Tech luminaries from around the world addressed the challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic and put forward their revolutionary solutions as we face an unpredicted future.
The year 2020 was so full of changes and disappointments that it is no wonder we began 2021 eager for things to return to normal. That certainly was not the case for my CES experience in January.
The annual international Consumers Electronics Show has become a regular activity on my calendar at the start of each year, and I was especially looking forward to this year’s convention for several reasons. First, it would be my 10th CES in Las Vegas. Second, I missed the 2020 event because I traveled to Phoenix to officiate a bar mitzvah.
While I was able to attend this year’s CES, it was certainly a change from past experiences. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which produces CES, made the difficult decision of making this year’s show fully virtual. I am glad they were able to still convene the world’s best tech showcase, but virtually attending from home was vastly different than being in Las Vegas and being able to touch the cutting-edge tech gadgets and futuristic electronics.
Surprisingly, this was one of my favorite CES experiences yet. That must sound surprising since it lacked the sights, sounds and feels of a typical CES. However, this year, I found myself much more available to sample the panel discussions, lectures and new product presentations (I also didn’t have sore feet from walking miles around the convention floor).
Tech luminaries from around the world addressed the challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic and put forward their revolutionary solutions as we face an unpredicted future. I learned a new term from a leader at Procter & Gamble, who referred to the way tech companies have been forced to adapt this past year as “constructive disruption.”
It was fascinating to hear some of the world’s most creative and innovative technologists explain how they were forced to shelve the products they had been working on for years to quickly create the new technologies our world required as we battled a global pandemic. I heard government leaders explain their role in helping to democratize high-speed internet and ensure the infrastructure was in place for 5G. I was intrigued by how rapidly the field of digital health has been growing and how new technology owes so much to space exploration.
I remain in awe of how the CTA was able to pivot so quickly to a fully virtual show this year. I learned a lot and truly experienced a different aspect of this phenomenal tech show. Hopefully, next year I will be back in Las Vegas and will be able to have a tactile CES experience once again.