Fighting World Hunger Through a Trivia Game

United Nations’ World Food Programme is trying to get kids — and adults — to see that they can help fight world hunger in just a few minutes a day. The organization recently redesigned and relaunched Freerice, its quiz game that donates the equivalent of 10 grains of rice for each right answer players give.

A player solves math problems in the World Food Programme's Freerice game

The multiple-choice question game is fairly straightforward, with varying levels of difficulty. Players can choose from categories like languages, literature, multiplication, anatomy, and geography. The changes to the game include new categories, with questions on climate change and nutrition. Some teachers are even using Freerice in the classroom.

The site makes money from display ads, which is then used in a variety of programs, including ones that provide school meals in South Sudan and Burundi.

Why It’s Hot

Entertainment, education, and fighting world hunger all-in-one is a winning combination for all involved.

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EasyJet Introduces Voice-Powered Trip Planning

EasyJet is launching an English-language voice search in its mobile app, letting travelers find flights by saying their destination, travel dates and airports they want to fly from. The soon-to-launch “Speak Now” feature — reportedly the first among airlines — aims to cut the time and hassle of searching for flights, which typically takes 12 taps on a smartphone.

EasyJet worked with Travelport, a developer of software for the travel industry, to create the tool with Google Cloud’s natural language understanding tool known as Dialogflow.​

Why It’s Hot

Shopping for and comparing flights on mobile can be a frustrating experience, but voice search can make it significantly more intuitive.

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A New Google Maps Feature Has Potential to Save Lives

In recognition of National Recovery Month, Google has released two new map-related tools aimed at both aiding those in recovery from drug addition and helping to make the life-saving drug Naloxone more accessible.

The centerpiece of the company’s effort is a new website, Recover Together, which seeks to centralize resources for those looking to overcome addiction.

A screenshot of the Naloxone Locator Tool.

The Recovery Locator Tool, as the name would suggest, is a Google Maps page specifically designed to help individuals find recovery resources near them. And the Naloxone Locator Tool is a Google Maps page that aims to assist those looking to acquire Naloxone — a drug that can reverse overdoses.

According to the press release, the initiative was launched based on the insight that people use Google on a daily basis to seek out information on addiction and recovery:

“[In] fact, just last month, we saw an all-time high in search interest for ‘rehab near me,’ ‘addiction treatment near me,’ and ‘how to help an addict.'”

While the aim is to help those searching for this info, Google has taken privacy into account and is assuring that visits to this website would not be associated with any specific users. Page views will be measured, but anonymized and only in the aggregate. What’s more, the company claims it will not use Naloxone-related searches to target ads.

Why It’s Hot

It’s great to see Google using their search data for good, not for profit. Providing these tools for those who are struggling to ask for help and turning to Google for anonymous advice is filling a critical need.

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Is White Claw Really the Best Hard Seltzer?

Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer launched a campaign to promote a taste test challenge of competitors’ beverages. The Anheuser-Busch brand asked consumers to take a polygraph about which hard seltzer they prefer, with the chance to win $1,000.

Fifty people aged 25-39 took the polygraph test, and 46 participants said they prefer Bon & Viv’s Classic beverage over rival White Claw Pure, or said they like White Claw better and failed the polygraph. Just four people that said they prefer White Claw Pure passed the polygraph.

Why It’s Hot

White Claw might be driving market sales, but Bon & Viv is taking them on in a playful way to get hard seltzer drinkers to reconsider.

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“Alexa, Open Reebok Sneaker Drop”

Reebok is giving away limited-edition “Club C” sneakers as part of their campaign with Cardi B, and the only way to enter to win is via smart speaker. All you have to do is ask Alexa or Google Assistant to “Open Reebok Sneaker Drop” to participate in the giveaway of the Swarovski-crystal encrusted shoes.

Entrants will have to check in with their voice assistants on September 7th between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. to see if they’ve won. The command “Ask Reebok Sneaker Drop if I won” and saying the passcode “Get my Club C’s” is the final step of the process to find out if they are one of the 50 winners or 150 runners-up.

