The 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicked off in Las Vegas last week, but the world’s biggest technology show was different this year as it welcomed visitors from around the world in the grip of the Covid pandemic.

Tech Guide’s Stephen Fenech, who was on the ground with smaller attendee numbers and reduced exhibitor stands, provides a run down of this year’s Show.

“Despite the smaller crowds and more empty space with companies like Lenovo, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Mercedes making the decision to withdraw from the Show, the halls still had the same buzz as previous years.

“Members of the media, retailers, analysts and smaller exhibitors also decided to stay away this year due to the Omicron Covid outbreak.

CES 2019 versus CES 2022. Photo credit: Stephen Fenech.

“But the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) had strict policies in place to keep both attendees and exhibitors safe.

“The Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Centre, where major brands like Samsung, Sony, TCL, Panasonic and LG are located, had lots of empty space between booths.

“Sony’s stand was mostly empty with exhibits on the edges of their space, but it appeared to be business as usual with Samsung, Hisense and TCL.

Empty spaces in the Las Vegas Convention Centre Central Hall. Photo credit: Stephen Fenech.

“Samsung once again had the largest booth at CES, but attendees had to check in and wait for an SMS before they could enter the stand. Media were allowed access at any time. But once inside there were also instructions to manage the flow of people inside.

“Some had direction arrows on the floor to ensure people were moving in the same direction rather than crossing paths and walking in opposite directions near other people.

LG booth in 2022. Photo credit: Stephen Fenech.

“LG still had a stand, but it was virtually bare and included signs with QR codes to link to product releases and past CES highlights. This was a big shift from CES shows of the past when LG had a wall of OLED screens and standing room only inside the booth.

“At one of the hall entrances there was a box with coloured stickers for attendees to fix to their badge to indicate to others how you would prefer to engage. A green sticker means you’re OK with handshakes, a yellow sticker means it’s only elbows and fist bumps while the red sticker meant no touching at all but happy to wave hello.

Photo credit: Stephen Fenech.

“Face masks were required to be worn indoors except when eating or drinking. And the extra space within the halls made it easy to social distance from others.

“This year also saw a new hall added to the CES exhibition space – the West Hall which is now the largest hall at the Las Vegas Convention Centre.

“Ironically, there is now more exhibition space than ever before for CES but the smallest number of attendees in a long time.

“Inside the halls there was still a good number of people, but it was easier to move around and get from booth to booth and move from hall to hall. Normally it takes a while to move around because of the sheer number of people and the lack of open space.

“There were still long lines to see exclusive demonstrations and popular products but nothing like we’ve seen in the past.”

This article was written in collaboration with Tech Guide’s Stephen Fenech who travelled to Las Vegas with support from LG, Samsung and Hisense.