Big Auto Doubling Down on Big Data

Source: ZDNet.com

Ford’s new CEO eyes software, tech stack as differentiator vs. rivals

New Ford CEO Jim Farley’s plan for the automaker includes a heavy dose of software and services for its commercial vehicle business as well as new consumer experiences to drive loyalty.

Why It’s Hot // The convergence always-on connection and data commercialization brings a world of new opportunities to marketers and brands seeking to redefine their businesses – while also adding fuel the the fiery debate about the trade-offs between privacy and personalized experiences.

Tech and the future of transportation: From here to there

Ford, which is in the middle of a turnaround of its core business, is trying to navigate a shift to electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles as well as an industry that is increasingly more about software. Farley takes over for Jim Hackett, who streamlined the automaker over the last three years.

Farley outlined a series of leadership changes and a plan that includes “expanding its commercial vehicle business with a suite of software services that drive loyalty and recurring revenue streams” and “unleashing technology and software in ways that set Ford apart from competitors.”

In addition, Ford is looking to develop connected vehicles and create new businesses from the Argo AI self-driving system.

Ford is also looking for a new CIO as Jeff Lemmer is retiring Jan. 1. His successor will lead Ford’s technology and software platform.

The tech strategy from Farley lands after a Sept. 16 investor presentation by Kenneth Washington CTO. Washington outlined the connectivity required from smart vehicles in the future that will include 5G, satellites and edge, cloud, and fog computing.

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Washington added that Ford has hired more than 3,000 advanced computing experts to work on the tech stack and surrounding technologies including things like smart cities, mobility services, edge computing, and analytics.

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He said:

If you were to tear down a future Ford, say, 10 years from now, the biggest difference you’d see is that the software, compute and sensing services are being serviced by a central compute module. And that’s really important because that’s more like we’re accustomed to seeing with the smartphones and the smart devices that we surround ourselves in our homes with every day. So this design that you would see would enable us to really leverage the power of high bandwidth connectivity that happens around the vehicle.

In the future, vehicle changes will be handled with updates via software and algorithms instead of hardware, said Washington. These updates would start with software, but design of electrical architecture as well as shared memory and power systems for various zones of the vehicle would be critical.

Other key points about Ford’s tech stack include:

  • Ford uses QNX, Autosar and Linux to develop is operating system and tech stack.
  • The automaker builds on top of that OS with middleware from its internal software team.
  • In 2020, Ford began equipping most of its redesigned vehicles with the ability for advanced over-the-air updates.
  • The data from those updates on vehicles like the F-150 and Bronco will help Ford iterate.
  • There are 5 million Ford connected vehicles in the field today.
  • Ford sees opportunities in services to optimizes Ford fleets for small business owners.

Nike Drops First eSports Spot

Nike’s first esports advertisement features gamers arrive at Camp Next Level — an esports training facility built by League of Legends player UZI. The retired League of Legends star was one of the first esports signings made by Nike.

The ad itself shows gamers being trained and worked in an (esports) training camp. Nike has come out saying that the ad is meant to try and remind esports athletes, who often practice extremely long days, that a healthy lifestyle and eating right is just as important as putting in long hours of practice.

Why it’s hot:
Nike didn’t hold back in it’s first eSports spot and launched in a Chinese market that is already booming. China’s e-sports revenue grew 54.69% YoY to $10.6 billion in the first six months of 2020. The spot will definitely spark discussion over Nike’s place in the esports world.

Coors Seltzer Launches with a Sustainability Mission

Molson Coors is entering the hard seltzer world with an unusual campaign centered around “the easiest volunteer program on the planet.” Based on an insight from a Nielsen study that Americans drank 87 million gallons of hard seltzer in just this past summer, the new Coors Seltzer will help save America’s rivers, with every 12-pack sold restoring 500 gallons of water. The company has committed to restoring at least one billion gallons during the first year.

(PRNewsfoto/Molson Coors)

In order to accomplish this goal, the brand is partnering with Change the Course, a program of the national nonprofit the Bonneville Environmental Foundation that specializes in helping its partners implement water restoration and is the leading national source for corporate water restoration. The partnership will identify and oversee projects around enhancing stream flows, modernizing irrigation, and restoring fish and wildlife habitat in 14 states.

To kick off the program and engage customers in helping turn the large amount of hard seltzer consumed to be “water neutral,” the first 175,000 12-packs will be paid for by Coors. Customers simply need to send in a rebate to get their first 12-pack for free. This “volunteer program” therefore just involves purchasing and drinking Coors Seltzer, while the Change the Course partnership really engages in the hard work to save the rivers.

(PRNewsfoto/Molson Coors)

The launch will also be supported by a contest across social platforms, where customers can upload photos of themselves engaging in a volunteering activity using the hashtag #CoorsSeltzerSweeps for the chance to win a year’s worth of hard seltzer.

