The Consumer Electronics Show is the biggest show in Tech. For over 50 years it has been the place where the latest, coolest, craziest and most amazing gadgets were announced to the world. It’s where deals are done and the products that will appear on shelves in retail stores right across the world for the year ahead are found.
In 2020, 171,268 people attended – across industry (100,000), exhibitors and media (6,517). This was before the pandemic, but – many, me included, believe it was one event potentially responsible for escalating the spread of COVID-19. Of those 171,000 – 35.4% were from outside of the USA, so if someone brought it in, and it spread, it certainly got out.
The 2021 event was very different. In a world of lockdowns and stay at home orders, CES went virtual. Digital Only. The EFTM team stayed at The Star in Sydney for a “Vegas-like” experience, but folks, it was horrible. The time, the swims, the dinners and the company were great – but the CES Event was difficult to navigate, devoid of much information and generally without out own contacts and information gathered, wasn’t a patch on the real thing.
So, in May 2021 – we booked flights for CES 2022. This time, knowing what we’d been through, I chose to book for just myself and “Stig” – my cameraman Rob Locke. Rob has travelled the world with me for many years now, and loves the travel more than the events – so I knew he’d be up for it, but for Jolly, Flipsy, John or even our new contributors Scott and Daniel – this has been a tough two years. Better they spend time with families than be part of the guinea pig flights to the USA.
We assumed back then we’d be on the first flights out of Australia – January 1, seemed like a good date to open the borders! But in fact that happened sooner – so we’re far from that.
However, today, people question why we’re going. Because of Omicron the world is in a more than mild state of panic.
Several companies have withdrawn from the in-person CES event. Amazon, Google, Intel, Mercedes and a few more. The headlines around their exits have cast doubt on the whole event – but in reality, they’re a small percentage of the 2200 Exhibitors registered.
The floor of the Las Vegas Convention Centre will be a very different place, and we’ve no doubt there will be gaps, empty booths, and missing products.
But CES organisers are doing everything reasonable at this time to put on what we would call a CovidSafe event. Everyone there must be vaccinated. Everyone has to wear a mask, they’re even supplying Rapid Antigen Tests when you pickup your entry badge, and providing access to the PCR tests many attendees will need to get on a flight home.
NSW had over 20,000 new cases today. Hospitalisations are low, and that’s a testament to the Vaccination program in Australia. Going to the USA right now is just like visiting Sydney, or Brisbane – there is Covid, there are cases, you will need to keep your distance, wear a mask and be vaccinated to be safe.
That’s the decision we’ve taken.
We’re triple vaxxed. We have a box of fresh masks to ensure we can use 3-4 per day, hand sanitiser for taking with us around the show and within our office and studio on the show floor – and antiseptic wipes for the things we want or need to pickup around the show. We also have enough Rapid Antigen tests to take one every day and a half if we wanted to or suffer any symptoms. And we’re insured for any quarantine, isolation or health care we need in the USA.
In reality, the biggest risk isn’t getting Covid. It’s having to delay our flights home during Isolation, and not seeing our families as soon as planned and disrupting their lives because of it.
We’re ready. And today, we paid for fast results to a PCR Test (required within 24 hours of your flight) and both showed Negative, so – we’re good to fly!
Why are we going?
CES is the biggest tech event of the year. We want to find the fun and interesting gadgets from some nifty startups.
It’s literally my job. And I don’t believe it’s possible to do it well from behind a computer in Australia.
We want to see the new TVs with our own eyes, and see innovations in car technology, farming, boating, and smart home – you name it.
You’ll find all the announcements coming out of companies both physically and virtually at CES right here at EFTM.com.
And lock your TV on the Nine Network, with our coverage across The Today Show, Nine News and A Current Affair. You won’t find coverage of CES like this anywhere else in Australia.
In 2020 there were 558 Aussies at CES. This year, we know of just a handful. From a coverage perspective you’ll find it from us here at EFTM, Stephen Fenech at Techguide and just one other retail channel industry journalist will be on the ground.
As always, we can’t do it without the support of the tech industry. EFTM’s coverage of CES 2022 is supported by Intel, Vodafone, LG, Samsung and Hisense so keep your eye out for all our content about and for those companies.
Most of all, we need to learn to live with Covid. Getting Vaccinated, protecting the immune compromised and taking personal precautions like wearing masks and distancing – it’s what we can all do – at home, or abroad.