One of the world’s biggest technology trade shows will open as an in-person event this week despite ongoing concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant.
CES officially opens in Las Vegas on Wednesday, with organisers saying the event’s “comprehensive health measures” will help protect attendees.
Those attending the show in person must show proof of vaccination as well as test negative for Covid-19 less than 24 hours before entering a CES venue, with masks also required throughout the show – and organisers have cut the convention from four days to three as a further measure to help stop the spread of the virus.
The show, usually attended by more than 100,000 people and thousands of tech businesses, is often used by some of the biggest names in the industry to announce new products and was set to return to an in-person setting having been entirely virtual in 2021 because of the pandemic.
These virtual tools are being used again this year, but organisers had urged those able to do so safely to attend in person.
However, in recent weeks a number of companies, including Google and Microsoft, have confirmed they will not attend physically and instead take part virtually, but the show’s organisers have remained buoyant and said new exhibitors have continued to sign up, and that it was important for the industry that the show goes ahead.
“As the world’s most influential technology event, CES is steadfast in its pledge to be the gathering place to showcase products and discuss ideas that will ultimately make our lives better,” said Gary Shapiro, the head of show organiser for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
He added: “We are shortening the show to three days and have put in place comprehensive health measures for the safety of all attendees and participants.”
The CTA has pointed to the importance of the convention for smaller companies and start-ups, many of which rely on the show as a way to meet potential investors and generate media coverage for their devices.
During the show, tech giants including Sony, Samsung and LG are all expected to make product announcements, with new high-end televisions, smartphones and robots often among the products unveiled during the event.