Ear Buds That Translate In Real-Time

The gadget straight out of science fiction has come to life, and all you need are WaverlyLab’s Pilot earpieces and a smartphone app. Designed as a pair of linked earpieces, Pilot connects to an app that uses speech recognition and machine translation to convert spoken language. It removes the awkwardness of phrase books or smartphone apps by playing a translated version directly to the listener. Strong dialects or local accents, however, could pose difficulties, but Waverly Labs claims the machine translation will improve with use.

Why It’s Hot:

To start with, it will be able to translate English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese, and the company plans to add more languages later on. Even if it lags and stutters, Waverly Labs’s Pilot is a remarkable invention that could change what it means to be a student, tourist, immigrant, and refugee. It could allow for more substantive engagement with the world.

 

 

Amazon Goes Offline with a Physical Bookstore

After helping drive many U.S. bookstore chains out of business, Amazon has been opening its own retail stores recently.

Its first Amazon Books location in New York City opened in Manhattan’s Shops at Columbus Circle, which was previously home to a pretty large — and now closed — Borders Books and Music.

A customer review, the number of total Amazon.com reviews and a star rating are displayed under each book on the shelf. All the books in the store either received four-star ratings and above on Amazon.com, or come from lists of best sellers or a hand-curated selection of new, yet-to-be reviewed titles.

The brick-and-mortar locations aim to provide a “mecca of discovery” for book lovers, according to Jennifer Cast, vice president of Amazon Books. The books all have the covers, not the spines, facing out, to encourage browsing —even though the store could have fit as many as 5,000 more titles if books were displayed the conventional way, Cast said.

Why It’s Hot:

Though it’s possible to check out like a regular bookstore, Amazon Books offers significant discounts to Amazon Prime members. This provides a strong incentive for customers to join Amazon Prime — a program that analysts say prompts more spending on Amazon.com.

Experts say that by converting just two or three dozen customers a day to Prime would result in a tremendous growth in revenue. Customer lifetime value for most Amazon customers is in the low thousands of dollars.

Apple and Google to Implement Ad Blocker in Web Browsers

On Monday, Apple at its developer conference that it will start blocking autoplay videos on its Safari web browser and will add a feature that stops ad tracking technology from using a user’s web behavior to target ads to them.

Google also reportedly will officially move ahead with its Chrome ad blocker sometime next year and will block any site which hosts ad units that don’t adhere to a set of third-party standards — basically, most sites on the Internet. The Financial Times also reported that Google is creating a feature that will allow publishers to charge users who use ad-blockers on a page-per-view basis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why It’s Hot:

Safari (10%) and Chrome (51%) make up most of the desktop search market in the U.S., according to comScore, and over 68% of mobile traffic in the U.S., which means that their efforts to curb ads that damage user experience will have a significant impact on the marketplace. These changes will force publishers to develop new advertising techniques.

Immediately following the announcement by Apple, ad retargeting firm Criteo’s stocks tumbled. Earlier this year, Terry Kawaja, Founder and CEO of media and technology firm LUMA Partners, said consolidation in the ad tech space (mostly driven by policy changes and user demands) will cause 90% of the companies to go out of business.

Warby Parker Just Made Getting A Prescription A Lot Easier

Usually, completing a vision test for new glasses requires a trip to the optometrist and the glasses store.  Warby Parker, which started out as a try-before-you-buy mail-order eyeglasses company, is currently looking to use devices you already have in your home to help you get a new pair of glasses without having to drive to a doctor. If you have an expired vision prescription, you can use an iPhone, a computer and about 12 feet of space to find out if your vision has changed since your last exam.

VIDEO HERE!

Why It’s Hot:

Warby Parker has been working on this technology since 2015, while other companies, like Smart Vision Labs, have found ways to use mobile phones for in-store eye exams in 2016. It is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam if your vision has changed since your last one, but those of us who just want to grab a new pair of frames based on a still-valid expired prescription can do so from the comfort of our own home.

Hey, Uncle Sam! Where’d the money go?

