July 12, 2013

Two-week roundup: The primacy of images, privacy ‘jumps the shark’ and the ‘Age of Techno Anxiety’

Posted by: in North America

Find our roundups collected in magazine form on Flipboard, the iOS and Android app; download the app to view this week’s edition here: http://flip.it/GJ1IO.

Due to Independence Day office closures, this roundup covers the past two weeks.

-Writing in Harvard Business Review, Jeffrey F. Rayport argues that with traditional marketing methods increasingly ineffective, human experience is advertising’s new medium.

-In a Wall Street Journal essay, Francis Fukuyama attributes today’s political turmoil to unmet expectations among newly prosperous and educated citizens.

-After more than two years of war and turmoil, an Economist special report asks whether the Arab Spring has been a failure.

-The New York TimesNick Bilton explores how images are starting to form a new type of language in the digital realm.

-Privacy has “jumped the shark,” says New York’s Frank Rich, arguing that today’s America “prefers to be out there, prizing networking, exhibitionism, and fame more than privacy, introspection, and solitude.”

-A TechCrunch writer argues that the biggest threat to privacy is not online but in the physical world.

-The New York Times spotlights the rise of “countersurveillance fashion.”

-GigaOM makes a case for a sliding scale of privacy online.

-The Economist takes a look at the expansion of tech startups around the Arab world.

-The New York Times reports on a study that explores why Asian Internet companies aren’t succeeding on a global scale.

-With China now the biggest smartphone market, homegrown smartphone brands are challenging Apple and Samsung, reports The New York Times.

-The Atlantic discusses China’s growing problem of caring for its elderly.

-Americans are living longer but not healthier, according to The Wall Street Journal.

-The Wall Street Journal reports on the expansion of health clinics in American workplaces.

-The AP looks at the American trend toward hiring freelancers, consultants or contract workers rather than full-time employees.

-Pew studies the rise of single fathers in the U.S. The Atlantic asks what this trend means for fatherhood. (Also see our June report, “The State of Men.”)

-More evidence of our Marriage Optional trend: Projections show that by 2016, a majority of British children will be born to unwed mothers, per The Telegraph.

-Japan’s national mood is on the rise, as is interest in playing a larger role on the world stage, according to a Pew study.

-Americans are feeling less inclined to engage in international issues, according to a study from Pew.

-A Nielsen global survey finds that with rising discretionary income in many growth markets, “consumption is expanding beyond the everyday basics.”

-The Economist takes a look at how retailers are adapting to the threat posed by e-commerce giants.

-USA Today examines why some U.S. apparel brands are leaving China and “reshoring” their manufacturing.

-More men are “finding lessons in their grandfathers’ wardrobes,” says The Wall Street Journal. (See our “State of Men” report for more on “retrosexuals.”)

-With gender lines continuing to blur, The New York Times spotlights the popularity of suits tailor-made for women.

-Bloomberg takes a look at how retailers are responding to the trend toward mother-daughter clothes shopping.

-The latest edition of “Monitoring the Future,” a survey of young Americans, looks at how the Great Recession has affected attitudes among high schoolers.

-USA Today explores the long-term impact of student loan debt on Millennials’ lives.

-ABC News takes a look at a new crop of Millennial-targeted media networks.

-Today’s TV shows are bringing a big-screen sensibility to the flat screen, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

-A Mashable infographic spotlights how we discover and consume music today.

-With the advent of self-driving cars, cities may start looking very different, as The New York Times reports.

-As demand for automotive apps skyrockets, The New York Times looks at the rise of a high-tech culture in Detroit.

-A New York Times news analysis explores “The End of Car Culture.”

-More hotels are looking to lure locals interested in various amenities rather than an overnight stay, reports The Wall Street Journal.

-Quartz magazine checks out the smartwatch market and outlines some trends.

-The watch industry is growing even as wristwatches become superfluous, as MarketWatch reports.

-The New York Times reports on three high-tech glasses released this year that aren’t Google-related.

-The Atlantic deconstructs the De-teching trend, the “Age of Techno Anxiety” and “the new New Naturalism.”

-The Economist explores books related to Visual Fluency (one of our 10 Trends for 2010) and the “revolution” in visualizing information.

