Five years ago, and seven months from now

OK, here’s an interesting meme that hit my Facebook feed the other day.

True, right?

I mean, unless you were some sort of crazy genius, chances are you couldn’t have predicted what 2020 would look like. I mean, remember when we thought wildfires in Australia would be the worst thing that happened this year? This video sums all that up pretty well.

Five years ago…

I honestly didn’t think things would be terribly different.  Having a little time to kill, I spent some time looking at the 2015 archives that I brought along to this version of the site and a lot of them would still really apply today. I mean, they do, certainly but we also have a lot of different stuff to think about.

Five years ago, we ate out, we went to trade shows, we got on planes, we traveled. Five years ago we went to the store and bought toilet paper any time we wanted to. We picked up clorox wipes any time too, and didn’t even stop to think about rubbing alcohol. Masks were for doctors and halloween.

Of course you could say the same about five months ago, and if we’re all careful and lucky, we’ll say the same thing about five months from now.

Speaking of five months from now…

All of the trade shows that would have defined our technical lives have been canceled this year. This includes NAB, AT&T Revolution, DISH Summit, CEDIA, and several prominent boat and RV shows. Of those, I guess I don’t miss CEDIA, because it’s gone downhill so much in the past few years. But there was going to be so much to learn at these shows and so many people to meet.

CES 2021: The elephant in the room

CES is, of course, the biggest consumer electronics show in the Western Hemisphere, although I argued that it actually was smaller than reported this past year.

Although there hasn’t been a massive amount of media coverage, there are plenty of people who want to advance the theory that CES actually helped spread the current pandemic. It’s complete theory, based on the fact that a lot of people came from China to Las Vegas, as did people from the Bay Area of California and New York City. For now it’s just a crackpot theory that “kinda” fits the facts.

Remember that China is a very big country, and that Wuhan is nowhere near the technology hub of Shenzhen. The two are about 1,000km (600mi) apart, quite a distance for a country that doesn’t let its citizens travel for no reason. It’s also worth noting that Las Vegas itself wasn’t a center of infection, as you’d expect it to have been if a lot of people got infected there.

But the point is…

The CES people still plan on going on with the show as scheduled. They claim there will be improved social distancing and improved cleaning. [Sidebar: what do you make of all the people who say they’re doing ‘enhanced cleaning?’ What kind of cleaning were they doing before? Scary.]

It’s possible that CES, in some form, could exist. It’s possible that enough people would be scared off that the show could be a lot emptier. The Las Vegas Convention Center’s new West Hall could be done by then, roughly doubling the amount of exhibit space. This new hall and hotel complex, on the site of the old Landmark Hotel, was well underway during CES 2020.

Looking back at the history of the CES show doesn’t really give us much of an idea about what the 2021 CES will look like, or if it will even happen. We may have moved past the need for them, at least in the short term. What do you think?

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.