Government data is available, but it’s not exactly accessible. A new project from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Seattle design studio Artefact aim to change that. Called USAFacts, it’s an ambitious, $10 million effort to present government data in a way that’s open, non-partisan, and stupidly easy to understand. The website, launching today, organizes 30 years of data from more than 70 local, state, and federal government agencies into a well-designed, centralized hub that its creators hope will give people a clearer picture of how the government makes and spends money. Annual reports and quarterly reports will be created as the project matures.

The project is funded by Ballmer and ran with the support of Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, UPenn’s Wharton school of business, and Lynchburg College.

Why It’s Hot:

It’s a worthy mission and one that’s been hamstrung in the past by shoddy organization and presentation. Ballmer’s platform makes it easier to find the governmental data you’re looking for—and the data you didn’t know you were looking for. Now it’s just up to the people to make use of it.

“I just think it’s important if you are going to make your case, for you to make your case in the context of numbers,” Ballmer said. “Here are the numbers. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist. You don’t have to be an economist. You decide what you believe. And when things come up that you need to vote on, you need to opine on; you’ll have the view of a citizen that’s informed by facts.”

Imagining What Radio of the Third Reich Would Be Like

The Man in the High Castle is an Amazon Original series based on Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same name, which imagines what the world (America, in particular) might look like if the Axis powers had won World War II.

To promote the show, Amazon Studios – the company’s film and series production arm – created a radio station that airs music and commentary from the world of The Man in the High Castle. Resistance Radio features four hours of original audio narrative from hosts broadcasting messages of hope and rebellion for an America ruled by Japan and Nazi Germany’s Axis powers

Why It’s Hot:

The immersive, transmedia experience takes an element of the series – the music – to bring the show to life. The music is recorded and performed the way music pre-1960 would have been. It also includes interludes and radio hosts promoting and/or speaking out against the fictional government to imitate the feeling of the show. Amazon has also taken into account the producers (Dangermouse/Sam Cohen) and artists (Beck, The Shins, Sharon Von Etten) of the music which lean a bit more indie and young to try and attract a younger audience that may not already be familiar with the show.

Android Instant Apps Made Available for Testing

Generally, to use an app on a mobile device, you first need to download and install it. With Instant Apps, an app can run right away — similar to loading a web page — without having to go through the installation process.

Google says that it has been working with a small number of developers to test the user and developer experience over the last few months. The result is a limited test that includes apps from BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope and Viki. Google plan to roll-out instant apps to more developers once they have collected enough feedback from their current partners.

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Why It’s Hot:

“Instant Apps is really about re-thinking where apps are going,” saysGoogle VP of Engineering for Android Dave Burke “Web pages are ephemeral. They appear, you use them, and never think about them again.” Installing apps, on the other hand, comes with a lot of friction and users often only want to perform a single action or get a specific piece of information (say pay for parking with an app in a city you don’t often travel to). Ideally, Instant Apps gives you the speed of a light web page with all of the benefits of a native app.

Behind the Scenes on how Facebook collects your data

Curious about how Facebook uses machine learning algorithms use your data to gain insights about your personality? Install this chrome extension to get your Data Selfie. The extension allows users to see exactly how Facebook tracks your user behavior data and feeds that into machine learning algorithms to learn more about your personality traits.

Why it’s hot:

Most people know that online sites, apps, and experiences are always collecting data on its users but most don’t know how or what that data is being used for. This helps visualize the data collection tools and the ways in which it is being used to shape the online world around you.

Now is the most exhilarating time to be a circle

The future of design is circular. IDEO has created a new guide for designers that encourages them to create products that stay in closed loops and business models that discourage waste.

Designers are traditionally part of the linear economy—creating products from raw materials that would eventually end up in a landfill. But they’re beginning to consider the entire system and design products with materials that can be used in closed loops.

Why its HOT:

IDEO tends to be on the forefront of design and methods of applying it to develop new products and services. There is some merit to thinking about ways in which you can reduce waste while also keeping users using your product or service over time without needing to search for something new. For instance, when Philips designed its light-as-a-service model, it created custom light fixtures with components that can be individually replaced, saving material and making the lights last as much as 75% longer.

