Overview from Digital Trends: THE STORY: From 200,000 CES Attendees to JUST. An Empty Las Vegas Convention Center During CES
Read why ScanMyPhotos.com traveled to Las Vegas as the only in-person CES attendee.
This personal narrative explains why virtual trade shows and conventions still need people to (SAFELY) travel to support the cities safely.
An Empty Las Vegas Convention Center During CES
“It was as if a neutron bomb exploded. The economic calamity wreaked havoc,” reported Mitch Goldstone, CEO at ScanMyPhotos.com, who has attended CES for the past three decades.
Subject: A shell of its former self; what is the future of CES?
When it comes to trade shows, you either love or hate CES. The Consumer Electronics convention showcases the largest and most important tech convention of the year, which is the pinnacle of our year at ScanMyPhotos.
It gives us a chance to view the newest and most advanced technology on all fronts and helps us “skate to where the puck is going” when it comes to hardware that helps us store, secure, and retrieve our most precious memories.
So this year I couldn’t stay away. I ended up flying in for a few days to financially support Las Vegas in the doldrums of a long, dark winter to witness how things were going.
Las Vegas is closed. Rather than the bustling lines, cavernous showcases, and hands-on demonstrations of all the newest technologies, there was nothing.
Upon arriving at Las Vegas, it was clear the absence of an in-person CES was staggering. Everything from the quiet hotels to the deserted sidewalks to the empty Las Vegas convention center, made things feel like a ghost town. With the entirety of CES now occurring virtually, I asked myself a single question: Will CES ever return?
I think it has to if only to ensure that Las Vegas can survive as an event center. But why?
CES is an integral part of the tech ecosystem.
It’s a fair, a circus, and an educational opportunity that delivers a quarter-billion dollars to the city, and offers a moment to catch up with old friends and make new ones. It’s a chance to network, expand your reach, and build a business. And it’s vital.
It was as if a neutron bomb exploded as the largest U.S. trade show switched to Zoom
Without the glitz of Las Vegas and the endless convention halls, CES is just another Zoom call, just another video stream. I’ve hit conference fatigue and I know you probably have, and I noticed that this year the excitement was lacking everywhere. Nothing amazing happened at this year’s CES and if we continued to depend on virtual events, nothing ever will.
I hope for the day we can roam those busy halls again, getting hands-on experience for all the newest tech we could bring back to ScanMyPhotos, but it is entirely plausible that next year’s CES may be canceled as well. What would happen if in-person events went away entirely?
I’m of a generation that — sometimes — likes to see a customer eye-to-eye. I think there are many more like me. I love working from home, I love the freedom it brings, and I think you do, too. But one day we’ll want to walk some crowded halls, buy $25 soggy lobster rolls from a food truck, and see the future under the harsh fluorescent of a desert palace dedicated to the newest of the new.
And we’ll appreciate what was missing when Covid-19 took that away from us.
And as I go through my photos of past CESes – dinners (at the now-shuttered) Joël Robuchon, the lights of the strip twinkling over the desert, the clanging slot machines caught in a moment of revelry – I know I’ll want to come back. The question, then, is not why but when? And I hope it’s soon.
Ask away for the rest of the story and why we created an advocacy campaign for once it is safe, we must get back on airplanes for ‘economic patriotism’.
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