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It’s a Wrap! CES Lived On

The excitement around Las Vegas kept building since the announcement of CES’ return to our Valley. Unfortunately, due to the instability of the current COVID crisis, things started to change. As many of the large exhibitors started to pull out, many were concerned that the show wouldn’t go on … but it did.

Safety was paramount; participants at CES had to show proof of vaccination before registering and upon picking up their badges. CLEAR was on the premises at the entrance, which made the process flow seamlessly, but the most popular item at registration was the COVID 2-test at-home kit provided with the badge, a highly coveted item for most.

It was great to discover that the companies and their staff in attendance were very pleased with their decision to power on and navigate through this uncertainty cautiously and with a positive outlook.

At the kickoff of CES, Las Vegas hosted a Smart City Project Showcase at the Las Vegas International Innovation Center, which was well attended by CES participants. Councilwoman Oliva Diaz enthusiastically shared all the amazing projects that keep Las Vegas at the forefront of innovation and state-of-the-art technology. Masks were worn, and both extra masks and hand sanitizer were made available during the event.

Some companies and organizations got creative and held private meetings to get attendees excited about their products. La French Tech hosted a mini press conference at one of the Suites at the Venetian, Green Tech and Eggs! The event was hosted by Phillipe Etienne, the France Ambassador to the U.S., and Clara Chappaz, the newly named director of La French Tech. Ambassador Etienne spoke about their strong presence at CES and the excitement behind their growing industry. Ms. Chappaz introduced their panel and shared their determination and commitment to attend CES. Representatives of NepTech, Innovafeed, and BeFC provided in-depth presentations about their products and services. Attendance was at capacity, but everyone wore their masks and had lots of questions for the panelists.

During my tour of the show floor, I came across a nice group filled with energy. Anne-Charlotte Neau, the head of marketing for Invoxia, said her team was looking forward to CES and they were all extremely thankful they made the journey. She added, “The show has been a great success, we won a CES Innovation Award for one of our products, which is a smart dog collar, the first all integrated biometric collar for dogs.” They came from France and did not know they were going to be able to make the trip till the last minute, which explains their excitement and energy. She said they felt welcomed and safe, masks were mandatory at the show and they didn’t mind the vaccination requirement. It has been two years since they were last here. “We really wanted to be here and were willing to go through all the measures to be able to come,” she said.

Wendy Lin seemed to share the same sentiments. She’s the manager for Dr. Fuji, a chair relaxation company headquartered in Freemont, California. Lin said that her crew was vaccinated and they had no concerns in staying the course and participating in CES. She added that although some say the attendance at the show was going to be lower than in past years, they continued to get a lot of traffic. They are definitely looking forward to returning next year.

Fitness seemed to be a popular theme throughout the Sands Show Floor. I stopped to converse with Dave Ponce, business development manager for Letsfit. Ponce indicated that they knew that because of COVID attendance would be low, “but it seems like the people that made the effort to come are serious buyers and not just ‘tire kickers,’” he said. “Even though the volume isn’t here, we see the quality of the people who are coming by is much higher.”

BMW brought the wow factor with their changing color vehicle and new futuristic features in upcoming models. There was a considerable amount of foot traffic at the LVCVA Halls and attendees appeared to be enjoying the LOOP Ride.

The SONY booth was quite impressive. David Rice from their corporate office mentioned that he believed they typically have one of the largest booths at CES and was happy to continue that tradition this year. He said their booth is pretty complex and FREEMAN does a great job every year to provide nice service. They didn’t have a problem following the proper protocols for safety. He said, “We had to provide vaccination proof and go through a CLEAR app that they made available to us that allowed us to pre-check-in. We are all masked and feel very comfortable.” He added that they knew traffic on the show floor was going to be down, but they were very busy and had a lot of interaction with the guests.

Some data shows that attendance was down about 73%, gauging attendance at around 45,000 and 2,300 exhibitors, compared to 171,000 attendees and 4,400 exhibitors at CES 2020.

Resilience in the face of difficult circumstances should’ve been the theme for CES 2022, as many of the exhibitors and attendees were determined to enjoy the show in hopes of a successful outcome.

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