From the Vegas Scene to VIRTUAL Screen, it’s CES 2021
Virtual Platform Opens 2021 Trade Show Calendar as All-Digital CES Debuts

So, this country’s largest consumer electronics show will be entirely virtual this year, as the venerable International CES is a strictly-digital affair for 2021. Such is life in a pandemic, and a road we’re all, unfortunately, getting used to traveling down since early last year.
CES has always been a show that entices every sense, as the various show floors always offer so much to see, hear, touch, taste and even smell. For 2021, that will largely be limited to seeing and hearing, but there will be hordes of new products, provocative keynotes, engaging industry sessions and a plethora of new technologies that will take the CE space in many new and exciting future directions.
Thus, from Jan. 11-14, 2021, we suggest you keep the coffee brewing and your mouse ready to roll, as one thing is certain: there will be plenty to keep you busy, right from the comfort of your own home.
Are You CES-Ready? We wanted to take the pulse of a few folks from different segments of the CE industry regarding their feelings on this unique CES – what they’re excited about, what they’ll be looking for and how their CES approach will differ, not being at the show physically.
Greg Scoblete, a veteran CE industry journalist who has been covering CES for over a decade, explained both the negatives and the positives with the 2021 CES being a virtual event.
“Well, this is going to present some challenges, I can tell you that,” Scoblete began. “This industry is about handling, touching and seeing, up close and personally, the year’s new products and innovations. While it’s great that the show is happening, and I’ll take it under the circumstances, this will be a challenge.” Scoblete added that there are several things he won’t miss, citing the city of Las Vegas (in general), long cab lines, ambient and incessant casino noises and, of course, pressroom food. “I’ll miss being at CES… but I won’t miss being at CES, if you get my drift,” he added. Another veteran scribe of the CES wars, Theano Nikitas, is looking forward to taking in the annual tech extravaganza in a virtual format.
“I’m actually looking forward to a virtual CES since it will be easier to cover more of the show than I would be able to in person,” the professional photographer and journalist explained. “Transitioning to covering CES virtually will also be easy, given how relevant and frequent virtual briefings, presentations and launches have become during 2020.” Nikitas has a specific category she’ll be pointing her mouse toward, and as is always the case, she expects there’ll be lots of “technology distractions” along the way.
“While I’m most interested in photo and video products, especially new product launches, I’d like to expand beyond those two areas to look at the latest developments in technology including AI, as well as other product categories such as mobile devices and accessories,” she added. “Not having to spend half my time running from one convention hall to another certainly makes covering a virtual CES more efficient.”
She did add that, unfortunately, there are certain aspects of CES that can’t be duplicated virtually. “The ability to have hands-on time with new products, one-on-one conversations with vendors and the ability to try out and photograph new gear will be sorely missed,” Nikitas pointed out.
Intel News at CES Among the more significant announcements that have been made in the weeks leading up to the 2021 CES is the news that Intel will conduct a pair of news conferences, during which they will reveal some major news. On Jan. 11, Prof. Amnon Shashua, senior vice president of Intel and chief executive officer of Mobileye, will talk autonomous driving, and plans on “taking attendees on an intimate tour of his garage lab and connect today’s progress and technology with tomorrow’s vision.” Shashua will discuss the unique interplay between advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and the company’s autonomous vehicle technology, and how this connection has shaped Mobileye’s future strategy. Later that same day, Gregory Bryant, executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s Client Computing Group, will outline how Intel is executing and driving innovation in process technology, packaging and architecture to deliver more transformative computing experiences for consumers and businesses. “As we enter the era of distributed intelligence, computing is pervasive, and intelligence is distributed. Put simply: Everything looks like a computer and everything is in the cloud,” Bryant explained. During this conference, Bryant will expand on how Intel is delivering for its customers as the company embraces the incredible growth opportunities this current data revolution we’re experiencing has created.
Microsoft Platform CTA had announced back in October 2020 that it had selected Microsoft as its technology partner for this first-ever, all-digital CES. Microsoft will provide solutions, support and the underlying cloud technologies that will enable this all-digital event platform. “CES is a truly global event, unique in its scale and audience diversity,” said Karen Chupka, executive vice president of CES. “For an all-digital CES, we sought a platform that allows attendees from around the world to participate easily and securely.” “After a rigorous search process, we selected Microsoft for its technical expertise, global scale and experience in creating compelling digital event,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “Microsoft is a global innovation leader and longtime supporter of CES. We look forward to working with them to bring CES 2021 to the world.” Microsoft Corp. Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela added, “Digital events are an opportunity to re-imagine what’s possible. By harnessing the power of the Microsoft cloud and broader partner ecosystem, we’re excited to help CTA transform CES into an all-digital event. From hosting our own global, virtual-only events to empowering our customers and partners in leading theirs, we have a lot of learnings to share, and look forward to creating an event full of the compelling experiences that people have come to expect at CES.”
CES 2021 Keynotes
Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg will deliver the CES 2021 kickoff keynote address, discussing 5G as the framework of the 21st Century, the essential tech of the present and accelerated tech of the future to move the global community forward, such as telemedicine, tele-education and more.
Hans Vestberg is chairman and chief executive officer of Verizon Communications, a leading provider of wireless, fiber-optic and global Internet networks and services. Prior to assuming the role of CEO in August 2018 and the role of Chairman in March 2019, Vestberg served as Verizon’s chief technology officer and president of Global Networks from 2017, with responsibility for further developing the architecture for Verizon’s fiber-centric networks. At Verizon, he has focused on delivering seamless experiences for customers over network assets consisting of the country’s leading 4G LTE network, the largest 5G test-bed in the U.S., the nation’s biggest residential fiber network, a global internet backbone and undersea cable network carrying much of the world’s internet traffic, and fiber assets in 45 of the top 50 markets in the U.S.
Join CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro and CES Executive Vice President Karen Chupka, along with special guests, as they kick off CES 2021. They will discuss the tech trends shaping our future, how innovation has accelerated in the last year, and how to get the most out of your CES 2021 all-digital experience.
Gary Shapiro, President and CEO, Consumer Technology Association, directs a staff of more than 160 employees and thousands of industry volunteers, leading his organization’s promotion of innovation as a national policy to spur the economy, create jobs and cut the deficit. Karen Chupka, EVP CES, Consumer Technology Association, oversees the sales, marketing, production and management of CTA’s events and conferences including its annual CES tradeshow.
General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra will present the opening keynote address. Barra’s keynote will share a closer look at GM’s transformational strategy to advance mobility for communities around the world. Laying the foundation for an all-electric future is just the beginning.
Mary Barra has served as CEO of GM since Jan. 15, 2014, and Chairman of the GM Board of Directors since Jan. 4, 2016. Barra began her career with GM in 1980 as a co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division and has since held various roles within the company, including executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing & Supply Chain, vice president of Global Human Resources, and vice president of Global Manufacturing Engineering.
AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su will keynote during CES 2021, presenting the AMD vision for the future of research, education, work, entertainment and gaming, including a portfolio of high-performance computing and graphics solutions.
Dr. Lisa Su has held the position of AMD president and chief executive officer since October 2014, and she serves on the AMD Board of Directors. In 2014, Dr. Su was chief operating officer responsible for integrating AMD’s business units, sales, global operations and infrastructure enablement teams into a single market-facing organization responsible for product strategy and execution. Dr. Su joined AMD in January 2012 as senior vice president and general manager, global business units and was responsible for driving end-to-end business execution of AMD products and solutions.