Why It’s Hot

Limited-quantity product drops are key in sneaker culture. Adding voice assistant technology even further appeals to the exclusivity and excitement of trying to secure a coveted pair of shoes.

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The AI Drone Crocodile Hunter

Last summer, Australia began testing drones at their beaches to help spot distressed swimmers – acting as overhead lifeguards. Now the same company that created that technology, Ripper Group, is creating an algorithm for their drones to spot crocodiles.

While not frequent, crocodile attacks have gone up in recent years. And crocodiles are not easily identified when they spend up to 45 minutes under murky water. So the Ripper Group is using machine learning to train drones to distinguish crocodiles from 16 other marine animals, boats, and humans through a large database of images.

The drones also include warning sirens and flotation devices for up to four people, to assist in emergency rescue when danger is spotted.

Why It’s Hot

Lifeguards are limited in what they can see and how quickly they can act. With the assistance of drones, beach goers can stay carefree.

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Nike’s New Subscription “Club” for Kids

The latest entrant to the world of subscription boxes is Nike Adventure Club – a sneaker service for kids. Parents of kids aged two to ten years old know the struggle — kids’ feet are continually growing so new shoes are seemingly always needed, but fitting in sneaker shopping in busy schedules and getting kids to make a selection is not a fun process. The subscription service aims to solve this pain point with over 100 sneaker styles that will come straight to customers’ doors.

Nike Adventure Club 2

The service will come in three tiers–ranging from four pairs of sneakers a year to twelve pairs a year. If customers like the shoes, they keep them. When they’re ready for new shoes, they can send back the old pair and Nike will donate or recycle the returned shoes.

Nike Adventure Club 2

True to the lifestyle brand, Nike Adventure Club is about more than shoes. It’s also an exclusive experience parents and kids can share through curated outdoor games and activities each month. KaBoom, a nonprofit focused on encouraging a healthy, active lifestyle for kids, has partnered with Nike on crafting these activities.

Why It’s Hot

The Nike Adventure Club isn’t just another novelty subscription box — it solves a real need for parents and their growing children.

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The Closest Drone to Bike Delivery is Here

The newest entrant into the drone food delivery space is using slower speed to gain a competitive edge. The Rev-1 by Refraction AI is unique in that operating at a max of 15 miles per hour, it can travel both on the road and in bike lanes–giving it more flexibility to avoid causing traffic. The company’s vision is for the drone to emulate the patterns of a cyclist.

The vehicle is currently being tested in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where it delivers food from local restaurants in a range of .5 to 2.5 miles. It’s 6 cubic feet of space is enough to hold around four grocery bags.

Another competitive advantage is the Rev-1’s lower cost of $5,000. Instead of using lidar sensors like most other drones, it uses multiple cameras in combination with ultrasound to see and navigate.

Why It’s Hot

The smaller, slower drone is well-positioned for local deliveries, with a high potential to help solve the last-mile delivery challenge in a cost-efficient manner.

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Growing the Meat-Free Market with… Vampires?

Birds Eye is launching a line of meat-free burgers, meatballs, and sausages. To announce the new products in the UK, they’re taking the comedic angle of vampires enjoying the taste:

Birds Eye is already present in 75% of British households, but only 35% of households are currently buying frozen meat-free products. They hope that rather than a “preachy” message, they can convince families to give meat-free a try by entertaining them.

Why It’s Hot

The meat-free frozen market is seeing 15% yearly sales growth, but most companies are not attempting to appeal to a wide-range market in this way. Making meat-free fun and approachable can appeal to new consumers.

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A New Purpose for the Mannequin Challenge

Back in 2016, the “Mannequin Challenge” took over the Internet, with everyone from Hillary Clinton to Beyoncé posting videos of themselves standing still in various scenarios. Google is now using these videos to train their AI.

One of the top challenges with AI is teaching machines how to move through unfamiliar surroundings. By training machines to interpret 2D videos as 3D scenes, it can help them understand the depth of a 2D image. Google has decided to leverage the thousands of YouTube videos of the Mannequin Challenge as a data source to help machines understand depth since the videos show people posing from all different angles.

