Monday Memo: CES, Carefully

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Like most conventions a year ago, CES2021 settled for virtual. And just days before its October show here, NAB canceled, vowing to try again in April. But this week — even as the Omicron variant is scotching events and has states and cities reinstating relaxed pandemic protocols – we’re in Sin City, vax’d, boosted, tested, masked and toting the jug-handle-size hand sanitizer.

Don’t call it the “Consumer Electronics Show”

When you hear “CES,” you might think Panasonic and Sony, and they’re always prominent. But Procter & Gamble, John Deere, McDonalds, and others you don’t think of as “electronic” are increasingly about technology. So we media have been admonished accordingly since the Consumer Electronics Association changed its name to Consumer Technology Association, as tech things became mere vessels for user experiences.

Ever-pertinent, this year’s show features 100+ health companies among 2100+ exhibitors. And as this pandemic goes endemic – meaning, like the flu, we learn to live with it – CES has scheduled sessions about telehealth, delivery services, streaming entertainment, videoconferencing, and telelearning. And experts will describe what we should expect as life goes on.

Secretary Pete Buttigieg will present on the future of Transportation. There’s a day of food tech, exploring “The Future of Meat,” and “Tackling Food Waste” and “Welcome to Our Food Robot Future.”

Still, it IS gadget heaven, as we demonstrated on my TV show last time there was a-there-there. So, virus-wary as we are when 100,000 fellow nerds come from 100+ countries, I’m psyched.


Microsoft, T-Mobile, Google, Intel, Lenovo, TikTok and Meta sent last-minute regrets. Those of us who are attending are admitted only after entering vaccination dates and vaccine lot numbers into an app that verifies, and facial-scans before generating a QR code…THEN we’re issued two self-test kits: One as we enter, the other for going-home.

So I’ll be reporting here this week for TALKERS magazine and I’ll be Tweeting like crazy @HollandCooke. And help yourself to my daily radio reports at

Holland Cooke is author of the E-book “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download here; and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available exclusively from Talkers books. HC is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America.  Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke