CES is the latest primetime tech event to move online due to the global pandemic.
The Consumer Technology Association announced Tuesday that CES 2021 will be an all-digital experience this January for the first time ever. The decision reflects ongoing concerns with large gatherings during the coronavirus crisis as COVID-19 cases have spiked in the U.S. over the past month.
“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,” CTA CEO Gary Shapiro said in a statement. “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.”
In a LinkedIn post, Shapiro provided more detail about the decision.
“We concluded it is simply not possible to safely gather over 100,000 people indoors with a raging COVID-19 virus and no real hope for a tested and widely available vaccine by January,” he wrote. “The world does not need more COVID-19 cases, and we decided we would do our part by ensuring we are not helping spread the disease.”
CES is one of the largest global tech shows annually that draws more than 170,000 attendees from around the world. The 2021 version, held Jan. 6-9, will still feature keynotes, product showcases, and networking opportunities, albeit on the internet versus in-person in Las Vegas.
Other tech giants including Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and others have canceled in-person events this year and also transitioned the experience online.