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The Consumer Technology Association has announced that CES 2021, which would usually take over Las Vegas in the new year, will be an all-digital experience connecting exhibitors, customers, thought leaders and media from around the world.

CES is one of many events going digital, due to the rapidly evolving environment and global challenges such as COVID-19. 

So, this week, we decided to speak with the Executive Vice President of CES, Karen Chupka.

Karen Chupka For The Consumer Technology Association (cta)

CES is one of the most important events in the world today and is far more than just another technology event. How has it evolved?

 

For over 50 years, CES has been the global stage for innovation, and this is the next stage of our evolution. CES transforms industries beyond the traditional tech space, reinforcing that every company is now a tech company. Companies across every major industry are using technology to transform their businesses. At CES 2020, the transportation story evolved with companies like Bell, Delta Air Lines, Brunswick, Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda and Bosch showcasing the latest technologies.

 

So, why have you decided to go digital?

 

Amid the pandemic and growing global health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it’s just not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person.

Technology helps us all work, learn and connect during the pandemic — and that innovation will also help us reimagine CES 2021 and bring together the tech community in a meaningful way. CES 2021 will continue to be a platform to launch products, engage with global brands and define the future of the tech industry.

 

Previously, the concept of an online-only event was frowned upon. However, times have changed. Do you think there are now more opportunities in digital events?

 

By shifting to an all-digital platform for 2021, CES can deliver a unique experience that helps exhibitors connect with existing and new audiences around the world. This new format 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.

However, nothing can truly take the place of face-to-face connections and discovery, and we look forward to returning to Las Vegas in 2022.

 

What are your views on events around the world being cancelled due to COVID-19?

 

It’s simply not possible to safely gather people indoors without a tested and widely available vaccine. Instead, we’re committed to producing the best possible digital event.

 

What does this mean for the future of CES; what can we expect in terms of format and focus?

 

Trade shows provide a five-sense experience that allows relationships to be formed, new products to be launched and discovery and serendipity to occur. The desire to meet and do business in person remains strong. CES 2021 provides us with the opportunity to focus on building a first-class digital experience for our attendees. We plan to return to Las Vegas for CES 2022, combining the best elements of a physical and digital show.

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