CES presses ahead with in-person tech conference despite dropouts

The organisation said it has received 42 cancellation notices from exhibitors but that it has added 60 new ones since last week. — AFP

The Consumer Technology Association pushed ahead with plans to host the annual CES technology conference in person next month in Las Vegas, despite cancellations from several major tech companies and exhibitors.

"CES 2022 will go forward as important innovation for world health and safety, mobility and solving problems will be exhibited,” the trade group said in a statement. "Furthermore, thousands of smaller and medium sized companies rely on CES for their business.”

Over the past few days, exhibitors like T-Mobile US Inc and Meta Platforms Inc have curtailed plans to attend the gathering in person. Other high-profile attendees, such as Amazon.com Inc and Twitter Inc, won’t be going either. But the CTA said Wednesday that the cancellations add up to less than 7% of its exhibit floor. The organisation said it has received 42 cancellation notices from exhibitors but that it has added 60 new ones since last week.

Lenovo Group Ltd, one of the largest exhibitors at the annual showcase, announced later on Wednesday that "after closely monitoring the current trends surrounding Covid,” it has decided to "suspend all on-site activity in Las Vegas.”

The CTA added the "vaccination requirement, masking and availability of Covid-19 tests - coupled with lower attendance and social distancing measures” give it confidence that "attendees and exhibitors can have a socially distanced but worthwhile and productive event in Las Vegas.”

But organisations aren’t relying only on the physical event; there will be an online version of CES for those not attending in person. "Registrations for both our digital access and our Las Vegas event are continuing to show strong momentum, with thousands more registrations in the last few days,” the CTA said. – Bloomberg

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