Photo by Moises Gonzalez

By: Nick Gambino

CES is the biggest and most attended electronics show in the world but even so it’s not impervious to negative impact thanks to an ongoing pandemic. Recent news, however, of tech giants like Amazon, Intel, Meta, and T-Mobile dropping out still hasn’t stopped the event from forging on.

“CES 2022 will be in person on January 5-8 in Las Vegas with strong safety measures in place,” the Consumer Technology Association, who are the ones that run CES, said on Thursday. “While we recently received 42 exhibitor cancellations (less than 7% of our exhibit floor), since last Friday we’ve added 60 new exhibitors for our in-person event.”

T-Mobile was on board as one of the biggest participators this year until featured speaker and CEO of T-Mobile, Mike Sievert, bowed out and said they would limit in-person participation at the show. The same goes for Twitter, AT&T and a host of other big names. T-Mobile will, however, remain a sponsor.

“After closely monitoring the current trends surrounding COVID, it is in the best interest of the health and safety of our employees, customers, partners, and our communities to suspend all on-site activity in Las Vegas,” a tweet from CES exhibitor Lenovo reads. They expanded on this in another tweet, “While this is a change in plans, we are excited for you all to see our latest technology launching as scheduled on January 4th and January 5th.

This is the trend many are taking – suspend in-person activity and simply launch tech or make big announcements virtually. This is the safe bet when COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise and the omicron variant is making its way across the country. While CES doesn’t rely solely on big names, it’s a large draw for people attending and where we often see announcements from big tech. You can’t help but feel the wind has been taken out of their sails.

CES is offering digital-only registration for those who would like to attend the show virtually, instead of traveling in person to Las Vegas. At this point, it seems wise to switch over to a fully virtual event that embraces all the big and little names on one platform in a democratized environment, just like last year. Seems the best way to avoid a chaotic event.