September 23, 2011

Weekly roundup: The future of sharing, tech’s next gen and mini Estée Lauders

Posted by: in North America

-Google expects Internet usage to surge in India over the next two years, according to The Wall Street Journal.

-As leaders met at the U.N. to discuss the spike in deaths from noncommunicable diseases, The New York Times looks at the implications of Chinese and Indian drug makers gaining the ability to make cheap copies of biotech treatments.

-Time reports on Science Without Borders, Brazil’s initiative to send students focusing on areas of strategic national importance to study abroad.

-Four ways Chinese businesses are redefining customer service, per Fast Company’s Co.Design blog.

-New U.S. Census data confirms the emergence of a “lost generation,” reports the Associated Press.

-Gaming for social good: This week, a crop of video gamers helped scientists make a breakthrough in AIDS research, according to Fast Company.

-MIT’s Technology Review looks at “the next generation of technology,” spotlighting 35 innovators under 35.

-Facebook’s newly announced Timeline “reveals the future of sharing,” says Charlene Li, positioning the site “as a platform for storytelling and meaningful engagement,” argues Brian Solis. The network “wants to be a force that shapes what you watch, hear, read and buy,” reports The New York Times, while ReadWriteWeb says it signals a move toward an “integrated, real-time Web” that’s experienced in tandem with others.

-The annual Green Gauge Report from GfK finds Americans somewhat less prone to green concerns and behavior, according to Ad Age. Meanwhile, a European Commission study finds that global CO2 emissions reached an all-time high last year.

-Online sales of luxury goods worldwide are forecast to increase by 20 percent annually through 2015, according to the trade group Altagamma, Warc.com reports.

-The daily deal industry is starting to “shake out,” reports The Wall Street Journal, as struggling services shutter or sell.

-As Netflix stumbled, Mashable spotlights a Mintel report that charts how the home video marketplace is evolving.

-Ernst & Young forecasts that the electric vehicles market will take a decade to reach critical mass.

-The New York Times previews the possibilities for the Google Wallet phone payment system.

-Tweens are taking a DIY approach to makeup, with “next-generation Estée Lauders” creating their own products and how-to videos, according to The Wall Street Journal.

-The Wall Street Journal profiles the “new generation of global jet-setters,” 20-somethings who game the frequent-flyer system and travel to far-flung locales.

-The Economist looks at the pet care boom in emerging markets.

-As the fall TV shows premiered, writer Hanna Rosin (of “The End of Men” fame) noted on WNYC that strong and quirky female characters dominate the primetime lineup.

-Employees rather than IT departments are increasingly dictating what tech they use, reports The New York Times.

-Newsweek measures women’s progress worldwide, looking at the best and worst places to be a woman worldwide.

-Our sister site, AnxietyIndex.com, looks at how one brand is responding to new gender dynamics in Mexico.

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Meghan McCormick - Emerging Media
Alec Foege - New York
Dylan Viner - New York
Sigrid Jakob and Rodrigo Maroni - New York
Marian Berelowitz and Nick Ayala - New York
Ann Mack - New York
Andrew Knight and Jessica Vaughn - New York
Patty Orsini - New Jersey
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Thomas McGillick- Sydney
Maria Orriols - Barcelona
Hajime Kato - Tokyo
Rasika Fernandes - New Delhi
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Gonzalo Franseca - Buenos Aires
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Ann Mack and Jessica Vaughn - New York
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Marian Berelowitz and Sarah Siegel - New York
Andrew Hwang - Emerging Media
Katerina Petinos - New York
Vannya Martinez - Mexico City
Ramon Jimenez - Madrid
Alex Morrison - New York
Sharon Panelo - New York
Ken Fujioka - Brazil
Katie Fitzgerald and Jessica Vaughn - New York
Andres Colmenares - Bogota
Carlos Fernandez - New York
Aaron Baar - Chicago
Russell Martin - Cape Town
Susie Uzel - London
Harsha Prag - Johannesburg
Sarah Siegel - New York
Ceren Coskun - Istanbul
Ben Hopkins - London
Peta Bassett - Bangkok
Marina Bortoluzzi - São Paulo
Nick Ayala - New York
Juliana Cubillos and Jessica Vaughn - Bogota and New York
Yael Shpiller - Tel Aviv
Deborah Frenkel - Melbourne
Alexandra Stieber - Atlanta
Marian Berelowitz and Will Palley - New York
Mariko Kataoka - London
Jessica Vaughn and Sarah Siegel - New York
Mennah Ibrahim - Beirut
Megan Foley - New York
Tobei Arai - Atlanta
Alex Pallete and Ramon Jimenez - Madrid
Jessica Vaughn - New York
David Linden - Emerging Media
Katie Fitzgerald - New York
Nina Hammerling Smith - New York
Sean Aaron - Emerging Media
Nina Yiamsamatha - Emerging Media
James Richardson - London
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Kimberly Douglas - London
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Tal Chen - Tel Aviv
Davina Wertheimer - Johannesburg
Colette Henry - Dublin
Christine Miranda - New York
Deanna Zammit - New York
Anil Bharadiya - Singapore
Marian Berelowtiz and Patty Orsini - New York
Ahmed Mahjoub - Dubai
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Marian Berelowitz and Christine Miranda - New York
Jordan Price - Tokyo
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Alex Brousseau - New York
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Marian Berelowitz - New York
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Things to Watch

