Updating: CTA head Gary Shapiro has offered Gadgets Price the following updated statement,
More than 2,200 companies have been confirmed to personally attend CES 2022 in Las Vegas. Our focus remains on bringing the tech industry together and giving those who cannot attend in person the opportunity to experience the magic of CES digitally. CES 2022 offers companies around the world, both large and small, the opportunity to launch products, build brands and forge partnerships. Given CES’ extensive health measures – vaccination requirement, masking and availability of COVID-19 tests – coupled with lower attendance and social distancing measures, we are confident that visitors and exhibitors can have a socially distancing but worthwhile and productive event in Las Vegas, or while experiencing it online.
In recent years, the presence of cars at CES has grown enormously. It’s not quite an auto show, but as more automakers adopt a technology-first approach, it certainly feels like it’s coming. Tonight, however, General Motors became the latest in a long line of top names to save themselves from a personal presence at the massive Consumer Electronics Show.
“We have decided to move to an all-digital approach with our activation at CES 2022 in January,” the company said in a statement. “We will continue with our plans on January 5 to share our important company news, including the unveiling of the Chevrolet Silverado EV.”
It’s a big change for a company with a large planned presence, including a keynote speech from CEO Mary Barra, as well as the personal debut of the electric Chevy Silverado. According to the company, Barra now plans to let her talk remotely. GM is not the first car brand to reverse its plans, but it is the largest. It follows similar announcements from Waymo and Intel, which has a significant presence in the form of Mobileye. Notably, US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg will currently be interviewed by Qualcomm President and CEO Cristiano Amon.
Other major recently fallen dominoes include Google, Lenovo, T-Mobile, AT&T, Meta, Twitter, Amazon, TikTok, Pinterest and Casio, as well as a number of prominent media outlets. Other companies, including Nvidia, had planned a virtual-first presence from the start. After narrowly dodging the first wave of COVID-19 in early 2020, CES was expected to be a big return for in-person tech events — albeit one more muted than in years past.
However, the persistence of the ommicron variant of the virus has changed plans for a number of companies, large and small. However, when we last spoke to the CTA earlier today, the show’s governing body still planned to go ahead with the event, taking advantage of heightened security measures, including vaccine mandates.