According to a press release dated today August 18, in-person attendees to the CES show in Las Vegas Nevada will require proof of vaccination, period. The show, which is expected to be held in person in January 2022, is taking proactive steps to recover from the misstep that was the 2021 CES.
What was so wrong with the ’21 show?
The ’21 show was intended to be the premiere of the new West Hall, which would allow the entirety of CES to be under the same roof for the first time in years. Instead, show organizers waited until July to announce that the show would be all-digital. This left little time for organizers and exhibitors to react. Remember that most of the major exhibitors plan their experiences 18 months or more in advance.
The result was a few keynotes that were sufficiently well produced, and a lot of small breakout sessions that were essentially zoom calls (like we needed more of those.) The exhibit experience was replaced with a beefed-up online directory. It read more like 2008 MySpace than anything else. The world’s largest tech show, if you ask me, was an embarrassment. You can read more in our archive of the show coverage I did at the time.
How ’22 is expected to go
CES ’22 is expected to be a hybrid online/in-person event. If you’re comfortable being on the show floor, there will be enhanced protocols. Expect wide aisles and one-way paths to keep traffic under control. Expect chairs to be set further apart. And, they say the airflow is better.
And of course, the vaccinations and masks. Masks are required indoors in all public indoor spaces in Las Vegas as I write this. I’m not sure how the CES folks will handle proof of vaccinations. To be honest I don’t think they know yet. It’s too easy to photoshop a fake vax card. If you’re coming from outside the country that’s another whole thing. I mean, every country’s standards are different. I’m glad I don’t have to be the one to figure it out.
It hasn’t been clearly stated if “vaccination” means one dose of any vaccine, two doses of a two-dose vaccine, or if it will mean that rumored third booster shot which may be available in this country but not in others. It’s kind of a mess and I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.
The cynicism has commenced
I’ll admit that my enthusiasm for CES waned years ago. They never really did grow past being the “land of big flat televisions.” I’ve said before that I’m less convinced that the world needs CES. Like the Olympics, it’s a dated concept that assumes that you can’t just tout your achievements when you make them. The idea of waiting a year, and picking a place, where we all come together seems about as forward-thinking as a fax machine.
We are here now, as I write this, in mid-August, and you still can’t register for CES. You can reserve a hotel, but that’s it. Once again CES seems to be playing catch-up, hoping the demand will be there when they figure it out. I hope so too. I hope that the online component of the show will be better. We should all hope that the whole thing is as safe as they want it to be. I hope the show bounces back. It needs to find its mojo again. The show, born in 1967, has found itself in middle-age and needs to figure out how to live in a modern world. Hey, we’ve all been there. I’m rooting for them, I really am. I just don’t know if they’ll be able to pull it off.
I’d like to remind our commenters that this is not a political blog. There’s a lot to talk about when you get into vaccines, masks, and all. I welcome strong opinions, I do. But this isn’t the place to get partisan. Please comment on your feelings about CES. Leave the other stuff for another social media site, if you please.