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    April 23, 2014 | 2:15 pm

    Since we spotlighted the “emoji explosion” in Do You Speak Visual?, one of our 10 Trends for 2014, the tiny pictographs have only picked up in popularity. The Wall Street Journal got into the game with a tool that translates headlines into emoji, while Yelp’s mobile app now lets users search using emoji (an Italian flag, for instance, brings up a list of Italian restaurants). Twitter recently added emoji support for Web users (well after the White House started adding emoji to Tweets). The cute icons take a dark turn in video and print ads from PETA that depict cruelty to animals. Meanwhile, Apple has responded to complaints by pledging to make emoji characters more racially diverse. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: The Wall Street Journal

  • Uniqlo, H&M and Retail As the Third Space
    April 15, 2014 | 4:30 pm

    “Retail As the Third Space,” one of our 10 Trends for 2011, is rapidly accelerating: As digital commerce becomes habit for consumers, brick-and-mortar is increasingly focused around experiences, unique environments and customer service, giving shoppers new reasons to visit retail spaces. Uniqlo’s flagship in New York is a good example. A newly renovated floor incorporates a Starbucks (a favorite brand among teens) and, as MarketWatch reports, “lounge sofas, tables and chairs and an iPad station, allowing shoppers to stay and mingle.” Thanks to a partnership with the nearby Museum of Modern Art—resulting in a range that uses images from famous artists—the floor’s design is museum-like, with T-shirts in framed display cases.

    Another recent example in Manhattan is H&M’s flagship, which opened in late 2013, which one writer dubs “The most retail fun you can have with your clothes on.” For more on Retail As the Third Space, find our 2103 report Retail Rebooted here. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Uniqlo

  • Bitcoin middlemen
    April 10, 2014 | 2:45 pm

    Given its volatility, security issues and legal concerns, merchants interested in accepting bitcoin have a lot to worry about, especially with the possibility (as some see it) that looming regulation could upend the entire system. To mitigate the risk and open merchants up to new revenue streams, startups such as BitPay and Coinvoice make it easier for companies to accept the cryptocurrency.

    These payment processors act as middlemen: A shopper pays in bitcoin, but the merchant can decide whether to be paid in bitcoin, fiat currency, or a combination. This allows companies to shield themselves from the uncertainty of the currency or to dip a toe into accepting it as payment. Until bitcoin becomes more stable and regulated, payment processors such as these will be a safer option for merchants. (For more on bitcoin, see also our post on the Inside Bitcoins conference.) —Nick Ayala

    Image credit: BitPay

  • Delta’s Innovation Class
    April 3, 2014 | 2:15 pm

    Delta’s new Innovation Class allows the influencers of tomorrow to spend a flight with a current industry leader—the airline calls it a “mentoring program at 35,000 feet.” The first mentor was Pebble smart watch creator Eric Migicovsky, on his way to Vancouver for the recent TED conference, who was paired with visual artist James Patten, a 2014 TED senior fellow. The next flight, in May, will feature chef Sean Brock as he heads to the James Beard Awards.

    While Innovation Class isn’t the first such initiative, it’s the first to leverage existing social networks on LinkedIn, where potential seatmates apply to Delta. The program illustrates creativity in using the plethora of touch points marketers have access to and can leverage to create valuable experiences both online and off. —Matt Goldenberg

  • Virtual reality rugby
    March 27, 2014 | 1:00 pm

    While the Oculus Rift headset doesn’t yet have a launch date, brands are already using the virtual reality platform to amaze consumers. To promote Game of Thrones, HBO made fanboys’ dreams come true at this year’s SXSWi with an experience that took viewers on an immersive trip up the show’s famed “Wall.” And U.K. phone company O2 has created “Wear the Rose,” a rugby training experience that combines footage from GoPro cameras with an Oculus headset to give fans the experience of training with England Rugby.

