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Though the Covid-19 variant Omicron continues to surge, tech show giant CES returns to Vegas and is still taking place as planned this week. (To those of us in the conference and trade show biz—Rangefinder’s show component is WPPI and our parent company is Emerald—that is an encouraging and important piece of news!) The annual event returns to Las Vegas for the first time since 2020—CES 2021 was fully virtual—and while it will run one day shorter than planned (it now takes place Jan. 5-7), there are several safety protocols in place: attendees will be required to wear masks, show proof of vaccination and have access to self-test kits. There will also be limited access to the show floor.
In years past, CES has drawn around 170,000 attendees and 4,000 exhibitors; the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) released information stating that this year, more than 2,200 exhibitors have committed to the event and over 3,300 members of the media have registered for in-person attendance. A number of media organizations and prominent companies such as Amazon, Google, Intel, Microsoft, T-Mobile and Meta (the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp), among others, have all canceled plans to physically attend (though will still have a virtual presence)—but that is not impacting CTA’s agenda as CES returns to Vegas and on-site press conferences are taking place now. (Head over to the CES website to view all of its current featured exhibitors including Canon, LG, Samsung, Sony and many others. )
[Read: Money Management for Creative Minds: WPPI Speaker Susan Stripling’s Tips]
“CES 2022 will and must go on,” wrote CTA president Gary Shapiro on Linked In a little over a week ago. “[CES] will have many more small companies than large ones. It may have big gaps on the show floor. Certainly, it will be different from previous years. It may be messy. But innovation is messy. It is risky and uncomfortable. I view CES as representing the best of our unique American history—a place where those who are different and have big ideas can gather. Where success is not based on class or religion or anything but the strength of an idea.”
Shapiro went on to say that, “the bottom line is that we are living in uncertain times. We have spent some 20 months surviving—thanks to vaccines, the medical community and technology—in a virtual world. But as every CEO knows, we are humans. We need each other and we especially need each other for innovation to thrive!”
So what can one expect at CES 2022? CTA Vice President of Research Steve Koenig told CBS News that, “the pandemic stomped the gas on digital transformation,” stating, “5G and AI will be omnipresent at this year’s CES. These are older technologies, but [they] will be embedded in everything new. Expect gadgets and products to come with artificial intelligence, virtual assistants and other types of machine learning.”
[Read: How to Edit in Lightroom Using AI with Photographer Sam Hurd]
According to WIRED, which will be covering the CES 2022 event remotely, “a few emerging categories of tech will be highlighted this year, like NFTs. The automotive portion of the show has grown even more significant from years prior, and keynote speakers include GM chief executive Mary Barra and U.S. secretary of transportation Pete Buttigieg [virtually]. Digital health will still be top of mind, everyday household products will be infused with AI, laptop makers will do their best to make things interesting and, in case you haven’t had enough screens the past two years, there will be giant, brilliant screens.”
Still feel unsafe attending the physical CES 2022 show? No worries; you can join in virtually.
Rangefinder’s own show, WPPI, will take place in person at The Mirage in Las Vegas February 27-March 3 (WPPI 2021 was held there last August and it packed a punch!). Discover the lineup of speakers and classes that were recently announced and register here.