“Effective circular design looks beyond a single product lifecycle for a single user, to designing a bigger system—one that creates more value by enabling multiple usages and users of that material.” – Chris Grantham

Amazon GO Shopping

Amazon Go is a new kind of store with no checkout required. Amazon has created the world’s most advanced shopping technology so shoppers never have to wait in line. With Amazon’s Just Walk Out Shopping experience, simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products you want, and go! No lines, no checkout.

Why It’s Hot:

By eliminating much of the staff needed to operate a store, Amazon keeps costs lower than traditional competitors. It’s also in a strong position to bring together data on its customer’s shopping habits online and offline to make better suggestions in all situations.

The experiment could also be seen as a new technology platform that Amazon could offer retail businesses after working out all of the kinks.  Similar to the way Amazon Web Service provides hosting for sites like Netflix and Adobe, Amazon Go will provide patent-protected technology infrastructure for “self-shopping” brick and mortar stores.

Health App And Uber Team Up To Get You To The Clinic On Time

Practo, the most popular doctor search engine in Asia, has teamed up with ride-sharing company Uber. The collaboration enables the Practo app users to book an Uber vehicle in advance through a reminder issued for their medical appointments. Upon booking, the Uber driver will be given the destination of the medical appointment, while users can see the estimated fare and waiting time. Practo, is initially running the partnership with Uber as a pilot in Singapore, India, Indonesia and the Philippines

 

 

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Why It’s Hot:

When building useful digital tools it is best to integrate with what already currently exists in digital and find ways to tightly integrate that within your own service. Thus, avoiding the need to build anything new. By integrating Uber within the Practo digital platform, the company is able to easily relieve the pressure of getting to and from a doctor’s office or clinic, which is often a pain point for the elderly and sick. This tight integration also helps position Practo as being on the patient’s side, considering not just their medical needs but the entire experience of visiting a doctor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Internet of Things Recruits Basketball Players

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Wilson Sporting Goods is bringing a traditional brand name to the world of smart basketballs, and the company’sWilson X Connected Basketball is significantly unlike anything else out there. Wilson’s ball simply uses a sensor inside of it and some heavily tested algorithms to magically track your baskets and bricks.  The ball has a Bluetooth radio, low-power processor, and three-axis accelerometer inside of it, and it uses machine learning and some proxy processing by the cloud and a connected phone to calculate shot percentage and the shooter’s distance from the hoop. The ball communicates with a mobile application that helps turn shooting into a game while also visualizing your shots made based on the data feed from the ball. It comes at a cost of $200 per ball.

Why It’s Hot:

This just adds more entertainment beyond shooting a basketball. It actually turns the process into a game against yourself to beat your previous score. As a sports fan, it’s exciting to see sports manufacturers dip into using the IOT to give their products more usage while also creating new games around the sports they are manufacturing for.

Tesla Allows For Owners To Upgrade To “Ludicrous” Mode

Tesla announced a new “Ludicrous Mode” for its top-of-the-line Model S P85. The new mode reduces the 0-60 MPH time to 2.8 seconds with a quarter mile time of 10.9 seconds. The front engine now has 259 hp while the rear engine is pushing 503 hp. That’s impressive. The new electronics pack that makes Ludicrous Mode possible for the Model S will cost new owners an additional $10,000. Current owners will be able to upgrade their vehicle for $5,000 for the next six months

img_3153Why Its Hot:

This begins to change how we think about cars and purchase life of cars. Right now, cars are not an every two-year purchase like most technology is. Consumers are much more likely to hold on to a car purchase for a much longer time. So, how can the car manufacturer deliver a product that can keep up with technology without having to rethink the entire car? In this case it’s just an upgrade to the battery and a download of software that updates the engine. similar to a phone that continually can be upgraded through app and software updates.

The Most Popular Apps In America

According to a report from comScore, below are the most popular mobile applications in the United States.