Why It’s Hot

These learnings will be particularly useful in AI for self-driving cars.

Source: https://www.technologyreview.com/f/613888/if-you-did-the-mannequin-challenge-you-are-now-advancing-robotics-research/

Uber is Ready to Make Drone Food Delivery a Reality

Uber Elevate is betting on drones as the future of food delivery. And the future is coming as soon as this summer, with drone service set to launch in San Diego.

relates to Uber Wants Your Next Big Mac to Be Delivered by Drone

At the launch of the program, drones will not be delivering food directly to customer’s homes due to safety and noise concerns. Instead they’ll be landing in designated zones for pick up by couriers, or directly on the roofs of Uber vehicles, for drivers to complete the delivery.

Reaching speeds up to 70 mph, Uber Elevate’s drone can lead to significant time and cost savings in a food delivery market that is projected to grow 12% a year over the next four years. For a delivery 1.5 miles away, drones can make a trip in 7 minutes as opposed to 21 minutes via car.

Why It’s Hot

As more and more companies are looking to make use of drones as soon as possible, it’s significant that a car service company is leading the way. Beyond revolutionizing food delivery, Uber Elevate can help pave the way for how drones can solve other problems including last-mile delivery.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-12/uber-announces-plans-to-deliver-big-macs-by-drone-this-summer

McDonald’s Personalizes the Drive-Thru Menu

Next time you pull up to a McDonald’s drive-thru, you might see exactly what you’re craving front and center. Menus will be personalized based on factors like weather, local events, restaurant traffic, and trending items.

This new technology will be powered by their acquisition of personalization company Dynamic Yield. The menu can be programmed against triggers with scenarios such as offering ice cream and iced coffee when the temperature rises above 80 degrees, or pushing hot chocolate when it starts to rain.

Once a person starts ordering, the menu will offer add-ons based on the previous selections made. For example, a person ordering a salad may be offered a smoothie instead of fries.

Why It’s Hot

McDonald’s already builds off of customer’s cravings. Now that these cravings can be predicted, personalized, and optimized over time, there’s a high likelihood that customers will be ordering more at the drive-thru window.

Virtual Dragon Rides at Walmart

Spatial& is bringing a VR experience to Walmart parking lots across the country to celebrate the premiere of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. This is the first activation from the v-commerce startup, incubated by Walmart’s Store No. 8. They’ve partnered with DreamWorks Animation to give customers a way to enter the world of the movie and experience a ride on the back of a dragon.

The experience starts with an onboarding, takes customers on a five minute virtual journey in VR motion chairs, and ends with an immersive gift shop featuring How to Train Your Dragon merchandise.

Why It’s Hot

Collaborating with Dreamworks Animations has set the bar high for Walmart’s foray into VR retail experiences.

Source: https://www.retaildive.com/news/walmart-startup-spatialand-launches-first-vr-experience/548501/

‘Tinder for Cows’ Helps Farmers Find Perfect Matches

From the makers of the UK’s SellMyLivestock website comes a new Tinder-style app for cattle farmers. Tudder provides an easy way for farmers to locate breeding matches by viewing profiles of cattle and their age, location, and owner. A swipe right to show interest directs farmers to the SellMyLivestock platform, which 1/3 of the UK’s farmers are already using.

While the marketing of the app includes playful language such as “seeks to unite sheepish farm animals with their soulmates,” the purpose is quite functional. Bringing a bull to a physical market is tedious and takes time away from other farm responsibilities. On the app, farmers can quickly search for organic or pedigree cattle, find out the cow’s health information, and get in touch with owners to make an offer.

Why It’s Hot

The app is a playful, easy way to facilitate cattle transactions — bringing real digital innovation to a timeless practice.

Source: http://time.com/5526883/tinder-cows/ 

AI Inspired Flavoring

After years of research, McCormick & Company and IBM have announced the creation of a new AI system that will help spice up the dinner experience. The platform uses machine learning to predict winning flavor combinations and will aid McCormick in developing new recipes faster.

This spring, McCormick will debut the first AI-developed flavors in a new product line named “One.” The new recipe mixes intended for easy one-dish protein and vegetable dinners will include Tuscan Chicken, Bourbon Pork Tenderloin, Farmers Market Chicken, Glazed Salmon and New Orleans Sausage.

