February 28, 2014

Weekly Roundup: Messaging app wars, next-gen cybersecurity and ‘white hat’ hackers

Posted by: in North America

Read our roundups in magazine form on Flipboard, via the iOS and Android app or online; click here to find our magazine collection.

-A Pew Research Internet Project report takes stock of the Web at 25 (unsurprising overall verdict: It’s been good for society and very good for individual consumers).

-BBC examines the wearable technology worn by attendees of the Mobile World Congress.

-The New York Times argues that Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp is just the start of the messaging app wars.

-In Ad Age, our own Marian Berelowitz takes a look at how messenger apps are bringing brands fresh access to consumers.

-The FT examines trends around women and the workplace in a special report.

-MediaPost explains how women have come to dominate the mobile gaming space.

-The FT looks at ways in which U.S. retailers are “smartening up” the shopping experiences with tracker beacons that communicate with customers’ phones.

-Fast Company reports on a group of venture capitalists and engineers, with some big-name backers, who are betting that they can run an insurance company like an Internet startup, a potential sign of things to come post-Obamacare.

-The Wall Street Journal reports on how chewing gum makers are in a turf battle for Chinese chewers—whose numbers grew by double digits last year.

-Quartz looks at why Americans have been falling out of love with orange juice.

-The New York Times reports that a federal survey has found that the obesity rate for young children plummeted 43 percent over the past 10 years.

-The FT releases a special report on the ways in which telecom companies are shaping up for an “always-on” world.

-The Wall Street Journal reports on the ways Silicon Valley is jumping into next-generation cybersecurity.

-The FT reports on Boeing’s new “self-destruct” mobile phone that will delete all its call and message data if an unauthorized attempt is made to crack it open.

-The Economist explores the trend of law-abiding “white hat” hackers, who help companies find and repair their vulnerabilities to cyber-criminals.

-WNYC explains why “the future of texting is all about dancing wombats” thanks to stickers, emojis and a visually oriented culture.

-An opinion piece in Wired asks whether today’s apps are outsourcing humanity and turning us into sociopaths.

-Digiday looks at the rise of Upworthy clones looking to replicate the viral publisher’s success.

-The Guardian looks at the rise of “sad-food” photography on social media, such as the Dimly Lit Meals Tumblr feed.

-The New York Times ponders the rise of the ugly selfie.

-Nielsen reports on how smartphones are changing consumers’ daily routines around the world.

-The Economist takes a graphic look at U.S. housing prices and suggests the country may be in the midst of another housing bubble.

-A survey conducted by America Saves finds that only one in three Americans is living within their means and saving enough for their long-term financial future.

-According to The New York Times, the U.S. is at a “pivotal point” as more states consider legalizing medical or recreational marijuana.

-The Guardian reports on the growing number of computer-generated fake papers—“gobbledegook”—that are being submitted and even accepted at academic conferences.

-The New York Times Magazine delves into the work of scientists who are working to bring back extinct animals—and the possible dangers of that work.

-The Economist reports that a new way to double the efficiency of solar cells is about to go mainstream.

-The Wall Street Journal predicts that pricey hydrogen cars will soon challenge electric, with companies planning to lease hydrogen-cell-powered in California and several European countries by the end of next year.

-The New York Times profiles the founder of a startup that creates computer games designed to teach players social-emotional learning.

-The Wall Street Journal examines the ways in which brands are encouraging mother-daughter shopping with coupons and social platforms.

-Autoweek highlights a new service in development from Volvo that allows delivery companies to place items directly into consumers’ cars.

-TechCrunch reports that Disney has launched a new iOS app called Disney Movies Anywhere that will let users stream Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies; unusually for the industry, the app is integrated into, not competing with, iTunes.

-The Wall Street Journal takes at look at the South Korean app Kakao, which has 133 million users and is pushing the boundaries of what an app can do, including messaging, gaming and celebrity friending.

-The Wire reports on Amtrak’s plan to give free long-trip tickets to writers in residence (and pick up some good PR along the way).

-Bloomberg Businessweek looks at the growing clout of gay gamers, or “gaymers.”

-Our own Ann Mack spoke to Elle Canada about the most exciting innovations in beauty.

-The FT explains that with chat apps cutting into their revenues, many mobile operators are turning to machine-to-machine communication for new growth.

-Quartz asserts that nostalgia is “the emotion of the Internet.”

-The Daily Mail reports on new research into the ways children interact with toys and, increasingly, tablets.

No Responses to "Weekly Roundup: Messaging app wars, next-gen cybersecurity and ‘white hat’ hackers"

Comment Form

SIGN UP FOR OUR WEEKLY EMAIL NEWSLETTER:

New Trend Report: The Future of Payments & Currency

2014 iPad App

JWT AnxietyIndex

Things to Watch

  • Money & messaging apps
    October 23, 2014 | 11:13 am

    LINE_icon02

    Given the primary function of mobile messaging apps and their technical capabilities, money transfer and payments are an alluring proposition, as outlined in our new report on payments and currency. Snapchat filed two trademarks in July that indicate a potential move into peer-to-peer payments. The recently announced Line Pay will let Line users make purchases through their Line accounts, send funds to each other, and split costs using a “Dutch Pay” feature. Line Pay will launch in Japan and, as Tech in Asia reports, serve as “an entrance to new industries” thanks to integration with the new Line Taxi service and Line Wow, for food delivery. In South Korea, KakaoTalk launched the PayPal-like Kakao Pay in September, and a remittance service, Bank Wallet Kakao, is in the works. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Line

  • 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

    Image credit: Circle

  • 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

  • RSSArchive for Things to Watch »