LAS VEGAS (AP) — Thousands of people have gathered in Las Vegas for a tech conference that’s been scaled back because of COVID-19 pandemic precautions.
The floors of the CES gadget show opened Wednesday with conference attendees required to wear masks and show proof of vaccination.
“We know that this CES is going to be different,” said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association, the event’s organizer. He spoke during a ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch the show.
The trade group hasn’t disclosed attendance numbers but said it expects tens of thousands of people for the multi-day event, though not nearly as many as the 170,000 who showed up for the last physical CES two years ago. This year’s expo features 2,300 exhibitors from 19 countries, CTA said.
A number of big tech companies pulled out ahead of the show amid concerns about the rapid spread of the omicron coronavirus variant. Some of those companies are still participating digitally.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra spoke virtually from Detroit for a keynote talk Wednesday. A last-minute cancellation took celebrity Paris Hilton off the schedule for an in-person panel discussion Wednesday about the digital assets known as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.
“Some people were surprised” that Hilton wasn’t there, said Amy Stroud, an NFT enthusiast who was in the standing-room-only crowd. CTA didn’t immediately respond to a question about her absence.
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