Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg will deliver the opening keynote at January’s CES, but not in its usual cavernous Las Vegas setting.
The event, slated for January 11-14, has gone all-digital due to concerns about the coronavirus. In non-pandemic times, the lack of social distance is a trademark of the massive confab, which draws hundreds of thousands of attendees. Conference-goers have included a growing number of Hollywood and advertising executives as technology continues to blend with traditional entertainment and media.
Vestberg will discuss 5G as “the framework of the 21st century, the essential tech of the present and
accelerated tech of the future to move our global community forward,” according to a press release.
The digital format will enable the speech to be viewed globally, a first for a CES keynote. The keynote slots are usually reserved for major newsmakers. Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman last year used one to tout the launch of Quibi. Reed Hastings took the stage in 2016 to announce that Netflix would launch in 130 additional countries, becoming fully global.
“CES 2021 will digitally convene innovators and business leaders from around the world, showcasing tech changing lives for the better on a global scale,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, which stages CES. “Technology is not only connecting us to one another, but is providing solutions to many day-to-day challenges created by the pandemic and that innovation is helping us reimagine CES 2021.”
Vestberg, who became Verizon’s CEO, said the keynote “will demonstrate the vital role that mobility, broadband and cloud — or the world’s 21st century infrastructure — has played in connecting the world this year.”