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CES kicks off in Las Vegas under the shadow of omicron

The CES fair, one of the most important in the technology sector, returns this week to the convention center of the city of Las Vegas. It does so after a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic (it was held virtually in 2021) and under the shadow of the omicron variant, which has led to numerous cancellations of both attendees and exhibitors in recent days.

It is a jug of cold water for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), organizer of the event, which hoped to make this event a symbol of the recovery of the sector. With many of the travel restrictions removed and high vaccination rates in many countries, everything seemed to indicate that this CES could once again show off part of the atmosphere of the previous editions.

CES was among the largest trade shows in the technology sector, with more than 180,000 visitors and more than 4,500 companies on display during a typical year. But in recent days, and given the increase in infections from the omicron variant, more than 120 large companies have canceled their presence at CES and several media have also decided to cover the ads remotely.

It is not just about taking precautions against possible infections. The organization this year has prohibited the attendance of any unvaccinated person and will provide two antigen tests to all attendees . Part of the problem is that omicron has also complicated the logistics of the event, with thousands of canceled flights and a lack of staff. Many international visitors have also found it difficult to get the PCR or antigen test that the US requires to enter the country due to the increase in demand for this type of test.

The result is that this CES will be in a certain way a hybrid fair, with some virtual conferences and press conferences, like last year, and others face-to-face like in 2019 and previous years. The number of exhibitors will be around 2,200 companies and the organization expects about 75,000 face-to-face visitors.

It will also be a shorter CES. The CTA has decided to eliminate the last day of the fair before the small public. To try to liven up the corridors and conference rooms a bit more, this year it will allow free entry to the fairgrounds.

TELEVISIONS, MOBILES AND CARS

Despite the problems, the CES this year will have the same flavor of past editions. It is a fair in which the main consumer electronics manufacturers show the products they prepare for the first half of the year and in which the image sector always plays a leading role.

Samsung, LG and Sony, for example, will show their new generations of televisions and monitors in the coming days, with a commitment to larger screens, higher resolutions and new advances in OLED, MicroLED and MiniLED panels to display images with greater brightness and contrast.

Although most mobile phone announcements are reserved for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, CES also serves as the stage to showcase some of the smartphones we see throughout the year. Samsung and OnePlus, for example, will take advantage of these days to add new products to their catalog.

In recent years, the CES has also become an important showcase for motor companies . The emergence of electric vehicles and advances in automation have blurred the boundaries with the technology sector.

This year, General Motors and Mercedes-Benz companies will take advantage of the Las Vegas event to present two new electric vehicles, the Chevrolet Silverado and the Vision EQXX concept vehicle. Both, yes, have chosen to do it in virtual format.

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