Genius Introduces Live Interactive Concerts

Genius Live is a new experience platform by Genius.com that aims to fill the current void in live concerts due to COVID-19. Their first event will feature a headlining performance by Wiz Khalifa, who is donating all proceeds to the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP).

Genius is calling the event an “interactive benefit concert” because there are actions attendees can take throughout–some free and some for purchase–that will affect the show in real-time. After signing up for free, fans can vote on the setlist (free), join a private watch party ($10), ask for a shoutout ($100), and ask a question ($200). Fans can also chat with each other throughout the experience.

The event will be streaming on the Genius Live platform, as well as simulcast on YouTube Live, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and Twitch. While this is the only event Genius has announced so far, they plan to expand the program with more artists over the next few months.

Why It’s Hot

While many others have been experimenting with how to take in person experiences online at this time, the interactive nature of this event sets it apart from other livestream concerts, and gives the audience new ways to interact with their favorite artists that a large stadium event would not allow.

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Etsy’s New AR Tool Makes It Easier to Shop for Art From Home

Etsy introduced a new augmented reality tool aimed at visualizing wall art in your space before you purchase. The functionality is built within the Etsy ios app, and at launch works for all prints, photographs, and portraits.

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

The feature works by moving your phone or tablet around your space, and tapping to place on the wall. In cases where different sizes are available, simply zooming in or out will showcase the various options and help you determine which dimensions fit best.

Etsy is using the launch as a beta test to gather feedback before rolling out to other product categories.

Why It’s Hot

At a time when people are online shopping for their home, from their home more than ever, this tool helps make the process easier and more personalized. As a marketplace that supports independent artists, Etsy is providing a significant advantage by helping bring their art to life and allowing potential buyers to experience how the art fits within their existing aesthetic.

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Spotify’s Wellness Routine

Spotify’s latest addition to curated personalized playlists is meant to aid people who are utilizing the platform for self-care as part of their new routines. Daily Wellness is a combination of songs and short-form podcast episodes that are refreshed twice a day — to ease you into the morning and wind-down at the end of the night.

Spotify

As with their other “Made For You” playlists, the selection each user sees is based on their listening activity. Spotify also added tracks in between that explain what you’re about to hear, for example, “up next, a few songs for you,” and “now let’s take a break to hear some talk.” This way, the playlist truly feels like an interconnected experience meant to be listened to in order from start to finish to help you cultivate a new routine.

Aside from the rising need for wellness practices, Spotify may have been responding to how users are using the platform differently at this time. They noticed a change in people’s listening habits now that there is no commuting to and from work, noting that looking at the data, “every day looks like the weekend.” There was a decline in listening to longform podcasts in the mornings. They are seeing an uptick in streaming from TVs and game consoles and less from cars and wearables.

Why It’s Hot

For listeners, Daily Wellness is a smart use of personalized content to provide value in an organic way. For Spotify, it’s a good way to become part of their users’ new work from home routines.

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Uber Launches Two New Delivery Services to “Move More of What Matters”

Uber announced two new services that will help people navigate two of the top challenges they are currently facing: getting the essentials they need for themselves, and sharing essentials with friends and family. With far fewer people relying on Uber to take them from place to place, Uber has rapidly pivoted into the transportation of goods.

The first service, Uber Direct, is an expansion of Uber Eats’ core functionality to grocery and convenience stores. They’ve launched with different partners in different cities, including Cabinet delivering OTC medicine in NYC and Greencross delivering pet supplies in Australia.

Uber Connect, on the other hand, will pick up items from one person and deliver them to another. Their example use cases include sending a care package, a board game, or toilet paper to a loved one, but there are countless ways this service can be used to stay connected from a distance.

Why It’s Hot

Getting key supplies to family members in need within the same-day without having to take public transportation or even leave your house is extremely beneficial at this time. But the convenience factor of sending items through an Uber driver may also lead to fun ways to send surprise gifts, exchange books, or trade supplies with friends and family in a way that makes social distancing a bit easier.

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Tipping Bartenders From Home

With most bartenders currently out of work due to mandated bar closures and social distancing, consumers and companies are stepping up to help them get through this with virtual tips. The hashtag #VirtualTipJar shows how many have set up ways to donate from Venmo to GoFundMe to dedicated websites.

One of the biggest contributors so far has been Miller Lite. They announced a $1,000,000 donation to the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program set up by the United States Bartender’s Guild, and are encouraging others to donate.

Ryan Reynolds’ company Aviation Gin is also contributing to the USBG fund. Through May 1st, they will be donating 30% of all their online sales.

The Aviation Gin website also mentions that the company already “started a tab” with a $15,000 donation.

Why It’s Hot

As communities do their best to rally around those who need it most right now, it’s encouraging to see how brands are doing their part to contribute and provide ways to help.

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How LVMH Transitioned From Perfume to Hand Sanitizer in 72 Hours

LVMH is home to high-end fashion brands like Christian Dior and Givenchy, but right now they are providing critical supplies to those in need due to the coronavirus. When the French government called for brands to help produce key medical supplies, LVMH stepped up right away to turn one of their factories from manufacturing luxury perfume to hand sanitizer.

The LVMH hand sanitiser rushed out amid the pandemic

They created and packaged a solution at a Dior factory within 72 hours, and are on track to donate 12 tons of hand sanitizer to local French hospitals this week. The company plans to ramp up production at nearby Givency and Guerlien factories as well, saying in a statement that “LVMH will continue to honour this commitment as long as necessary.”

