Earlier today, the organizers behind the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) announced the decision to go all-digital in 2021. CES is easily one of the largest and most well-known showcases for tech each year. These days, nearly 175,000 people descend upon Las Vegas to participate at this event, whether it be as an exhibitor, a member of the press, or simply as an enthusiast for new tech. The event features everything from show floor exhibits to countless interviews. Senior tech officers and software engineers always deliver their fair share of talks as well, in addition to high-profile keynote speakers.
The organizers cited health concerns as the obvious reason for making CES 2021 digital, but the show must go on. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) described its plan as a re-imagining of CES to “connect exhibitors, customers, thought leaders, and media.” It sounds bold of course, but from what we’ve seen so far with digital presentations, it certainly won’t hold up to the traditional hands-on experience.
CES 2021 wants to keep discussions going
However, the CTA did describe the experience in a way that seemingly embraces the importance of communication. “An all-digital CES 2021 will allow the entire tech community to safely share ideas and introduce the products that will shape our future. You’ll be able to participate in all the awe-inspiring moments of CES wherever you are in the world.” Hopefully, most of the show won’t turn into a one-way stream of information.
The CTA advertised a highly personalized experience, though the details on how they plan to make that happen are limited. They confirmed CES 2021 will still offer keynotes and conferences, product showcases, and live demos. Of equal importance though, they mentioned meetings and networking opportunities. “You’ll be able to engage with the brands, thought leaders, and business connections you care about with live interactions, meetups, or round-table discussions.”
The ability of the media to get first-person impressions and ask pressing questions sounds limited, though. Not all news outlets may get the same opportunities they would normally enjoy on the show floors as well.
PC Hardware highlights
The likes of Nvidia, AMD, Intel, and countless other tech manufacturers are a big deal for PC gaming enthusiasts at CES each year. The event typically offers a preview of products to expect in the later quarters of the year, or even a glimpse at prototypes and other potential breakthroughs. At this year’s CES 2020, AMD teased its next-generation RDNA 2 ray-tracing architecture for GPUs. Meanwhile, Intel showed off Tiger Lake, its speedy 10nm-based mobile CPU architecture.
Companies typically flash fancy statistics on improvements over previous product generations, but it’s up to the media to get specifics. Whether or not CES 2021 will provide those opportunities is yet to be seen. Exact dates are still not certain, but the CES 2021 digital event will take place in the first week of January.