The rocky CES has become a warning sign for the live events circuit, indicating that not everyone is ready to return to in-person conferences. However, this does not mean that brands should give up showing up in 2022; They just need to plan better.
Austin-based SXSW, a festival in support of media and technology, has issued a notice that it will continue with an in-person show and a virtual component in March. Meanwhile, brands that pulled out of CES in Las Vegas, such as LG Electronics, still plan to send people to the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Orlando in February.
Events and marketing leaders are also looking forward to Cannes in June. And there are arrogant events that are causing quite a stir, like NFT.NYC, which was a huge hit among crypto entrepreneurs in 2021. The schedule remains full for now, even if other events are in doubt, with the Grammy Awards postponed indefinitely. , E3 and the Sundance Film Festival go online.
The omicron wave of COVID-19 has forced many companies to withdraw employees from attending CES. Major electronics companies, including LG, Lenovo, Panasonic, Google and Microsoft, pulled out at the last minute, leaving open spaces in usually crowded conference center halls. Usually about 170,000 people attend CES, which last year was forced to host an online-only show due to the pandemic. Consumer Technology Association regulators expected a much smaller number this year. Official numbers will be released after the show, but by all accounts Las Vegas lines were shorter, hotel lobbies were less crowded, and shuttle buses are easier to board.
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Despite the problems, CES was also a harbinger of how events could unfold, with attendees walking around masked and fully vaccinated, and organizers handing out personalized COVID-19 test kits. Even if tens of thousands, not hundreds, make it to Las Vegas, that would make CES one of the biggest in-person trade shows since the pandemic began.
“These events can happen responsibly, and CES has been the same,” said Roxy Vatta, chief operating officer of Infinite Objects, an NFT electronics display maker. “People were masked. They were very diligent with protocols. He was very organized.”
Fata was the only member of Infinite Objects to make it to CES, after the company pulled out like many others. Fata went to speak in one of the sessions at “C Space,” a small tech seminar inside CES, and stayed less than 23 hours. Fata said her stay at the Aria Hotel costs half the usual prices. “It was definitely worth it,” Fata said.
Fata and Infinite Objects have been represented at other live events this past year as well, including NFT.NYC and Art Basel in Miami in December. The company designs displays that display irreplaceable, symbolic artwork, and works with brands in this rapidly evolving space, which was also one of the cutting edge technologies at CES.