organizer. Many large tech companies have canceled plans to attend in person. The latest sign that CES is shrinking in size was Friday's announcement of a shorter CES.
As concerns have increased about international travel and indoor events, the sprawling exhibition floors will be open Wednesday. CTA had estimated that between 50,000 to 75,000 people would attend this week's conference by December, a drop from the 170,000 who attended the last event two years ago.
Some CES devotees remained unsure whether to travel or stay at home until last week.
In a December interview, Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands stated that an online CES was not the same as a real CES. "You have to see the products, and meet the people." However, Constantijn of the Kingdom of the Netherlands decided to return home a week later as the special envoy for Dutch tech startups. His country will send a barebones team to CES 2022. Many tech companies are sending a small crew to CES 2022, if any.
In January 2020, the last physical CES pumped $300 million into Las Vegas' economy. Many attendees wouldn't have known that the coronavirus pandemic was still months away in Central China. CTA hosted the conference online in 2021 because COVID-19 hospitalizations were on the rise around the globe and vaccines were not yet widely available.
Eight months ago, the trade group said it was ready to return to Nevada in 2022. However, it would also offer remote access to some of the exhibits online. Those who travel to CES must show proof of their vaccinations. They will also be provided with a COVID-19 testing kit. Inside, masks are required.
Alan Feldman, a former casino executive and fellow at the International Gaming Institute, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said that CES "is maybe the most important event economically of the year, in terms of conventions." Feldman stated that even a reduced event is "something to look forward too" for local restaurants, hotels, casinos, retailers, and entertainment personnel.
Many details about the omicron coronavirus strain remain unknown. This includes whether or not it causes more severe illness. Scientists believe that omicron spreads more quickly than any other coronavirus strains including delta.
Carolina Milanesi, a tech industry analyst, said that even if there is no pandemic to stop the party, "big industry events such as this are becoming less important than ever before" because digital technology has provided other ways to network and keep current with trends.
CES was once known as the Consumer Electronics Show. But Milanesi stated that CES has become less about finding the next generation of consumer gadgetry, and more about longer-term technology cycles like self-driving vehicles or artificial intelligence applications being incorporated into smart homes and cities.
Milanesi stated that "you no longer need to go to CES just to see what's in the Best Buy near your area by summer."
Investors and marketers are now focusing on new expo categories that revolve around digital assets, also known as non-fungible tokens (or NFTs), as well as space technology, food, and other tech buzzwords. Companies also plan to promote their vision for the next generation internet, which is a collection virtual worlds called the metaverse. However, this can only be done from the confines a physical convention floor.
Milanesi has been attending CES every year for ten years to keep up with tech trends and companies. But, public health concerns made her reconsider whether she would go this time. In mid-December, she made her final decision to attend. However, she plans to do it differently. She will be visiting the exhibition halls and skipping large speaking events that she can view from her hotel room.
She said, "I haven’t decided yet on cocktail hours." "This is a great reason to attend CES and to meet people face-to-face. People feel more at ease when they have a glass in their hands.