Giant CES trade show to be virtual in 2021 – Silicon Valley

Usually at this time of the year, I am preparing for my annual trek to Las Vegas for CES. This is a large technology trade fair where nearly 200,000 people usually spend a few days in a bulging hotel room and eat greasy convention food.Rub your shoulders

Larry Magido

On a very crowded show floor. I’ve been at CES, Comdex, or both since 1981, so it’s been 40 years since I didn’t go to Las Vegas in late fall (when the now obsolete Comdex computer show was held) or early January. .. For CES.

But I’m not in Las Vegas, but I’ll “participate” in the online CES from January 11th to 14th.

As always, this year’s conference will showcase many TVs, including LG’s new MiniLED TV line. It has been reported to pack more LEDs into a smaller space for increased brightness. In 2021, many AI (artificial intelligence) products are expected to be launched for both home and business users.

Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Technology Association, which sponsors CES, told VentureBeat a lot of news about 5G broadband wireless networks at the event, a number of 8K TVs, and “enterprise technology, health technology, robotics, enhanced reality and virtual reality,” And the “drone” is a bit like what we saw at CES last year. I suspect that there is more interest in “medical technology” than usual, but even if COVID-19-related products are displayed on a virtual display, it may be of suspicious value.

Home entertainment products have always been at the heart of CES, but I feel that this year’s interest may grow as most people are only receiving entertainment at home. Since the pandemic, I’ve been spending more time in front of 4K TV than any other way. It also has a great soundbar, so it’s nice to be able to enjoy surround sound at home instead of in the theater while watching premiere movies such as HBO’s Wonder Woman 1984 and Disney +’s Soul.

CES is also where you can find many appliances and utensils. This is an area of ​​increasing interest these days.

Also read about Houston screens for trade shows

Not the first big virtual technology event

CES is not the first big tech event to take place online since the pandemic broke out. Almost all meetings have been virtualized for the past nine months. Some, like Apple’s product announcements, are definitely better online than actually giving a well-made presentation where you can see the product without having to sit in a crowded auditorium in long lines. There is. The only thing I missed with Apple’s big iPhone announcement this fall was being able to actually spend a few minutes on a new phone and chat with Apple executives, but in reality it’s not possible to rate a phone in minutes. can not. Test in real life. Executive interviews at these events rarely provide great insights.

Microsoft, Google, and many other companies have also hosted developer meetings and product launches online, but CES is so large that it’s different. According to the show’s sponsor, the Consumer Electronics Association, there were more than 4,400 exhibitors in 2020.

In some respects, it’s easier to take notes (you can even record your presentation and take screenshots) and look forward to Virtual CES. You can also see more products in a much shorter time. In a real CES, it can take an hour or more from one reservation to another due to congestion, confusion in the layout of the exhibition hall, and the distribution of exhibits between venues, such as buses, taxis, ubiquitous rides or very long walks. ..

Don’t miss big product announcements from Samsung, LG, Toyota, Sony and other big companies. They are usually in large ballrooms and auditoriums with hundreds of people to see one-on-one interviews and products up close or pace. To that end, virtual events are just as good, if not good.

And don’t miss the big flashy booths where companies spend millions of dollars attracting so many people with products that aren’t so close. For example, when you get close to a new super-large, high-definition, ridiculously large, stratospheric-priced TV, you don’t really know what it will look like in someone’s living room. Except for the size difference, almost all CES TVs look the same when viewed from the show floor. Also, you cannot check the quality of your audio system. That’s because unless you live in a cement factory or an airport parking lot, the background noise is far beyond what’s in the living room.

What I’m missing out on is the “party” of large presses such as CES Unveiled, Showstoppers, and Digital Experience. Vendors showcase their products at the table, giving the press (sometimes with drinks and food) the opportunity to see and touch the new product. Also, miss the opportunity to talk to fellow journalists and analysts. Their point of view always helps to separate hype from new products that it finds useful.

We will also miss a one-on-one meeting where company executives will see and touch the products on the market later this year. Many of these conferences will be held at CES2021, but current conference technology does not cover them.

Never miss a wacky product like Charmin’s Rollbot, a robot that lets you take toilet paper with you when you need it, or GoDogo, which provides entertainment and “mental stimulation” to your dog. Search for “Wacky CES Products” and you’ll find some other interesting examples.

One of the things I shouldn’t miss is getting sick. Long before COVID-19, it was not uncommon to return from CES with a cold due to the enormous number of people from around the world, as well as the proximity to normal trauma associated with travel and sleep deprivation. Both the Nevada Public Radio and the Las Vegas Review Journal have articles that speculate that CES2020 may have been an early spreader of COVID-19. American Public Media even suggested that COVID “may have been cultivated during CES and was sprayed around the world when participants returned home.” One expert speculated that it could be associated with a relatively large number of early cases in Santa Clara County, home of many high-tech industrial workers who participated in CES. However, one infectious disease expert points out that “there are other possible explanations.”

Anyway, happy new year. There is really light at the end of the tunnel, but the next few months are important as we wait until we, our family, and our friends and neighbors can be vaccinated. A year later, I hope I will write about my next trip to Las Vegas.

Larry Magid is a technical journalist and internet safety activist.

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