-The New York Times takes a look at how food brands are catering to rising interest in Asian and Latin flavors among a more diverse American population.

-Ad Age reports on trends evident at this year’s Fancy Food Show in New York.

-The Economist looks at the brunch craze among Mumbai’s ultra-rich.

-Exotic berries of all shapes, colors and sizes are having their moment in the produce department, according to The Wall Street Journal.

-The Economist takes a look at how changes in coffee consumption are affecting crop farmers.

-Amid fears of milk safety in China, wet nurses are becoming more popular, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

-British consumers are choosing butter over margarine these days, reports The Guardian.

-The AP examines “marijuana’s march toward the mainstream” in the U.S.

-Europe is adopting even stricter bans on tobacco products.

-This week we launched the JWTIntelligence iPad app, which brings our trends intelligence to life for the tablet. For more information, click here.

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  • The #TimsDark Experiment
    October 14, 2014 | 3:46 pm

    To entice customers into tasting its new dark roast, Canadian fast food chain Tim Hortons, with the help of JWT Canada, created a surprise immersive experience. A store in Quebec was wrapped in material that blocked all light from the outdoors. Patrons entered warily and, once inside, heard a staff member (who was wearing night vision goggles) guiding them through the dark. At the counter, customers were handed a cup of the dark roast—the brand’s first new blend in 50 years—with the darkness heightening their sense of taste. When the lights came on, the patrons saw they were on camera.

    The #TimsDark Experiment has garnered YouTube views and some press attention, and shows how creatively imagined immersive experiences—one of our 10 Trends for 2014—can encourage consumers to engage with a brand.

  • Bitcoin bank Circle
    October 7, 2014 | 4:40 pm

    Circle

    In late September, the startup Circle launched a web app that effectively functions as a bitcoin bank. Using a debit card or bank account, users transfer funds to Circle, which converts the money to bitcoin at no fee. Circle also insures this money at no cost. The company aims to make bitcoin more accessible via consumer-friendly design and is aiming to take on traditional banks and companies like PayPal, as The Guardian reports. Next up: Android and iOS Circle apps.

    Circle co-founder Jeremy Allaire gave a keynote at the Inside Bitcoins conference in April, citing the need for a “killer app” to bring bitcoin into the mainstream. Now Circle seems to be taking the lead, and others are sure to follow. —Nick Ayala

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  • High-tech tasting
    October 2, 2014 | 6:00 pm

    Nanosensor

    Thailand got a lot of buzz this week with an innovative idea: a taste-tester robot, or electronic tongue, that’s programmed to distinguish authentic Thai dishes from wanna-be’s. Artificial tongues aren’t new but have been evolving. Most recently, Danish researchers developed a nanosensor that mimics “what happens in your mouth when you drink wine,” enabling winemakers to control astringency very early on. In Spain, researchers created a beer-tasting robot that can distinguish between varieties of brew.

    Meanwhile, advanced technology can also create recipes: IBM has touted how Watson, its “cognitive computing system,” can analyze the components of ingredients to come up with novel ideas for dishes; find a few of them here. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Aarhus Universitet

  • Marriage gets marginalized
    September 25, 2014 | 5:00 pm

    One of our 10 Trends for 2012 was Marriage Optional: More people around the world are living together or remaining solo instead of marrying. Pew reports this week that 1 in 5 Americans age 25 and up have never married, a fundamental shift since 1960, when only about 1 in 10 could say the same. Millennials are especially ambivalent: Two-thirds of 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed by Pew agree that “society is just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children” vs. 53 percent of the next generation up (age 30 to 49).

    Europe is seeing a similar move away from marriage, driven by “austerity, generational crisis and apathy towards the institution,” notes The Guardian. It says weddings are at historical lows in some nations; last year Italy recorded the fewest since World War I. For a look at how changing marriage patterns are affecting families, see our report Meet the New Family. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: JD Hancock

     