    “Rugby balls are thrown at you to catch, charging players run at you to teach you tackles, and at one point you find yourself in the middle of a scrum,” writes Eurogamer. O2 recently debuted “Wear the Rose” at a stadium match and will showcase it in select U.K. stores starting in June. —Aaron Baar

  • Security as a USP
    March 20, 2014 | 12:45 pm

    As we note in our wrap-up of SXSWi, security is fast becoming a unique selling proposition. Rather than treating it as an afterthought and scrambling to compensate if user data is compromised, more tech companies will build highly secure environments for their users from the start—selling security as a point of differentiation until it becomes a right of entry.

    The secure-communication app Wickr is offering up to $100,000 to any hacker who can crack its defenses and is selling a suite of six privacy features to developers and apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp. Another such app, Telegram, offers a bounty as high as $200,000 to anyone who can crack it. Meanwhile, the upcoming Blackphone is described as “the world’s first smartphone which places privacy and control directly in the hands of its users.” —Ann Mack

  • Watson, AI and customer service
    March 13, 2014 | 1:45 pm

    IBM has been promoting the commercial applications of Watson, its artificial intelligence service, with CEO Ginni Rometty announcing a Watson challenge for mobile developers at the recent Mobile World Congress. Rometty also noted that North Face is testing a website that incorporates Watson intelligence to answer customer queries, as seen in this video of an IBM demo at the MWC. Watson could serve as a “personal shopping concierge” for e-commerce brands, as Ad Age put it.

    At this week’s SXSW in Austin, where IBM has Watson powering a food truck to demonstrate its multifaceted potential, an IBM exec talked up Watson’s potential in the customer-service arena. We’re seeing the beginnings of a world where artificial intelligence powers (and personalizes) an array of brand interactions with consumers. —Marian Berelowitz

     

  • Spritz
    March 7, 2014 | 5:00 pm

    Slate may have to adjust the Minutes to Read feature on its articles. In line with our Age of Impatience trend for 2014, Spritz is a new reading app that uses a new visual technology to help people read at Evelyn Wood speeds or faster.

    Pinpointing the “Optimal Recognition Point,” at which the brain begins to recognize numbers and letters, the program highlights that space for each individual word and places it at the same place on the screen, reducing eye movement. The program can push reading speeds up to 500 words a minute. (You can see it in action here.)

    Sprtiz will be available on Samsung’s new line of wearable technology. —Aaron Baar

    Image credit: Spritz

  • Virtual fitting rooms
    March 4, 2014 | 11:45 am

    PhiSix, a 3D virtual technology company recently acquired by eBay, plans to bring more of the outside world into physical stores’ dressing rooms in an effort to increase sales. We’ve reported before on websites that offer 3D virtual try-ons at home and brick-and-mortar stores that have become living, breathing websites. But PhiSix’s technology takes the virtual fashion experience one step further, allowing shoppers to see how specific items of clothing look on them, in a variety of sizes and contexts, without actually trying them on. With PhiSix’s computer graphics, which will be made available to third-party retailers, shoppers will be able to enter a store dressing room and view themselves wearing clothing in a number of active settings (e.g., swinging a golf club, walking down the street). The technology also recommends other items to consumers, based on a few basic measurement inputs. Although virtual try-on technologies, which have existed for a while, haven’t succeeded in displacing trying on actual clothing, PhiSix’s sexy timesaver may draw more shoppers into physical retail outlets. —Alec Foege

    Image credit: PhiSix

  • Daily Mail’s Just the Pictures app
    February 25, 2014 | 3:15 pm

    The U.K.’s Daily Mail, whose digital content is dominated by photographs, is planning to release an app called Just the Pictures that strips out the text for smartphone readers—or non-readers, in this case—who are looking for snackable content while on the go. At a Mobile World Congress panel in Barcelona, Melanie Scott of the Mail Online said the app will be out in March. Per Scott, the Daily Mail’s current iOS app attracts about a million daily users in the U.K., and they’re opening it four or five times a day for 12 minutes at a time, largely for the pictures. 

    Just the Pictures is another sign of images replacing words in our increasingly visual culture, one of our 10 Trends for 2014. For more on how this trend is affecting the mobile platform, watch for our annual mobile-trends report in April. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Daily Mail

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