The data that led to these flavors involved 40 years of McCormick’s proprietary collection of past product recipes and consumer flavor preference studies.

Why It’s Hot

While the brand partnership seems unexpected, it’s smart of McCormick to take all the data they’ve collected over the years as the leader in their space and put it to good use in product innovation.

Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/ai-gets-spicy-with-new-mccormick-flavors/ 

Casper’s Connected Nightlight

Casper’s new nightlight, the Glow, is far more than the nightlight you may have had in your bedroom as a child. While the product was inspired by the less harsh feeling of candlelight or lamplight, the Glow is future-forward. It’s a customizable connected device that can help improve sleep.

The light is meant to ease you into sleep by syncing with your body’s circadian rhythm, and slowly dimming as you prepare to fall asleep.

The Glow is connected to an app so that users can easily program the length of time the light takes to dim–from fifteen minutes to an hour and a half. Once the settings are saved once, the light will activate the same way each time someone picks it up to get it started. The light can also be twisted to dim or brighten manually.

The light, which retails for $89 or $169 for two, primarily sits on a charging base, but is also portable. The idea is that if you are getting up in the middle of the night, you can pick up the Glow and bring it with you, illuminating your way without disturbing a partner or having to flip on bright overhead lights that can single your body to wake up.

Why It’s Hot

As wellness and self-care continues to be such a pervasive topic, consumers are very aware of the importance of getting a full night’s sleep, and willing to try new strategies and products to help them break the habit of staring at their phones in bed. With competition increasing from other mattress companies, Casper is pushing ahead into becoming more of a lifestyle brand with a holistic approach to sleep.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/90293556/the-future-of-jeans-inside-the-levis-innovation-lab-bringing-denim-into-2019 

H&M and Lyft Partner to Help People Recycle

This week, New Yorkers can use Lyft for a free ride to H&M. The partnership is meant to encourage people to participate in H&M’s Garment Collecting program–a global initiative where customers can drop off clothing from any brand to their local H&M, and H&M sends it to the nearest recycling plant for reuse. Every bag of clothing dropped off earns a 15% off discount at H&M .

All customers will have to do is enter the code HMRECYCLES to claim their free Lyft ride, up to $10.

The press release announcing the partnership highlights how both companies have committed to help the environment:

  • Since the Garment Collecting program started in 2013, H&M has collected 163 pounds of textiles globally
  • In 2018, Lyft committed to offsetting their carbon emissions, ensuring every Lyft ride in NYC is carbon-neutral

Why It’s Hot

Both companies are getting at their target customers’ affinity for eco-conscious brands, while helping prevent clothing from ending up in landfills.

Source: https://www.retaildive.com/news/hm-lyft-give-rides-to-customers-recycling-old-clothes/546629/

Finland’s AI Ambitions

Finland has set an ambitious goal to train 1% of its population (55,000 people) in the basics of AI. Their hope is that widespread technological expertise can help boost their economy and help them stay competitive in international markets, especially in the wake of Nokia’s decline.

In order to achieve this, they created a free online course called the Elements of AI. The course is made up of six parts, covering everything from machine learning to neural networks, and has a focus on practical, problem-solving applications.

The initiative has support of both the government and local businesses, with 250 companies vowing to train part or all of their workforce. So far, more than 10,500 people have graduated from the course.

Why It’s Hot

At a time when so many are afraid of how new technology will impact the current career landscape and are struggling to keep up with the pace of change, Finland’s idea to promote a free educational resource to equip its workforce is a smart move.

Source: https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/612762/a-countrys-ambitious-plan-to-teach-anyone-the-basics-of-ai/ 

Twitter Will Give You a New Way to Stream NBA Games

Starting on February 17th, Twitter will be live streaming NBA games–but only the second half, and only with an isolated view of one player. The interesting premise stems from existing second screen behavior. Instead of competing with fans who will watch the game on TV, Twitter wants to offer an interactive and complimentary experience.