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Versus last year (2014)

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(source: Atlas)

Why It’s Hot:

  • Google and Facebook dominate: the top 7 of 8 apps used are owned by Google or Facebook. The one outlier being Pandora, a music streaming service.
  • No Games: there are no games making the list as a top 25 used application. This could be due to the amount of games available which doesn’t allow for one game to dominate usage.
  • Microsoft is absent: Currently Microsoft is not creating application appealing enough for it to rank in the top 25. Skype was on the 2014 list but has since fallen off.
  • YouTube is quite popular: people love video and the one channel that does it best ranks high in popularity.

 

JFK To Show Wait Times Based On Cell Phone Monitoring

John F. Kennedy airport, one of the world’s largest and busiest airports located in New York City, now has 13 screens in Terminal 4 that present traveler processing times. The wait times are driven by beacons positioned at TSA Security and Customs, Border Protection checkpoints, and the indoor taxi queue, which anonymously monitor passenger’s mobile devices as they move through the airport. The system, which was installed by Blip systems and Lockheed Martin, uses sensors which monitor the movement of passengers’ mobile phone through the airport: any wifi or bluetooth devices in ‘discoverable’ mode can be tracked. Each device is automatically given a unique ID and encrypted and time-stamped when it passes an initial beacon. Then, when the same device is recognized at later beacons, the system records how long that journey has taken.

Checkpoint-JFKWhy It’s Hot:

Using the technology available to us to cut down on simple tasks like understanding wait times is incredibly useful and efficient. In the past, cameras and stopwatches were used to manually track how long it took fliers to get through lines. The data this methodology created was often inconsistent. Making sense of the data available in a visually useful way will not only cut down on a miserable travel experience but also help the airport understand when and where bottlenecks are created to better prepare for the future design of terminals and airports.

“We’re probably reaching 19.5 million passengers this year in total. It’s a big operation, which is why we’re introducing innovations to enhance the operations of the building. This new system will help us manage and eliminate problem spots within the facility, and sharing the processing time with our travelers will provide them with peace of mind so they may continue to expect a pleasant travel experience. Additionally, data from travelers’ phones could eventually influence future airport design,” says Gert-Jan de Graaff, President and CEO of JFKIAT.

 

Mobile Live Streaming Becomes A Powerful New Medium

Live-streaming services like Meerkat, Periscope, and Facebook offer new marketing opportunities by combining the excitement of live events with the personal engagement of mobile. Live-streaming is nothing new, but these three services have helped push live-streaming into the hands of users on their mobile devices. The ease of point and shoot in addition to 4G networks and the proliferation of WiFi have helped give these services the means to thrive and deliver these streaming services. Just recently, Periscope announced that they have 10 million user accounts. What’s more interesting is the time viewed on the Periscope platform is at about 40 years of video watched per day and steadily growing. In addition to mobile, Periscope is seeing lots of views take place on their web-based destination, Periscope.tv.

The mobile players are growing fast: Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook, Rhinobord, Yeplive, Ustream, Younow, Hang, and Stringwire. Plus, YouTube already offers the ability to live stream from a desktop – and it’s likely that it will introduce the functionality on its mobile app soon.

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(Source: Periscope)

Why It’s Hot:

These mobile services are still in their infancy and live streaming is growing but remains a small percentage of the video we consume on the web. However, they do open the door for brands and users to create inexpensive pieces of communication that can scale quickly. Which means brands and creators can reach new audiences that they maybe were not able to reach before. Simply another way for people to experiment and find new ways to create things that people are interested in.

 

Google Helps Nudge People Toward Solar Power

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(Source: Google Project Sunroof)

A team of Google engineers just released a tool called Project Sunroof to help users understand the sun your roof gets and the benefits of installing solar panels to capture that energy. They adapted the high-resolution aerial maps from Google Earth to estimate the total sunlight a rooftop receives throughout the year. The tool then tells you how much you can expect to save with solar panels under different financing plans (you can plug in your current electric bill for a more refined calculation) and connects you with local companies that do installations.

Why It’s Hot:

This tool is certainly valuable for anyone thinking about a solar panel installation, and for anyone who wants to know whether he or she should be thinking about it. It’s a potentially valuable tool for Google as well since those suggestions for companies to install solar panels for you are sponsored by the companies themselves. In other words, Google is giving you a tool with unbiased information to point you in the direction of a service (paid advertiser) that can help you with the install. Providing a simple to use service that helps solve a problem or overcome a barrier leads to a better customer experience and ultimately a purchase.

