CES2022: Cars, Cash, COVID

By Holland Cooke


LAS VEGAS — “Just imagine where we would have been the last two years” without technology like streaming, Zoom, tele-health, e-commerce, and other trends-already-in-motion that accelerated during the pandemic. In his State of the Industry address, Consumer Technology Association president/CEO Gary Shapiro acknowledged speed bumps we’ve hit along the way, admitting that “innovation is messy. It takes us out of our comfort zones” (as radio people know well).

Despite the acrimony that seems to dominate social media, he believes that “technology can unite us.” And with platforms having banned Donald Trump, members of Congress, and other disinformants, Shapiro calls for “reasonable guidelines and shared rules-of-the-road,” and he asks regulators to “stop punishing companies – especially American companies – for success.”

“Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions, Zero Congestion”

Keynoting remotely from the stage of the historic Fox Theater in Detroit, General Motors CEO Mary Barra outlined her company’s “zero-emission carbon neutral future,” by 2040; with all GM plants weaned over to renewable power by 2025.

There’s already lots of buzz for Ford’s new F-150 EV. And words cannot describe the competing Silverado EV Barra introduced at CES. You can reserve one now at, then sit tight. The first model will be a $39.9K work truck available in spring 2023; with a luxury “fully loaded” RST version by fall 2023. They feature 4-wheel steering, 10K lb towing capacity, “go zero-to-60 in four and a half seconds,” run “at least 400 miles on a full charge;” and you can add 100 miles in 10 minutes at public charging stations.

“We’re at the tipping point for electrification” with these vehicles, which, themselves, double as charging stations for work sites and camp sites. Chevy Equinox and Blazer SUV EVs will also in roll-out in 2023.

Bye-Bye Cash: Digital Payments are Soaring

This session began with what’s now a rhetorical question: “Which would be worse to forget and leave at home: Your wallet or your iPhone?” Panelist Neha Wattas from JP Morgan noted that $5 trillion in sales moved online during COVID.

5 Trends in the New Normal:

  1. DIY Your Purchases: “Self-checkout is not just for supermarkets anymore.” 48% won’t shop without contactless payment.
  2. Leave your wallet & keys at home: Apple Wallet, BMW’s digital car key, vaccine passports, and other e-credentials are now business-as-usual.
  3. Personalization: “Customers want to be seen as individuals.” Loyalty programs can now analyze data and reward in real-time.
  4. Retail My Way: “Order anything from anywhere with any device.” Post-shutdown, we’re sticking with curbside and store locker pickup; and home delivery “across all verticals.”
  5. Payment Alternatives: 62% prefer making in-store purchases digitally/no-contact. With Apple Pay, Google Pay, Bitcoin apps, et al, we’re accustomed to walking around with less cash. Only a few hands when up when the moderator asked “Who has more than $25 on you?”

Memo to radio sales: Tout how local advertisers accommodate these preferences.

Coping with COVID

Just shortly before the Las Vegas convention the National Association of Broadcasters had planned for October, when the Delta variant was rampant, it canceled. NAB says they’re on-again for April; and after this week, I will be comfortable attending.

What CES 2022 demonstrated is that Las Vegas can-do big meetings again, in ‘Vegas style. The protocols and precautions were well-organized, and point to commonsense ways that we will coexist with Coronavirus, as we do with influenza. Sadly, we will have to.

We won’t leave this virus behind, the way we canceled polio and smallpox. Doctors I’ve interviewed for my TV show and other public health officials say that too many vaccine holdouts have, mathematically, prevented us from reaching COVID herd immunity. Perversely, this speaks to the power of talk radio, which applied reach and frequency to anti-vax falsehoods.

 “But WAIT…there’s MORE!”

If you missed any of my TALKERS coverage from CES here are columns from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; and you can listen to my radio reports at, where you can also download my monthly newsletter, which will include additional CES notes next month.

Holland Cooke is author of the E-book “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