The Show Must Go On

Article By : John Walko

Despite withdrawals, CES organizers push on with 2022 show.

Major corporations and influential speakers have started pulling out of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas between January 5-8 next year as a mix of in-person and online attendance, with the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 being blamed.

Last year’s CES was similarly impacted.

Even Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile U.S., who was scheduled to give the prominent keynote speech at the event, has announced he will no longer do so. And the operator he heads said it intends to “significantly limit” in-person attendance at the show.

In a statement on December 22nd, T-Mobile said while it was confident the organisers will be taking exhaustive measures to protect visitors and delegates, “we are prioritizing the safety of our team and other attendees with this decision.”

Other companies that are understood to have pulled out of in-person attendance include Meta (formerly known as Facebook) Twitter and Amazon, though the organizers insist the show will go on. They said the show will prioritise health precaution during the four-day event and insist on proof of vaccination and the wearing of masks for all attendees, and organise regular on-site Covid testing.

And the organisers maintain that thousands of entrepreneurs, businesses, media and buyers are still planning to attend the event, including top leaders from federal, state and foreign governments.

Meta said in a statement that “out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees, we will not be attending CES in person due to the evolving public health concerns related to Covid-19.”

Amazon put out a very similar statement.

Other companies that will now only have a scaled-back presence include AT&T and chip makers Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Advanced Micro Devices.

The latter is expected to reveal more details of its scheduled 5nm ‘Zen4’ Ryzen chips, which are expected to be officially launched later next year. The company is also scheduled to give a presentation on January 4th. There have been rumours that the new processors, likely to be made by TSMC, will offer a 40% improvement in performance over the existing Ryzen chips, and will compete against Intel’s hybrid 12th gen Alder Lake processors, which will also be made using a 5nm process.

Samsung, who in past years have made a very big presence at the show, said it was “closely monitoring the current health situation” and hinted it would have a much smaller delegation on-site than planned, but would increase its virtual presence. The South Korean company noted the keynote from its vice chairman and CEO J H Han will proceed as scheduled and “will focus on the group’s vision for a customized connected user experience.”

It added that it hopes to use the show to discuss industry collaboration and standardisation to make this happen as fast as possible and create new solutions to better integrate smart home devices.

The show is still scheduled to have a very hectic press day on the first day of the event, with conferences from companies including Nvidia, LG, Intel, Samsung, Hyundai, Sony, Qualcomm, and Hisense.

This article was originally published on EE Times Europe.

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