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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Things to Watch

  • 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

  • Full-fat comes back
    February 20, 2014 | 6:00 pm

    Bring on the brie! Last week NPR reported on two studies finding that “whole-fat dairy is linked to reduced body fat,” research likely to boost a recent shift away from lower-fat dairy products. Butter has been bullish lately: Annual sales in the U.S. have increased 65 percent since 2000, with per-capita consumption reaching a 40-year high. And while milk sales in the U.S. declined in 2013, full-fat fared relatively well (with sales declining 0.8 percent vs. 4.1 percent for reduced-fat). 

    The trend ties into a growing preference for foods that feel less artificial or newfangled, as well as the ongoing urge to Live a Little (one of our 10 Trends for 2012).  —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: liz west

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