 

Cymbal – A New Music Discovery App

Music discovery is desperately in need of simplification. In the quest to stay on the pulse of the best new music, we’ve created a cycle of information overload that even the most dedicated of fans can’t keep up with.

Enter Cymbal, an elegant new music discovery app designed with simplicity at its core and powered by the most ancient and trusted source of information: friends.

Based on the idea that music suggestions from friends carry more weight than do recommendations from service-driven algorithms, Cymbal lets its users do the heavy lifting. In the app, each user chooses just one song to display to followers at a time, creating a constantly updating playlist of his or her favorite music.Cymbal_640

(source Forbes)

Why It’s Hot:

The app doesn’t threaten other music services but instead complements them. In the same way you’d upload an album of vacation photos to Facebook and the best one to Instagram, you create a whole playlist on Spotify and set the best one as your Cymbal. The app already syncs with Spotify and SoundCloud. If you discover a song you love, you can add it to your Spotify library and like it on SoundCloud directly through the app. The app does not host any music, it just provides an interface to better integrate all music services into one nice feed.

 

Google Search Now Shows You The Busiest Times At Local Businesses

Google is adding a new feature to it search engine that shows you the busiest times of the week for a bunch of different places and businesses. This should make it a little easier to avoid the crowds.

The company anonymously collects data from users of its Google Maps application in order to inform Google of things like traffic patterns and conditions. Similarly, that GPS-backed technology is now working to provide this business-level data as well.

“Much like we compute traffic data based on the anonymized aggregated movement of people on the road, we are able to determine relatively how busy a place is,” Google says.

Google Search Now Shows You the Busiest Times at Local Businesses

(source: Google)

Why It’s Hot:

For business owners, this new data could be helpful in giving them an improved understanding of their own traffic patterns and busiest hours – at least in a general sense. Though many business owners use traffic counters and other tools to get a more accurate idea of their daily customer visits, Google’s data can provide an additional lens for which business owners can compare their data to.

Mapping The Globe Using Three Words

A new mapping service, called What3Words, could spell the end of postal codes while being the perfect partner for voice-activated search.

The unique three-word codes are accurate to two meters and are a result of What3Words dividing the world into 57 trillion three-meter squared boxes and giving each one a code using three words from the English dictionary.

For example, the code “planet.inches.most” takes you to the Statue of Liberty.

Using the Google Maps API, What3words serves up a Web, Android and iOS app, each letting you search for and identify locations based around, well, three words. It’s touted as a new universal address system, designed to make it easier, and more accurate, to describe exact locations anywhere on Earth.

Why It’s Hot:

In some parts of the world, the idea is already bearing fruit. The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro contains the largest shanty town or favela in the country – the district of Rocinha, home to about 70,000 people. Because of the haphazard way in which the area originally developed, its sprawling maze of lanes and alleys has never been subject to a proper system of addresses.

In places where people have no other viable way of identifying where they live, it is likely to prove a useful way of getting on the local authorities’ radar, especially as internet-based services pick up on it and build it into their systems.

Algorithms For Sale

Seattle-based start-up Algorithmia is a new marketplace for algorithms. The company wants to make it easier for computer researchers to monetize the algorithms they create and publish in academic papers and make them available to developers/businesses who want to take advantage of the new technology. The system and marketplace will make it easy for prospective buyers to select the algorithm they want and then easily implement it into their applications with the use of the Algorithmia API.

Why It’s Hot:

 The majority of software products and applications are made up of highly complex algorithmsThe most famous algorithm led to the development of the $400 billion dollar giant Google, which has changed the world forever. As more technologies emerge and grow, and data continues to be produced at a rapid pace, faster hardware will no longer be able to support the architecture for data analysis. It will then become critical that organizations, people, and products focus on data analysis packages comprised of algorithms versus the actual hardware they run on.

