With less than a week until the start of the show, two more car titans have joined the increasing list of significant firms opting out of an in-person CES. Mercedes said yesterday that it would be skipping the actual event. The firm stated in a statement “the health and safety of our customers, partners, staff, and visitors are our first concern.” “Unfortunately, given the current circumstances, due to the vast number of participants and the many country-specific restrictions, a solid, safe, and harmless planning for all participants are not possible.” We hate making this decision, but it is essential.”
BMW followed suit today, releasing a press statement announcing the switch to a virtual news conference. “For many years, the BMW Group has been displaying innovations at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas,” the automaker said in a statement. Due to the pandemic, all scheduled media activities at CES will be moved to a totally digital program live-streamed from Germany.” Meanwhile, Velodyne, a firm that makes lidar, released a lengthy press release regarding their decision this week, stating:
Due to the rise in COVID-19 infection rates, Velodyne Lidar will not be attending CES 2022 in person. Velodyne’s main goals are the health and safety of its workers, partners, and the public, and these were the key considerations in the company’s choice. In a statement to TechCrunch earlier today, IBM confirmed its decision to withdraw from the in-person event:
IBM will not be present on-site at CES in Las Vegas this year due to changing COVID circumstances and an abundance of caution. We are excited to take part in the event online. Panasonic, which had scheduled an in-person press conference for January 4, has also released fresh information. The corporation has switched to a virtual event and will only be present for a portion of the presentation.
GM, Google, Microsoft, AMD, OnePlus, MSI, Lenovo, Intel, T-Mobile, AT&T, Meta, Twitter, Amazon, Proctor & Gamble, TikTok, Pinterest, and a number of big media publications, including TechCrunch, are among the firms that have signed on. The choice to abandon ship due to rising omicron worries is likely to be particularly challenging for startups, which rely on showcases like CES to gain attention. However, an increasing number of small businesses that have taken the tough decision to remain at home approached me.
The Consumer Technology Association, which organizes CES, has said unequivocally that the exhibition will take place on January 5 (with media days on the 3 and 4). “CES 2022 will be in person on January 5-8 in Las Vegas with significant security measures in place, and our digital access is also accessible for individuals who don’t want to or can’t go to Las Vegas,” the organization stated in a statement released on December 22.
“Our objective continues to bring the industry together and allow people who cannot come in person to experience the wonder of CES through digital means.” The Las Vegas Review-Journal published an op-ed by CTA President Gary Shapiro titled “CES will and must go on in Las Vegas,” accusing the media of “tell[ing] the story primarily through their lens of drama and big name firms” on Christmas Day.