Editor's take: As one of the largest annual tech conferences in the world, CES serves as a week-long launch pad for companies to demo their latest innovations for the coming year. Members of the press play a big role in the message delivery process. Having reporters on the ground to get hands-on time with gadgets and ask questions is immensely valuable. Quite frankly, it’s the sort of thing that simply can’t be replaced by a well-worded press release, product demos on YouTube or even a livestreamed keynote. As an informed consumer, I want to hear about what others like and dislike about a product, not just what the company wants me to know.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) on Tuesday announced that the 2021 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will be an all-digital experience.

As recently as last month, the CTA said it was planning to host CES 2021 as an in-person event, albeit with enhanced sanitation policies in place. But a lot has happened since early June and with new Covid-19 cases continuing to pour in at a record rate, it seems increasingly likely that we’re nowhere near the end of this thing.

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA, said it just isn’t possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas to meet and do business in person. “By shifting to an all-digital platform for 2021, we can deliver a unique experience that helps our exhibitors connect with existing and new audiences,” Shapiro added.

The CTA said it plans to return to Las Vegas for CES 2022 with an experience that combines the best elements of a physical and digital show.

Image credit: James Mattil