Big tech names withdraw from Las Vegas CES conference

Amazon, Facebook and Twitter are among firms to announce that they will not send teams to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), due to take place in Las Vegas in January.

It comes as concerns grow about the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Other firms, including Google and self-drive unit Waymo, still plan to attend.

The organisers said the conference would run from 5 January for four days, with health precautions.

Those will include proof of vaccination, mask-wearing, and on-site Covid testing.

Attendees will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and the organisers recommend a test before departing for Las Vegas, as well as within 24 hours of entering one of the venues.

A digital event will run alongside the in-person one, with access to conference sessions, keynote speeches and networking.

CES is one of the technology calendar’s busiest weeks, where firms show off new gadgets and talk through trends. It takes place in hotels and convention centres around the city, and has previously attracted more than 180,000 visitors

Last year it was held as a virtual event, with the Consumer Technology Association – which runs the event – saying it was “not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people”.

At the time, organiser Gary Shapiro told the BBC that he hoped 2022 would see a return to a real-life gathering, albeit one with social distancing and hygiene measures at its heart.

“There’s a thirst for human contact. It may not be hugs and handshakes right away. And hopefully there’ll be other events before ours so we can see the best practices. But we will be different,” he said at the time.

Web Summit, another big technology conference, went ahead in Lisbon in November, but with a reduced attendance.

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