During the first half of the game, fans can tweet to vote for which player they want to see in Twitter’s stream. Then, the “iso-cam” will stream on @NBAonTNT.

If the player selected happens to be benched or fouls out, the view will switch to a camera behind the backboard — still giving viewers a different perspective than what TNT will be airing on TV.

Why It’s Hot

This is a unique way to capitalize on the existing behavior of scrolling social media while watching sports. Twitter is giving people a reason to tune into their live stream to not miss out on the action that only they’ll be able to capture.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/01/09/twitter-nba-streams-focus-on-single-players/ 

Orangetheory Takes Their Gym to Hotels

Orangetheory is testing a new pop-up gym model across hotels nationwide. Their first location opened last month at the Hilton-owned Boca Raton Resort and Club, and the company has plans to launch at least 12 more locations this year.

Pop-up locations will operate similar to Orangetheory’s standalone locations. They will feature the same equipment and offer classes taught by trainers brought in from other Orangetheory gyms. Guests staying at the resort locations will be able to join an interval training class for $30. Those guests who are already Orangetheory members get a discounted rate of $20 per class.

For now, the pop-ups will be open for six months, allowing Orangetheory to measure success before committing to long-term leases.

Why It’s Hot

Hotel guests are captive audiences for trying out new experiences while they’re away from home and outside of their usual routines. This model could become the best way to introduce the Orangetheory method to potential new members.

Source: https://digiday.com/marketing/orangetheory-launching-pop-gyms-inside-hotels/

Postmates’ Food Delivery Robot

Postmates has introduced Los Angeles to Serve, a robot that will deliver food. Serve, which looks like a cooler on wheels with digital eyes, moves at walking speed and can carry up to 50lbs of food. In one charge, it can cover 30 miles.

Customers will be able to order food via the Postmates app, and then will receive a code to unlock the robot to retrieve their food when it arrives. They can also alert Postmates of any issues by interacting with Serve’s digital touch screen.

Serve is outfitted with lidar sensors to ensure it avoids obstacles, and uses a turn signal light to indicate to passersby that it is changing directions.

Postmastes calls Serve a socially aware navigation system, saying, “Serve’s personality is all about understanding people. Nothing about Serve’s intelligence is artificial.” In their announcement about their newest team member, they note that they are trying to be more city-friendly, as they will no longer be contributing to heavy street traffic.

Why It’s Hot

Postmastes has come up with a smart solution to enhance their delivery service while being environmentally conscious.

Source: https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/612605/postmates-has-launched-a-delivery-robot-that-will-bring-lunch-to-your-door/

Marie Claire Ventures into E-commerce

Marie Claire magazine has launched Marie Claire Edit – a shopping experience curated by their fashion editors. The e-commerce platform features brands including NET-A-PORTER,  ASOS, Topshop, and many more.

The idea of the site is to give Marie Claire readers a place to shop where all the items are current, on-trend and paired with pro styling tips. Products are pulled together in themes like, “The major knits to wear right now,” “These Christmas jumpers prove you can be festive AND chic” and “The checked blazer upgrades you’ll need this season.” So the editorial voice of Marie Claire remains, but the collections are lighter on text, with shopping truly the main focus.

Marie Claire Edit also plans to work closely with designers. Their future vision includes housing exclusive interviews and major product launch news.

Why It’s Hot

As print magazines continue to look for new ways to stay relevant and profitable, Marie Claire is taking a big step in a new direction for publishers.

Source: https://www.retaildive.com/news/marie-claire-magazine-unveils-content-driven-e-commerce-site/542874/

Future-Forward Shopping at Sam’s Club Now

Sam’s Club will soon be introducing a whole new way to shop in Dallas, Texas. Their new location, called Sam’s Club Now, will serve as the company’s “epicenter of innovation,” where they’re testing everything from augmented reality product overlays to self-checkout via mobile app. A video on their site demonstrates what the experience could look like. 

Shoppers will be able to make grocery lists on the app before entering the store. When they arrive, a map on their phone will direct them where to go to find the items on their list. The directions can also be activated by voice commands. Product pricing will use electronic labels — eliminating the need to manually print and replace signage. Scanning a product with their phone before adding it to a physical shopping cart allows for self-checkout when they’re finished.

