In this file photo taken on January 10, 2019, attendees walk through the hall at the Sands Expo Convention Center during CES 2019 consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Agence France Presse/Robyn Beck)
Consumer Electronics Show organizers on Tuesday reversed course on plans to go through with the massive annual gathering in Las Vegas, saying it will go digital due to the pandemic.
The Consumer Technology Association had been exploring the potential of going ahead with the annual gadget extravaganza with precautions such as mask-wearing.
"Amid the pandemic and growing global health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it's just not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person,” said CTA chief executive Gary Shapiro.
CES is known to attract tens of thousands of people, and the original plan to host a real-world event bucked a trend of live conferences being cancelled due to the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
The show, one of the world's largest trade events, historically involves throngs of attendees packed into ballrooms, show floors, conference centers, and shuttle buses during the multi-day event.
The coming CES will be an online event delivered to "the comfort and safety of your home or office," the CTA said in a release.
"Technology helps us all work, learn and connect during the pandemic -- and that innovation will also help us reimagine CES 2021 and bring together the tech community in a meaningful way," Shapiro said.