 

Google and Levi’s Partner To Make Computer Pants

Just when you thought you had it all, then Google and Levi’s team up together and create interactive yarn to be weaved into clothing. Yep, that’s right. Computer clothes are on their way to a body near you. Google’s ATAP research team has been experimenting with conductive material that can be embedded into fabric, transforming any garment into an interactive surface. The conductive threads will respond to gesture-based movements, which will register with complimentary computers that power any textile-based wearable. That information will then be transmitted to mobile phones and other devices.

(Project Jacquard)

Why It’s Hot:

As Apple is doing with its Watch, Google and Levi’s are marketing computerized clothing as a way to stay connected to your digital life without having to pull out your phone. “If there’s a chance to enable the clothes that we already love to help us

“If there’s a chance to enable the clothes that we already love to help us facilitiate access to the best and most necessary of this digital world while maintaining eye contact with the person we’re eating dinner with, this is a real value,” Paul Dillinger of Levi Strauss said at the I/O conference, according to the Verge.

Err maybe. It’s too soon to see the real need case for this innovation, but I’m sure some smart entrepreneurs will find some very good applications for this in the future. I’ll throw one out there for free. Embed this into couches and armchairs and eliminate the need to locate that pesky remote.

Apple Will Allow Users To Block Ads on iPad and iPhone

Apple has announced support for Ad Blocking Extensions for its Safari Web browser on iOS 9. All developers of such ad block extensions have to do is to hand over a JSON File with the requisite instructions for blocking ads, pop-up ads and more, and Safari converts it into bytecode, blocking ads without letting publishers know. This is likely in favor of handing over more control to users and avoid longer page load times on mobile devices like iPad and iPhone.

Here’s how the iOS9 developer documents describe the new feature:

The new Safari release brings Content Blocking Safari Extensions to iOS. Content Blocking gives your extensions a fast and efficient way to block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups, and other content.

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(source: thenextweb)

Why It’s Hot:

What was once only available as a desktop feature will now move to mobile devices and will certainly be unwelcomed by media publishers. As audiences continue to shift online and away from print, publishers must squeeze as much as they can out of their growing mobile traffic. A report from 2014 found that ad-block software usage was up 70% year over year, with over 140 million people blocking ads worldwide, including 41% of 18-29 year olds. You can see why this is worrisome for publishers who sell these ads.

Post-It Makes A Useful Banner Ad

Whether it’s that pair of sandals you looked at or the Netflix show you will never watch, we’ve all been a victim to the relentless re-targeted banner ad. Proximity Russia, 3M’s digital ad shop, decided to make this annoyance into something useful with this clever online advertisement. The first banner ad you see from 3M encourages you to use their iconic Post-It Notes to type yourself a reminder (e.g. Submit Timesheets), then all of the retargeted banner ads after that contain the reminder you typed yourself.

Why It’s Hot:

People don’t care all that much for banner ads as they don’t provide much value to users surfing the internet highway. Post-It has figured out a way to not only become useful to those that see their ads but also convey the very benefit of Post-its as a product.

Domino’s Pizza Tweets

The emergence of the emoji language is very real. Domino’s is rolling out a “tweet-to-order” system for its most loyal and lazy American customers. All people now have to do is open up their Twitter app and hit up @dominos with a pizza emoji and the hot and tasty pies are delivered in 30 minutes or less. Success!

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Why It’s Hot: 

The use of Twitter to purchase pizza pies will definitely give Domino’s a burst of publicity and a reason to talk about them outside of the normal food publications. It is also a creative way to use Twitter in a way other than pushing marketing messages but allowing people to actually purchase from you using the online communication tool in a really fun way. This will give Domino’s a slight competitive edge until the other pizza chains come up with their own unique ideas or also jump on the Twitter pizza purchase bandwagon.

Making Music with Tennis Data

IBM and the U.S. Open teamed up together for last year’s summer tournament to bring an interesting twist to what is often thought of as an older sport. IBM’s data team partnered with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem fame to translate the raw data that IBM collects during matches into listenable music. The raw data that is collected passes through an algorithm that James and his collaborators created that eventually spits out something that is pleasing to the ear. Some tweaks are then made by James and tracks are created.

