The Korea Herald


Firms switch strategy as 2021 tech shows go online

By Song Su-hyun

Published : Dec. 16, 2020 - 16:43

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Visitors walk around in the Las Vegas Convention Center in January 2019. (Photo by Song Su-hyun/The Korea Herald) Visitors walk around in the Las Vegas Convention Center in January 2019. (Photo by Song Su-hyun/The Korea Herald)

The year 2021 is approaching, but the tech world won’t have the excitement it used to have at the beginning of each year.

As the unrelenting pandemic forbids in-person tech fairs, where major brands used to unveil innovative new products and technologies, local firms seem to be adjusting their strategies for new launches.

The Consumer Electronics Show, the world’s largest event of its kind, which normally takes place in Las Vegas in early January, is set to be held on a virtual platform from Jan. 11 to 14, and participating companies are preparing to showcase their innovations online.

“CES 2021 will be making history, with our first all-digital show,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, which organizes the show. “This new experience will feature more than 1,000 exhibitors from around the world, showcasing the latest trends and innovation in artificial intelligence, 5G, digital health, smart cities, vehicle tech and beyond. Technology will move us forward and CES 2021 will illustrate how innovation paves the way for a brighter tomorrow.”

Ahead of the show, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics said the tech giants each won innovation awards from the CTA.

Samsung said it received four Best of Innovation awards, recognizing the highest level of innovation in the TV and mobile segments. The company won the award for next-generation displays and smart connectivity for 10 consecutive years, it said.

Including its Best of Innovation awards, Samsung snatched a total of 44 awards for products ranging from TVs, audio equipment and monitors to home appliances, mobile devices and semiconductors, according to the tech giant.

LG Electronics received a total of 24 awards, including two Best of Innovation awards, it said.

Those were granted for LG’s 48-inch organic light-emitting diode TV in the gaming category and its InstaView refrigerator in the home appliance category.

Its OLED TVs have received awards for nine straight years, since their launch in 2013, LG said.

LG’s electronic mask -- a combination of the firm’s air purifying technologies -- also won an award from the CTA. The company has donated the electronic masks to Yonsei Severance Hospital for its medical staff, who are fighting the novel coronavirus this year.

Both Samsung and LG, which used to occupy the most spacious areas at the CES offline venue, will hold online press conferences and virtual exhibitions to announce their newest products and technologies during the CES period next year.

On Tuesday, US time, the CTA unveiled the digital venue it has created together with Microsoft for CES 2021.

The association announced some details of the upcoming show, including the keynote speech lineup.

So far, confirmed CES keynote speakers include Verizon’s Hans Vestberg, General Motors’ Mary Barra, AMD’s Lisa Su, WarnerMedia’s Ann Sarnoff and Best Buy’s Corie Barry.

In addition to the keynote program, CES 2021 will offer more than 100 conference sessions over the network. One of the key sessions is “Privacy and Trust With Amazon, Google and Twitter,” featuring the chief privacy officers of each tech titan.

Exhibitors at CES 2021 include tech giants such as Canon, Hisense, Intel, Lenovo, Panasonic, Philips, Sony, TCL and Voxx, as well as nontraditional tech companies including Bridgestone, Caterpillar, Indy Autonomous Challenge, John Deere, L’Oreal and Procter & Gamble.

The physical event that usually followed CES was the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, in February.

However, MWC 2021 has been postponed to June 28 to July 1 next year. Its host, GSMA, is planning an in-person event.

Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s biggest mobile tech show in February was abruptly canceled.

GSMA is also planning to hold the MWC Shanghai edition from Feb. 23 to 25 as a physical event at the Shanghai New International Expo Center. The theme for MWC 2021 is “connected impact,” the organizer has announced.

By Song Su-hyun (