AR product experiences will include showing ways to use the product, highlighting key features, and even speak to how items are sourced. There will also be kid-friendly experiences such as turning digital shopping carts into pirate ships or rockets.

Sam’s Club is using the new location to serve as a testing lab for these new technologies before rolling them out to other clubs. They’ll be using over 700 cameras to continually scan and optimize.

Why It’s Hot

Sam’s Club is testing innovative concepts that have the power to transform the everyday shopping experience.

Source: https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/327259/sams-club-goes-high-tech-adds-ar-voice-shopping.html

Saving the Trees One Ad View at a Time

65% of people skip pre-roll ads. But Busch Beer’s new “Tree-Roll” ad is giving people a compelling reason to watch to the end. For every full completion view, Busch is planting a tree.

They’ve partnered with the National Forest Foundation as part of the foundation’s effort to plant 50 million trees across America by 2023. For every $1 donated, 1 tree is planted.

The campaign ladders up to Anheuser-Busch’s larger effort to become the industry leader in sustainability.

Why It’s Hot

Besides being a creative way to get people to watch ads all the way through, Busch is hitting on a major area of interest for young Americans by taking a stand on climate change.

Source: https://cassandra.co/marketing/2018/10/25/more-trees-please 

Personalized Razors, Made Possible by 3-D Printing

Gillette is bringing personalization to the razor industry. Powered by 3-D printers, Gillette and printing company Formlabs have created Razor Maker – a website where you can customize and purchase a razor of your own design.

Gillette’s new Razor Maker™ handles can be printed in seven colors, including black, white, red, blue, green, grey and chrome. (Photo: Business Wire)

The base razors to choose from include 45 intricate designs that are named after their textures, inspired by nature (e.g. Redwood, Coral, Agave). People can customize the color, number of blades, and grip. There’s even an option to add 12 characters of text.

The razors go for $19-$45, with the option to add additional blade cartridges for an extra $15. While the Razor Maker site isn’t currently linked to Gillette’s subscription service Gillette On Demand, it does ask people whether or not they are interested in learning more about the service right before they check out.

Why It’s Hot

With Dollar Shave Club adding new products like shampoo and deodorant to their subscription boxes, and Harry’s Razors launching Flamingo, a new brand of razors and wax strips for women, it’s interesting to see that Gillette is turning to personalization and 3-D printing to stand out from the competition.

More importantly, this is one of the first times a major brand is offering mass customization with 3-D printing. There are endless possibilities that P&G can explore with their other brands, so they may be using Razor Maker as a trial run of the technology with plans to expand in the future.

Source: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181017005532/en/Gillette-Partners-Formlabs-%E2%80%93-Boston-Startup-Defining

 

A New Approach to Finding Locations

A start up called What3Words has mapped and renamed every location on Earth. Using an algorithm to scan GPS co-ordinates, they created 57 trillion 3 meter by 3 meter squares that each have unique three word address. For example, ‘Tools.sand.stone’ refers to a spot in Central Park in New York and ‘Sportscar.citronella.photocopiers’ is a square of the Antarctic Ocean.

They created this map in order to increase accuracy in navigation for businesses and individuals in a simple yet global way. 75% of countries don’t have their own organized addressing system, according to the UN, so the possibilities that this system opens up are far-reaching.

Consumers can download the free app in 25 languages to get directions. But the real value comes when What3Words partners with brands and government agencies. Pizza Hut and Dominoes are using these addresses in places like Mongolia and the Caribbean to deliver pizzas to remote locations. And several models of Mercedes are using What3Words for their built-in navigation systems.

Why It’s Hot

The applications for more precise, universal locations are a win-win for businesses and consumers. UPS estimates saving each of its drivers one mile per day would result in a $50 million in overall savings. For consumers, the benefits range from increased accuracy for driving directions to life-saving emergency vehicles arriving on the scene more quickly.

