CES 2023 Revs Up to Full Speed, But...
It will be bigger than the shortened CES 2022, but not back to pre-pandemic size
For tech geeks who miss the good old days of CES (2020 and before) the prospect of seeing and touching cutting-edge gizmos and gadgets again is just the post-pandemic medicine they need.
For two years CES, formerly called the Consumer Electronics Show, limped along in watered-down forms, but for CES 2023 the hugs and handshakes—or at least fist bumps and waves—are back, and not a moment too soon.
But the show attendees will see Jan. 5 to 8 will be different than the last full-powered, in-person show in 2020 and it remains to be seen if that will be a good or bad thing.
According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which runs the show, CES 2023 will attract up to 100,000 attendees to Las Vegas; far more than the 45,000 that attended the shortened, pandemic-affected CES 2022, but way behind the 170,000 that attended CES 2020 months before the global pandemic shutdown. (CES 2021 was all virtual.)
During a virtual CES preview for the media, CTA CEO Gary Shapiro said the CES 2023 show floor would be 50 per cent larger than at CES 2022. What’s interesting is that while CES 2023 may have double the attendance as CES 2022, the number of exhibitors is expected to be about 2,400, a minor increase from the 2,300 that brought their wares to CES 2022. Both numbers pale in comparison to the 4,400 exhibitors that packed pre-pandemic CES 2020.
So what can CES 2023 attendees expect? New faces, new spaces and some addition and subtraction. Huh?
The CTA projects that about a thousand CES 2023 exhibitors will be first-timers—a clear indication of significant exhibitor turnover. It’s not clear whether the new exhibitors will take as much booth space as the ones not returning to the show.
However, many big tech names will be back, including Sony, Google, Lenovo, AMD, Microsoft, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, LG and Amazon. CES exhibitor categories such as digital health, food tech, the metaverse, agriculture, blockchain and crypto currency technology are growing, according to the CTA.
Heavy international participation will be back in 2023 with a huge presence from Chinese companies and special pavilions for exhibitors from France, Switzerland, Belgium and many other countries.
Returning for CES 2023 is the Indy Autonomous Challenge at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a head-to-head competition of driverless, remote-controlled Indy-class race cars developed by teams from multiple countries. The CES 2022 competition proved rather exciting with speeds reaching 165 miles per hour.
As for the addition and subtraction: CES used to completely fill the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), including the Central and North Halls and the massive, two-level South Hall. However, due to the limited number of exhibitors at CES 2022, South Hall remained vacant that year and won’t be used for CES 2023 either.
On the plus side, however, the LVCC added the gigantic West Hall structure during the pandemic years and this new space will be totally filled at CES 2023. Automotive, marine and agriculture exhibitors will make good use of West Hall’s 328,000 square feet of column-free exhibition space—one of the largest such spaces in the world—for the huge booths needed for their large vehicles and boats.
In any case, CES 2023 will not be small by any means. In addition to the LVCC, CES 2023 will spill over to the Venetian Expo (formerly the Sands Expo), the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and multiple other venues along the Las Vegas Strip.
Unlike the “old” days when CES had Las Vegas all to itself, CES 2023 will have to share the town with the National Football League’s Las Vegas Raiders, which have a home game at Allegiant Stadium on the last day of the show, and the National Hockey League’s Las Vegas Golden Knights, which play twice at T-Mobile Arena while CES 2023 is in progress.
So while lots will be changing at CES 2023, the rules for attending the show never change: Comfortable, broken-in shoes (never new ones); hand lotion, a water bottle, a power bank and/or extra batteries for tech gear—and lots of patience.
“Give yourself the time to walk around the show floor and learn new things,” said Shapiro toward the end of the press webinar.
Watch this space and follow @newyorkbob on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and my weekly Tech Tip in Sree’s Sunday Note for CES 2023 updates before, during and after the event.
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