  • Room-sharing service Breather
    September 16, 2014 | 3:30 pm

    Breather

    Described as the “Zipcar for rooms,” Breather is an app that enables access to “beautiful, practical spaces” that can be rented anywhere from 30 minutes to a whole day. While sharing-economy players like LiquidSpace and PivotDesk offer work and meeting spaces, Breather positions its rooms as homey spots that can serve a range of purposes (though not, the founder assures, seedy ones). Rooms include the basics—a desk, a couch, Wi-Fi—as well as some fun touches like a candy jar. Lockitron technology lets users unlock doors with their mobile phones. Breather is available in New York, Montreal and San Francisco, and recently raised $6.5 million in venture capital, citing plans to “own every major market in America.” —Hallie Steiner

    Image credit: Breather

  • Barco Escape’s immersive screens
    September 11, 2014 | 4:15 pm

    Maze Runner

    Escape is a triple-screen system from Barco that “allows you to truly be in the movies, not just at the movies”—in line with the rise of immersive experiences, one of our 10 Trends for 2014 and Beyond. Audiences at five U.S. locations and one Belgian cinema will get their first taste of the concept with next week’s release of The Maze Runner, about a group of teens trapped in a massive maze, which will feature about five minutes of immersive footage at key moments. ScreenX is among the other multi-screen, multi-projection cinema experiences we’ve highlighted. —Aaron Baar

    Image credit: Maze Runner

  • “Smart” personal safety
    September 2, 2014 | 6:01 pm

    Defender

    Earlier this year we wrote about the Guardian Angel, a pendant that alerts emergency contacts whenever wearers feel unsafe, created by JWT Singapore. Smart technology is addressing personal safety in other ways too. The Defender is a smart pepper spray that works in tandem with a mobile app, taking a picture of an attacker while contacting authorities. It’s in the final week of an Indiegogo campaign that has well exceeded its goal. Similarly, First Sign has crowdfunded a smart hairclip that detects physical assault, records the evidence and sends for help.

    Meanwhile, college campuses are embracing a more basic form of this tech, encouraging students to download apps like Rave Guardian and Circle of 6, which enable a chosen network to monitor a student’s GPS location during a night out. In a different vein, students at North Carolina State University made headlines last week for their Undercover Nail Polish, which changes color in the presence of “date rape drugs.” —Allison Kruk

    Image credit: The Defender

  • Nestlé’s animal-welfare standards
    August 28, 2014 | 10:00 am

    Nestle

    We wrote about rising concerns over treatment of the animals that people eat back in 2012 as brands including Burger King, McDonald’s and Hellmann’s pledged to institute more humane practices. We also included Humane Food among our Things to Watch for 2013. The trend recently picked up more steam with Nestlé’s announcement of animal welfare standards for its suppliers worldwide, following an investigation by the group Mercy for Animals.

    “The move is one of the broadest-reaching commitments to improving the quality of life for animals in the food system,” notes The New York Times, “and it is likely to have an impact on other companies that either share the same suppliers or compete with Nestlé.” Observed the influential blogger Food Babe: “People want to know where their food comes from, and in order to survive the next decade, the food industry will have to change.” —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Nestlé

  • Alternative waters
    August 19, 2014 | 1:59 pm

    Vertical Water

    With the coconut water craze going strong, watch for more variations on H2O thanks to consumer interest in more natural alternatives to soda and openness to novel products. Antioxidant-rich maple water (made from maple sap) is gaining attention, while almond water from the startup Victoria’s Kitchen has secured space at Whole Foods and Target. As the AP reports, there’s also cactus, birch and artichoke water—made from either water extracted from the plant or boiled with the ingredient in question—whose makers tout their vitamin and mineral content, as well as their infection-fighting properties. —Allison Kruk

    Image credit: Vertical Water

  • Smart mannequins
    August 13, 2014 | 5:01 pm

    Iconeme

    One of our Things to Watch in 2014, beacons have been popping up everywhere from airports to restaurants to museums. But the biggest pickup for these devices—low-cost transmitters that use Bluetooth to precisely track consumers’ mobile phones and send targeted content—has been among retailers. Now, British retailers including House of Fraser, Hawes & Curtis and Bentalls are testing mannequins outfitted with VMbeacon technology from the startup Iconeme.

    A “smart mannequin” enables nearby shoppers with a related mobile app to get details about what it’s wearing and how to find the products in the store or buy them online. The big question is whether customers will be motivated to opt in; skeptics say the technology doesn’t yet provide enough real benefit. —Allison Kruk

    Image credit: Iconeme

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