The tech community salutes and applauds our efforts to maintain a safe environment, to keep business going, assured AFP Steve Koenig, vice-president of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which organizes the event.
Last year, site visits were not permitted and the event took place only on the web. In 2020, around 4,500 exhibiting companies came to Nevada to showcase their robots, cars, televisions and other connected devices inflated with artificial intelligence. Their number is cut in half this year.
Large companies (Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, BMW, General Motors and many others) were the first to withdraw or reduce their presence.
In front of the convention center, the huge space usually occupied by the Google tent remained empty, as did many kiosks during the previews reserved for the press.
” Despite the high-profile withdrawals from a few companies, we have over 2,200 […], and they are all counting on us to move forward, because they need investments and partners. “
The Omicron variant now accounts for 95% of new COVID-19 infections in the United States, according to health officials. To attend the event, people must provide proof that they are vaccinated and wear a mask, but there are no mandatory tests.
The appeal of face-to-face
We are worried about the rise in cases, but hey, we have received all of our vaccines, said Bhavya Gohil, boss of the young growth Square Off, who considers the measures sufficient.
He is disappointed with the many withdrawals, but has not considered canceling his presence himself.
We had already invested a lot of money for the booth, so we really had to come. All the contracts that we get back thanks to CES … It’s very important.
The show is held in a hybrid format, in person, but also online, thanks to software designed by the Web Summit, a European technology fair.
The advantage of online conferences is that you can meet more people in an efficient way. There are no trips, no noise, no distractions, notes Paddy Cosgrave, the boss and founder of the Web Summit.
But personally, I do not believe that we manage to replicate the quality of human interactions. This is probably why there is a strong interest in the return in person.
A rich program
On the menu this year, transport – increasingly electric and autonomous – is popular. Space-related technologies are making a remarkable entrance, after a year that devoted space tourism, and the booming development of satellite Internet.
Innovations in sustainable development and connected health, strong trends for years, are also taking up a lot of space.
And the metaverse is on everyone’s lips, although its definition is still unclear at this point. The concept designates the emergence of parallel universes connected to each other, which we will access through augmented and virtual reality equipment.
Born out of science fiction, the metaverse has been all the rage since the Facebook group announced colossal investments in this area and rebranded itself as Meta.
But for now, the industry is focused on more immediate challenges, like the global chip shortage and supply delays, which are pushing back new product launches.