Source: https://www.marketingweek.com/2018/10/08/startup-simplify-location/

There’s a New Credit Card for People Without a Credit Score

Petal is a new company that provides credit cards to those who have not yet built up a traditional credit history. Instead, it uses data like how much money a person makes and spends in a month to determine what their credit limit should be. Petal Card_hires

One of the company’s co-founders, Jason Gross, explains that using a customer’s bank account history as a basis allows Petal to offer better credit limits that are often 10 times higher than competitors’ rates.

Annual Percentage Rates fall between the industry standard 14-25%, but the company has no fees of any kind, including late fees. Instead, the company generates money through interest payments and charging vendors when a customer uses their card.

Why It’s Hot: 

Younger people who don’t have a credit score yet finally have a credit card option that doesn’t penalize them with high rates and fees. As Gross has noted, this is especially important since this group is disproportionately made up of minorities and immigrants who often suffer without a credit score to help them qualify for financial products.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2018/10/02/petals-no-fee-credit-card-for-the-credit-score-less-is-now-open-to-the-public/ 

TripAdvisor is Relaunching as a Social Hub

TripAdvisor is overhauling their website and mobile app to be an all-in-one travel inspiration, planning and booking platform. Launching later in 2018, the redesign will include a new social feed aimed at giving each user a personalized, seamless experience.

People will be able to follow their friends as well as brands in the new feed. Over 500 partners are on board for launch, including publishers like National Geographic, The Travel Channel, and The Knot, and influencers like Giada De Laurentiis and TravelBabbo.

Content in the feed will include articles, videos, and recommendations that will help people discover new places. As members are planning a trip to a specific destination, they’ll see content relevant to the location and their interests. They can then save content into wish lists and itineraries, and ultimately book travel and experiences.

Why It’s Hot

60% of people booking travel online are already going to TripAdvisor. Building on their success with a social experience and the trusted expertise of publishers and influencers can only strengthen the platform.

Source: https://tripadvisor.mediaroom.com/2018-09-17-The-New-TripAdvisor-Goes-Social-Gets-Personal?m=58834

Audi Wants To Make it Easier to Pay Tolls

Companies like EZPass on the East Coast, FasTrak in California and TxTag in Texas have been helping people get through tolls faster with electronic tag devices for years. But soon, they’ll be in competition with cars that have electronic toll technology built in.

Starting with their new electronic vehicle e-tron, Audi is launching what they’re calling “Integrated Toll Module.” The technology leverages a toll transponder within the car’s rear-view mirror. Drivers will be able to pair their cars with wireless toll payment accounts, eliminating the need for a physical electronic tag.

audi e tron features integrated electronic toll tag technology module

The system places a toll transponder into the car’s rear-view mirror. From there, drivers will be able to pair their vehicle with their wireless toll accounts So there’s no more need to mount and deal with physical electronic tag devices on the upper portion of the windshield, or on the front license plate.

Audi says its Integrated Toll Modules are already compatible with existing toll agencies, meaning it will be easy to register new accounts and to drive cross-country between different toll authorities.

Why It’s Hot

Paying for tolls is a major hassle and source of traffic. Having technology built into cars to alleviate this problem can make many drivers’ daily commutes and longer trips significantly more pleasant.

Source: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/audi-e-tron-features-integrated-electronic-toll-tag-technology/ 

Getting Men to Talk Mental Health

Doctors are turning to apps to help men who view discussing mental health as a sign of weakness. They’re particularly hopeful that apps can help reach groups like working-class men, men in rural areas, and men approaching middle age, who are more likely to feel isolated and self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs instead of talking about their depression.

One new app that is geared towards helping men break the stigma around mental health is Headgear. Partially funded by men’s health charity the Movember Foundation, Headgear is designed to teach men coping mechanisms that can be used in real life situations.

The app’s 30-day challenge builds mental well-being through videos and quizzes, while tracking day-to-day emotions. While a full study is yet to be released, early anecdotal feedback from users shows positive results with decreased feelings of depression.

Why It’s Hot

While mental health apps have been on the rise, not many seem to cater to this target. Creating apps with advice around specific triggers can drive real impact for those suffering from depression.

Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/men-wont-talk-about-depression-and-its-literally-killing-them/