All I want for Christmas is CES 2022 to happen
Christmas weekend brought the cat-and-mouse game “will there or will not be” a consumer electronics show (CES) to a crescendo. Organizers of CES, which had 180,000 attendees in 2019, offered health guarantees and the ultimate trade show giveaway: free COVID testing.
Yet thanks to the raging Omicron COVID-19 variant, exhibitors and attendees are canceling their travel plans to Las Vegas, if they can even fly there. The show is coming soon; CES media days are January 3-4, and the show will run from January 5-8, 2022.
It’s a high stakes chicken game. Millions of dollars in exhibitor fees, salaries, hotel and airline reservations, restaurants, gaming revenue and more are at stake. Previous CES shows have poured over $ 200 million into the vaults from Las Vegas. Technical innovation, marketing, and the cross-pollination of ideas and products will all be hampered by another year without face-to-face contact.
“We’re moving forward with the show in person,” said a spokesperson for the Consumer Technology Association, which hosts CES. “We have tens of thousands of registered attendees and over 2,200 companies have confirmed to attend CES 2022 in person in Las Vegas. CTA is working closely with Nevada health experts who have encouraged us to move forward with the event. “
CES provided commentary from one of those experts, Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, FACHE, President and CEO of Renown Health in Reno, NV. “We are now more prepared than ever to ensure the safety of people, which is CES ‘top priority. I am impressed that the Consumer Technology Association, our hotels, LAS VEGAS conference venues and the City of Las Vegas have worked diligently to put all contemporary security practices in place to ensure a healthy and successful face-to-face meeting. This year.
The show is a playground for the participants. There is also always something of interest to journalists, from the constant ‘whose is greater’ (televisions) to technological dreams that come true (smartphones and autonomous vehicles) and others that we are always waiting for, like flying cars. .
CES previously had an estimated $ 283 million economic impact on the Las Vegas economy. This money went not only to hotels, entertainment venues, and restaurants, but also bartenders, blackjack merchants, ride-sharing drivers, hotel employees, dancers, and event planners.
So while many want CES 2022 to happen, troubling questions remain. If CES continues as scheduled and delegates get sick, is there enough hospital space in Las Vegas for them without moving residents? Is there a chance that the show will become a super broadcast event? What is the cost of damaging the reputation of the salon, the tech industry, and Las Vegas if they cause a wave of infections or, God forbid, death?
As I write this on Christmas Eve, exhibitors like major computer maker Lenovo, T-Mobile, Amazon, GM, Google, Meta, AT&T and others have announced that they will be reducing attendance on-site. and go virtual. T-Mobile CEO Mike Siewart said he would not be making his keynote address because the company would “prioritize the safety of our team” by limiting attendance.
Major tech media groups such as TechRadar say “we will not be covering CES 2022 in person, for the sake of the health and well-being of our journalists.” As PR specialist Molly Mulloy @prmolly put it on Twitter, “So @CNETNews, @TechCrunch, @verge, @techradar, @tomsguide, @MKBHD, @IGN all virtual for # ces2022. How long will @CTATech take to call it? “
Meanwhile, Las Vegas hotel room prices are dropping for the show period. Entrepreneurs betting everything on the show would once four in a room to beat high CES prices. But during CES 2022, Hotels.com is advertising 30% off Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, 25% off the Venetian or the Palazzo, 10% off the Sahara ($ 91!), 25% off the brand new Las Vegas Hilton at Resorts World, 31% off Treasure Island, 20% off Caesar’s Palace.
Until 2020, I used to joke, based on 25 years of being there, that “CES is a node of diseases all over the world”. The joke (if it was one) was that people heading to CES would arrive on crowded planes from all over the world, then walk through crowded exhibition halls, have dinner and play while breathing on each other.
I quit making this joke after attending the last CES with 170,000 others. This program took place from January 7 to 10, 2020. Already, a mysterious virus had been reported in China. A day after the show ended, China reported its first virus death. At the end of the month, the first new case of the coronavirus was reported in the United States
CES 2021 was canceled (or technically went “all virtual”) in July 2020 as COVID-19 raged. But as of this writing, CES 2022, which kicks off in less than two weeks, is still taking place as an in-person show with a virtual component.
Do I go? I debate. I love the show and I love seeing friends and writing about new products. And for me, any excuse to go to Las Vegas is good.
If I go, I might find work as a surety for media organizations. And as a writer, to cover the kickoff of a plague third year in Las Vegas would be an incredible scene.
But I am not a courageous first responder or frontline worker. I am a journalist covering new products and trends.
Do I have to travel and risk illness to see a bunch of gadgets? At least if I caught Omicron at home I could rest in my own bed and watch my own TV. If I go, my wife told me to choose a room to quarantine when I return.