With the Omicron variant of COVID continuing to spread, brands and media outlets are cancelling or pulling back on plans for in-person attendance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, including General Motors.
“We have decided to move to an all-digital approach with our activation at CES 2022 in January,” GM said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “CES is an important technology platform, and we are continuing with our plans on Jan. 5 to share our significant company news including the reveal of the Chevrolet Silverado EV.”
General Motors CEO Mary Barra was originally scheduled to deliver an in-person keynote address. The automaker now plans to debut the all-electric Chevrolet Silverado EV via livestream.
T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert cancelled his keynote and said Tuesday that the carrier will have only limited participation in the show, which will take place January 3-8.
“While we are confident that CES organizers are taking exhaustive measures to protect in-person attendees and we had many preventative practices in place as well, we are prioritizing the safety of our team and other attendees with this decision,” the company said in a statement. “T-Mobile will continue to serve as a CES sponsor and title sponsor of the DRL Championship Race but the vast majority of our team will not be traveling to Las Vegas.”
Google and Waymo, Amazon and its Ring unit, Facebook parent company Meta, Twitter and Pinterest have also said they are pulling back their involvement.
But Consumer Technology Association President Gary Shapiro told Barron’s on Wednesday that the show will go on, and he has confidence that attendees will be safe.
Attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination, and registrants will be given self-test kits when they pick up badges, with instructions to test before visiting any conference site. Masks will be required at all CES events.
“I will be much more comfortable at CES with fully vaccinated people wearing masks than I am at my local grocery store where neither masks nor vaccines are required,” Shapiro told Barron’s in an email.
Fewer than a few dozen companies canceled and 61 additional companies have signed on to exhibit since Friday.
Qualcomm and Sony are still planning in-person product debuts.
Hyundai stills plans to participate in person as of Thursday. The automaker is planning a January 4 press conference featuring Don Jin Hyun, vice president and head of the Robotics Lab at Hyundai. it will announce its latest robotics innovations and vision, including the global debut of Mobile Eccentric Droid (MobED), an all-new mobility platform designed for complex use cases.
Some media outlets are scaling back on attendance. iHeartMedia has canceled its annual party at the show. TechCrunch, The Verge, CNET, Engadet, TechRadar and CNN are skipping live coverage of the show, according to Barron’s.