One of the world's biggest tchnology conferencess CES will be online-only in 2021, the organisers have confirmed.

The event, normally held in Las Vegas in January, draws many of the biggest technology firms and is seen by many as a curtain-raiser to a year in tech.

Event organiser the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) says it is reimagining how to connect exhibitors, customers, thought leaders and media from around the world while prioritising health and safety. “We are excited to share that CES 2021 will be an all-digital experience,” it says.

“For more than 50 years, CES has been the global stage for innovation. And CES 2021 will continue to be a platform to launch products, engage with global brands and define the future of the tech industry,” it declares.

With the growing global health concerns about the spread of Covid-19, the CTA says it is not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person.

“An all-digital CES 2021 will allow the entire tech community to safely share ideas and introduce the products that will shape our future,” suggests the CTA. “You’ll be able to participate in all the awe-inspiring moments of CES wherever you are in the world. We are designing a unique experience for the tech industry.”

The CEA says that CES 2021 will offer a highly personalised experience:

  • Keynotes and conferences. “Now you’ll have a front-row seat for groundbreaking announcements and insights from the world’s tech leaders completely online.”
  • Product showcase. “With this digital evolution of the CES show floor, you’ll be able to explore products and services, based on your interests and business, through dynamic product showcases or live demos.”
  • Meetings and networking. You’ll be able to engage with the brands, thought leaders and business connections you care about with live interactions, meetups or roundtable discussions.”

“Technology has helped us all work, learn and connect during the coronavirus pandemic, and it has presented real solutions to help solve complex global challenges. We recognise that, particularly in these uncertain times, it is the partnerships of some of the most creative minds that bring the best solutions to life,” adds the CTA.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming the global tech industry, from international brands to budding startups, to kick off the year with the world’s most influential digital technology event,” it confirms, adding that it plans to return to Las Vegas for CES 2022, combining the best elements of a physical and digital show.

It joins a list of other high-profile technology conference in going virtual - including Web Summit in November and both this year's and the 2021 TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference.

The organisers of Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona in February, are currently still hoping for an in-person event.
Online conferences are both greener and cheaper, but delegates often complain that they miss out on making connections with others.

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