Why It’s Hot

As a later entrant into hard seltzer, Coors needed a unique reason to convince people to try out their new beverage. The light tone of the campaign coupled with the push toward sustainability that resonates with their audience’s values, on top of a rebate that let’s people try the seltzer for free, should give the brand a strong start.

Source

Levi’s launches used-jeans shopping ecosystem

From Green Matters:

Levi’s Secondhand is one of the first buyback initiatives of its kind.

Levi’s latest sustainability efforts have lead the brand to launch a buyback program called Levi’s Secondhand, which incentivizes customers to buy and sell secondhand. Customers can trade in old pieces for a gift card, according to HypeBeast, and their used clothes then go up for sale on the company’s Levi’s Secondhand website. Levi’s also will handpick some vintage items, and feature them on the website, selling them from $30 to $150 USD.

According to Vogue, Levi’s is the first major denim brand to start a buyback initiative.

This could really make a difference, regarding the company’s annual carbon footprint.

For Levi’s Secondhand, the company has partnered with an e-commerce start-up called Trove, who will handle logistics, cleaning, inventory processing, and delivery, and it seems as though their joined efforts will make a major impact on the company’s carbon emissions. According to MR Mag, each pair of used jeans sold will save approximately 80 percent of CO2 emissions, as well as 700 grams of waste, compared to buying new jeans.

Levi’s joins the continuously growing resale market, which is predicted to skyrocket from $32 billion in 2020, to $51 billion by 2023, as emphasis on environmental consciousness continues to rise among brands and buyers, according to Fast Company. Because the fashion industry contributes about 10 percent of global carbon emissions, as well as 20 percent of global water waste, this initiative is incredibly important.

Not the first buy-back or second hand initiative from a brand. Patagonia has been doing their Worn Wear resell program for some time.

A unique challenge: Shopping second hand, online, across the decades. Since sizing has changed over time, how do you know your size is your size on a pair of vintage Levi’s?

Why it’s hot:

1. There’s a tacit implication of quality and longevity in a program that buys back clothes and resells them, which aligns perfectly with Levi’s value proposition as a brand.

2. One of the challenges of sustainability is how brands can spin the idea into something beneficial to the consumer, without losing money. Levi’s has leaned into the “shop used” to save the earth meme as the value proposition without giving consumers much in return, and while at the same time, capturing the value of the returned jeans for the brand, in the form of a gift card for future purchase.

 

Source: Green Matters

 

Sales of home-related merchandise have seen strong growth this year

  • Bed Bath & Beyond reported that in-store sales in Q2 2020 were up 6% and digital sales were up 80% (after nearly four consecutive years of same-store sales declines).
  • Wayfair reported a quarterly profit in August for the first time since going public, with sales being up 84% year-over-year.
  • Target reported during its second quarter earnings in August that sales of home goods were up more than 30% year-over-year, which helped contribute to comparable sales being up 24.3% year-over-year.
  • Williams-Sonoma reported during its second quarter earnings that e-commerce sales were up 46%

Home improvement chains Lowe’s and Home Depot, as well as big-box and department stores with home goods sections like Walmart, Target, Kohl’s and Macy’s, also recorded similar gains.

Tribeca Citizen | Seen & Heard: Bed Bath & Beyond gets a renovation after all

Why it’s hot: Americans are spending more time at home since the start of the pandemic and more people are moving (to the suburbs) leading to increased spending on furniture, bedding, kitchenware, and all sorts of home goods and home improvement products/services.

SOURCE

Slack and Cole Haan Team Up

Slack has partnered with footwear brand Cole Haan to launch a unisex sneaker in the four colors of the Slack logo. This is the first time Slack—or really any major tech company, to our knowledge—has collaborated with a fashion brand.

Will people want to drop $120 on Slack-branded sneakers?

The partnership first came about in the lead-up to Slack’s IPO last summer. Cole Haan decided to create custom shoes for Stewart Butterfield and Cal Henderson, the company’s cofounders, as a surprise. That day at the Stock Exchange, Slack had little booths featuring products that companies had created entirely through the platform, including ice cream flavors and these sneakers. (Slack and Cole Haan created a Slack channel together to discuss all the details of the shoe and provide updates.) As Slack fans gathered to show their support, many wanted to know where they could buy the sneakers. In the months that followed, Cole Haan decided that a full-on collaboration made sense.

Over the past few years, Cole Haan has tried to stand out in the footwear market by investing in technology. Associating itself with Slack allows it to deepen its identity as a tech-forward brand.

Why it’s hot: This is an unexpected partnership that is mutually beneficial to both brand’s missions — a fun way to display the capabilities of Slack, and differentiating Cole Haan in the fashion landscape. Although it does seem like a miss that the shoes don’t have any unique capabilities beyond just slack-themed colorways.

Source: FastCo