CES 2022: Google, Waymo, GM cancel in-person appearances over rising COVID-19 cases

US automaker General Motors, Alphabet’s Google and its self-driving auto-technology company Waymo on Thursday joined companies no longer attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) early next month, because of the COVID- 19 Infections are increasing.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra was scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the annual convention on January 5th, during which the company would have shown off its electric Silverado pickup truck for the first time. A spokesman said Barra would still deliver speeches and presentations remotely.

“We have decided to move to a digital approach with our activation at CES 2022 in January,” the US automaker said in a statement. “We continue with our plans on January 5th to share important company news, including the reveal of the Chevrolet Silverado EV.”

A Google spokesperson said in a statement: “After careful consideration, we have decided to halt appearances on the CES 2022 show floor,” adding that Google will continue to “identify and support virtual opportunities.”

Waymo said in a blog post that it hopes to attend the Las Vegas event virtually, if possible, which has traditionally brought more than 180,000 people from around the world to an overnight party to discuss emerging technologies and with business contacts. attracted to.

ByteDance-owned TikTok said it would organize a virtual event for partners and advertisers. Also on Thursday, Intel said it would reduce staffing at CES.

“The health and safety of our employees, partners and customers is always a top priority,” said the chipmaker. “Our plans for CES will move toward a digital-first, live experience with minimal on-site staff.”

Several other companies, including Facebook parent meta platforms, Twitter, Lenovo Group, AT&T, and Amazon, dropped in-person attendance plans earlier this week, saying they would not send employees out of caution over Omicron’s spread.

CES officials said the event would still be held from January 5-8 with “robust safeguards” in place, including vaccination requirements, masking and availability of COVID-19 tests.

“Our mission is to convene the industry and give those who do not have the ability to experience the magic of CES in person,” CES said in a statement. “CES 2022 will move forward as a key innovation for world health and safety, demonstrating mobility and solving problems.”

It said 42 exhibitors were canceled since last Thursday, which was less than 7 percent of the exhibitor floor and another 60 were added.

The Omicron version of COVID-19 was first detected in Hong Kong and southern Africa last month, sparking global concerns about a rapidly spreading new version of the virus. Wherever the highly contagious omicron has spread, coronavirus infections have increased, leading to new restrictions in many countries.

© Thomson Reuters 2021