LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — CES, the world's largest tech convention, has been pared back during the omicron coronavirus surge as big tech giants like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and more pull out or go virtual.
For the little guys, start-ups and growing companies, day one of the convention has been an opportunity to get out of the shadow of big tech companies and into the spotlight.
"This is their time to shine," CES Spokesperson Allison Fried said. "These are people who have brilliant, innovative ideas that are trying to get it to market, and that market is at CES."
The Max Powers start-up, which has created a little black box to connect to the web, store data remotely, and protect that data, is one example of a business that has moved from the back seat to prime real estate due to the lack of big exhibitors.
"This is the second time I'm here, and it's wonderful as I actually get to be in the North Hall," he said. "It's not very common for start-ups; we are usually in the Venetian."
Yushkuvich said the exposure is crucial for small businesses like his, especially in an environment where everyone is looking to network.
"It's nothing for the Microsofts," he said, "but I need to find new, like-minded people who would be willing to try my solutions. So, if I canceled, it would be a death blow to my company."
The Core company, offering real-time body heat thermometers for athletes, is in a similar situation.
"Our technology can be embedded in other wearable devices, and that's why we're here," said Chris Blomfield-Brown.
The Sweden-based company came to CES to mingle and sell. Both goals have been aided by the increased visibility on the show floor.
"Probably, they can find us easy this year," Blomfield-Brown said. "The downside is the attendance is down. The upside is the conversations are good quality and high impact."
CES will run for two more days after being shortened a day as a COVID-19 safety protocol.