021: world's biggest tech show promises "in-person event"
(Image credit: CES)

The organisers of the world's biggest consumer technology show are planning for CES 2021 to take place in Las Vegas as scheduled, according to an announcement this week. The annual showcase for new tech, which takes place at the start of January, aims to still be an in-person event, though with a greater focus on digital events.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen events cancelled around the globe and looks set to have a lasting impact on global travel and large gatherings. Nevertheless, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is confident, at this stage at least, of holding an in-person event for journalists to get their hands on shiny, new, freshly-sanitised products.

Naturally, the CTA is well aware that changes will need to be in place: "While we plan to produce another in-person event in Las Vegas, we all face new considerations around attending conferences, conducting business and traveling to meetings. 

"For CES 2021, we will continue to expand the show’s digital reach. You can expect to see a wider selection of live-streamed CES content, along with many other engaging digital and virtual opportunities... We will showcase our exhibitors’ products, technology breakthroughs and ideas to the world, both physically in Las Vegas and digitally."

The CTA plans to regularly clean and sanitise public spaces, allow for social distancing and make recommendations around the wearing of masks, alongside other measures, the types of which we are all slowly getting used to. 

But will people want to go? January 6th 2021, when the event is due to open, is of course a little way off yet, but it's clear the effects of coronavirus aren't going away anytime soon. 

A much-modified version of IFA, Europe's biggest consumer technology show, is planned for September this year, with an in-person event still scheduled. It remains to be seen how popular that proves, coming so soon after many countries have been observing strict lockdowns.

Of course, for many of these shows, the very real fear that one year missed could cause some brands and consumers never to return, means they'll be eager to keep the show on the road.

As the CTA concludes: "The meetings world is developing and implementing best practices, and we will assess and evaluate the latest solutions in the coming months." As with so much of what was once normal life, we will all have to watch this space.

Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is the Content Director for What Hi-Fi? and Future’s Product Testing, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for almost 20 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).