AFP, published on Sunday January 10, 2021 at 09:07 am
Neither crowd nor experiences of all kinds, the big annual tech show, CES in Las Vegas, will be entirely virtual this year, and will try to spice up this particular edition with the technologies it usually promotes.
The Consumer Electronics Show “is one of the most experience-enhancing events in the world, where attendees can actually see, touch and try out the latest innovations”, explains Jean Foster, spokesperson for the show’s organizer , the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
“If we can’t recreate the magic of Las Vegas, we can give our audience a new and unique digital experience,” she adds.
The show organizers therefore worked with Microsoft to build an online platform, helping exhibitors create video presentations, digital press kits and discussion forums to interact with attendees.
The goal: to maintain meetings and discussions by computer screen interposed.
The digital version of CES will be “a real broadcasting experience”, hosted by personalities from social networks and tech.
They will broadcast interviews, announcements, analyzes, presentations, deliver a daily recap and a summary of upcoming events.
Over 100 hours of CES are scheduled, and many events will be broadcast in multiple languages.
Artificial intelligence will have the heavy task of recreating the discoveries that usually take place at random during wanderings, and are so important during these shows. It should provoke meetings between the participants, based on the interests they have indicated in their profile, and the exhibitors who interest them.
– No time zone –
Press days will also be replaced by video conferences, broadcast live, from companies including Hisense, LG, Samsung and Sony.
Goodbye Las Vegas time zone, and its three hours delay on the east coast of the United States: the first events of the day will align with New York time, and will end in the evening.
The presentations will however be shorter in this digital version, whether they are press conferences or presentations by stars of the sector, which sometimes turn into real shows.
The videos will be immediately available for viewing on demand and will remain accessible until mid-February, according to CES organizers.
More than 300 people are expected to speak during the fair. Among the main topics, privacy issues and 5G.
The virtual exhibition hall will be open on Tuesday. Participants will be able to click on the online exhibition booths for demonstrations and discussions.
“A lot of companies put a lot of energy into creating a great online experience,” says Robin Murdoch at Accenture.
“One thing we have learned is that we want to try new things virtually,” he added.
– Return to Las Vegas –
But creating this virtual fair required heavy investments, because the ready-made solutions “did not correspond to the needs of CES” in terms of “chance, discovery, connection and the joy of learning”, explained the president. from CTA, Gary Shapiro, at a press briefing.
“Obviously we can’t recreate some elements that we have in Las Vegas like the game, the vibe and the human touch,” he said.
However, the organizers did not want any avatars from the participants wandering in a virtual CES world.
Despite this significant investment, there is no question in the years to come of keeping a fully virtual CES. The show aims to return to Las Vegas, and Gary Shapiro imagines for next year a hybrid event, between digital and physical.
“We love technology and what it brings,” he said, “but it’s not at all the same as being face-to-face”.