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What to Expect in a Virtual CES

The mega Consumer Electronics Show goes online

In July, 2020, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) announced the upcoming CES 2021 would be an all-digital experience.  The mega trade show is set to draw together exhibitors, customers and thought leaders from around the world.

Pre-COVID-19, tens of thousands of people would converge in Las Vegas each January, which is not safe under the continuing pandemic. According to organizers, the upcoming online show being held January 11 to 14, 2021, “will allow participants to hear from technology innovators, see cutting-edge technologies and the latest product launches, and engage with global brands and startups from around the world.”

So how will CES pull off a spectacular digital event to match previous mega trade shows?

First, the organization partnered with Microsoft to ensure a strong technology backbone. More recently, CES announced another key partnership- strategic advisory firm MediaLink, an Ascential company. MediaLink is curating official content for the C Space experience.

The CES C Space is possibly the most significant channel for audiences to discover the latest disruptive tech trends that are changing advertising mediums, marketing and consumer behavior. Based on past experience, this where we will hear big announcements and get the first glimpse of products moving from prototype to production.

Woman watching a virtual trade show

Just a few of the spectacular technology milestones announced at previous CES include:

The VCR (1970), HDTV (1998), Satellite Radio (2000), Tablets, Netbooks and Android Devices (2010), Smart Appliances and Ford’s Electric Focus Vehicle (2011), 3D Printers and Wearable Tech (2014), 4K UHD, and Virtual Reality (2015).

The 2021 CES
Keynote speakers announced so far include Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg; General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra; and AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su.

If you would like a sneak peek at some of the topics covered in the 2021 show, click on any of the links below. New content will be added as the show approaches.












The Future of CES and trade shows
If digital trade shows can attract more participation, both from audience members and thought leaders from around the world, will such events replace physical gatherings?

It’s very unlikely. There is just too much money tied to the exhibit floor.

A U.S. exhibition industry estimate at the beginning of 2019 was about $13.2 billion in revenue and growing, according to Statistica. The trend extends beyond the U.S., where 80% of event organizers worldwide expected future increases across the globe before the pandemic.

These huge figures don’t even take into account the positive effect trade shows have on regional economies, providing jobs and revenue to associated businesses, from caterers and accommodations to site logistics. People visiting the show use various modes of transportation, and eat at local restaurants.

COVID-19 certainly put a dent in industry projections. However, smaller trade shows have already been reappearing since this past summer. CTA has already stated they plan on being back in Las Vegas for CES 2022, for a combined physical and digital show, barring any further world pandemics.

It remains to be seen if digital CES can create enough of an immersive experience to match, or even bypass being there in person. Considering we may not see a show of this magnitude carried out online again, attending may be well worth the cost of admission.

You can register now to attend CES 2021, on the website.

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