Why It’s Hot:

We often hear the buzzword of Big Data being thrown around constantly but have many different ways of interpreting its definition. Some may say it’s for optimizing experiences, uncovering insights, or seeing patterns that we normally would not have been able to uncover. In this case, the data is actually used as a medium to create art with. There are tons of ways to think about and use data, this just happens to be one of the more creative and sonically appealing.

 

Uber Launches Uber Eats

Expanding on its highly demanded private car service, Uber announces “UberEats,” a new food delivery service. Accessible from within Uber’s current mobile app, UberEats aims to partner with select eateries, offering curated lunch options for between $9 to $12 while dinner will cost $10 to $15. The competition is quite high considering there are already a number of meal delivery services currently in-market.

Why It’s Hot:

With the massive established Uber network, they are able to transform the business into multiple businesses. This one being a meal delivery service, which just replaces taxi pick-ups with meal pick-ups. If this goes well, you could potentially see Uber branching out into other delivery services like packages, home goods, and B2B.

 

S7 Airlines – A World of Pure Imagination

In an online film for S7 Airlines, twenty kids are asked the question “Let’s say you can go to any place you can imagine. What would this world look like?” Their answers range from “real-life mermaids” to ‘a secret world where people live underground’. The film ends with the reveal that these imaginary locations are reminiscent of real destinations that the airline flies to across the globe.

Why It’s Hot:

Tapping into people’s imagination through children and the proving out that those places exist is incredibly inspiring. As adults, we often write off what could be and settle for the logical, what is. By using children as the focal point, older audiences are able to imagine themselves as kids and remove the default way of thinking from their mind set. This makes the older viewer much more vulnerable in letting their mind wander into areas that are usually off limits. It’s also really well executed, so there’s that.

Creative Directors, Szymon Rose and Daniel Schaefer, said: ‘[It’s] easy to forget how incredible and mind-blowing our world is… The goal of the campaign was to encourage Russian travellers to dream big and remind them that there’s a whole world out there. By utilising the limitless imaginations of children we are able to take people on a journey to see our planet in a whole new way.’

Blue-Tooth Connected Credit Card

Are you irresponsible and keep losing your credit cards or gift cards? Maybe your back aches from the massive wallet you carry in your back pocket? Or maybe you’ve always wished for the day that your credit card could connect to your phone? Well, you’re in luck. Stratos, Inc.  announced the launch of the Stratos Bluetooth Card, an all-in-one “smart” credit card. The card features Bluetooth connectivity and can be used everywhere you’d expect, like at ATMs, restaurants and gas stations. The card, which will start shipping to consumers in April – will be able to load everything from debit to credit to gift cards onto on single, small card. All one needs is a smartphone, a Stratos card, and a Stratos Reader. Members will swipe their various cards through the reader attached to their phones. Once the cards are loaded, swipe the Stratos Card through the reader and then designate three “favorite” cards that can be easily and quickly accessed.

Why It’s Hot:

As the increase in land grab for mobile payments continues to rise, this turns that on its head and nods to a consumer behavior that already exists and is familiar with the majority of the world. There is no need for retailers or payment systems to re-haul their current technology since it is already in place. Meaning this is much easier and quicker to implement without having to educate users on a new behavior or even train staff on new technology protocols.

Can’t Solve for X? Take a Picture.

From Casio calculator watches to TI-86 calculators. Every generation has there go-to gadget for solving math’s hardest equations but kids never had it so easy as they do now. Introducing PhotoMath, a new app for smartphones that will not only help you solve mathematical problems, but show you exactly how it was all done. As easy as taking a photo, the app uses your smartphone’s camera to scan math problems directly from a textbook. If you want to learn more about the math problem, PhotoMath will even give you the step-by-step path how it solved the equation, so you can learn on how it worked out a solution.

Why It’s Hot:

The industry has produced real time text recognition apps in the past (Google-owned Word Lens), but this takes things into a whole new category. Although teachers may not be welcoming this type of technology in the learning process, it could be beneficial to increase parent confidence when helping their kids do homework and help the children work through problems when a teacher is not present.