The reason LVMH was able to move so quickly on this is multi-faceted. Luckily, sanitizer only requires three main ingredients — purified water, ethanol and glycerine — all of which LVMH already had on hand. And cosmetics factory equipment isn’t far off from pharmaceutical equipment, so it could quickly be repurposed. For example, a metal tank normally used to distill scent was turned into a machine used to mix the ingredients. Moreover, the viscosity of sanitizer is quite similar to the soaps and moisturizers LVMH was already producing, so the same filling machines, plastic bottles and pump dispensers could all be reused.

Why It’s Hot

While some brands were obviously linked to COVID-19 from the outset, a luxury fashion brand did not have a clear role and could have just as easily stayed out of the conversation. LVMH halting their production and using their resources for good is a major shift that will help people stay safe now, and generate positive brand sentiment for the future.

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Ikea’s Life-size Pizza Table

Ikea and Pizza Hut have teamed up to create furniture inspired by the tiny white “pizza saver” table that sits in every pizza box. And of course, the tabletop perfectly fits a pizza box.

Pizza Hut x IKEA Säva Table Collaboration White Pizza

Each table arrives in a humorous package that resembles a pizza box and, like other products, comes with details on how to assemble the product. IKEA illustrates a step-by-step process on unpacking the different parts, assembling the legs, calling Pizza Hut, receiving the pizza and placing it on the perfectly-sized table.

Image result for ikea pizza hut

Earlier this week, the Hong Kong division of IKEA and Pizza Hut teased a menu option centered around the furniture and home furnishing purveyor’s famed Swedish meatballs, the Swedish Meatball Pizza.

Why It’s Hot

The unexpected collaboration is a fun way to generate buzz around a basic white table and cross-promote both brands.

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The First Toy To Integrate with Amazon Alexa

Soon, toddlers can ask Alexa for help cooking in their very own toy kitchen. The Alexa 2-in-1 Kitchen and Market, from toymaker KidKraft, weaves in the Amazon voice assistant into an interactive pretend kitchen and grocery store.

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Making its debut at this weekend’s New York Toy Fair, the $300 deluxe wooden play set is expected to go on sale at Amazon.com later this year, and includes 100 play pieces that prompt various reactions from Alexa. Not included: Alexa itself, which would come from their parents’ Echo smart speaker, designed to sit at the center of the play set.

KidKraft created a program that works in the Amazon Alexa world that helps kids learn about cooking meals and shopping as they play, without having to say “Alexa” to get the assistant to react. Once the parent or child asks Alexa to start the KidKraft program, the smart speaker reacts to everyday words and phrases kids may say during play. So, if Alexa picks up on a kid saying “spaghetti,” “market” or “let’s play,” Alexa will chime in with prompts for a recipe, a shopping list of ingredients, or start up a game.

But Alexa is not just responding to kids’ voices — it can also tell which items kids are playing with and react accordingly. The accessories in the play set, which include fake food and cookware, are fitted with RFID chips, and sensors can tell which items are at the register or on the stovetop. The play set then relays that info to the smart speaker via Bluetooth. That means when a child places the pot on the stove, Alexa may say, “Now that the water is boiling, can you open up the fridge and grab some vegetables?”

The play set is also programmed with several games Alexa can play. For example, the “Secret Ingredient Game” challenges kids to guess which food Alexa is thinking of based on clues. Then kids have to scan the right item at the check-out counter.

To address any concerns over kids interacting with voice assistants, Amazon requires Alexa programs for kids — including this one made by KidKraft — to follow stricter content guidelines. Programs for kids can’t include any advertising, sell anything, collect any personal information or include content that is not suitable for all ages.

Why It’s Hot

As toy companies determine the balance of technology and analog, tactile ways to play, this kitchen set seems like a great first step into how to upgrade a classic toy without the use of screens or interfering with imaginative free play.

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Apple Watch Users Can Now Get Rewards for Going to the Gym

For years Apple Watch customers have been walking and running to meet step counts just for the satisfaction of meeting their goals. Now Apple is upping the ante with a new rewards program called Apple Watch Connected.

Apple GymKit

Apple Watch Connected will allow any fitness entity to integrate with the Apple Watch so members can track their health and earn rewards such as gift cards and discounts.To participate in the program, gyms must have equipment enabled with GymKit, a platform that lets users sync their Watch to cardio machines and collect their workout data. GymKit first launched two years ago, and since then Apple has worked with manufacturers like Technogym, Life Fitness, and Octane Fitness to incorporate hardware and GymFit code into their treadmills, stair climbers, and other equipment. It works like this: Users can scan their watch against an NFC reader on a piece of equipment anytime during their workout to capture their progress and send it to their Watch. It’s particularly useful for garnering metrics the Watch might have a hard time calculating on its own, like how many steps were taken on a stair climber, for example, where a person stays static in space.

The Apple Watch Connected platform pulls in the data from GymKit and pipes it into the fitness brand’s Watch and iPhone app, where members can then view and plan their workout schedule.  Through the Apple Watch Connected integration, fitness studios will also be able to offer prizes based on member activity. Since Apple Watch can give studios insight into how active its members are wherever they are, the programs launching today will give out points to members whether they go for a run outside or do yoga in the studio (as long as they get their heart rate up).
Each reward program is designed by the fitness brand. At Crunch Fitness, for example, goals are set each week and members can earn credits toward their membership—as much as $15 a month. The new program will start at 17 locations with plans to encompass all 350 locations nationwide by the end of the year. Going forward, Crunch Fitness will only purchase new cardio equipment that has GymKit as part of its offering, so that eventually all of its cardio equipment has that feature.

Gyms do not have to pay to join Apple Watch Connected. Apple says it is primarily interested in helping its users be active. But there may be another incentive for the company–fitness centers that hook into Apple Watch Connected must accept Apple Pay at their studios to participate. Having Apple Pay accepted at more fitness studios gives Apple more opportunity to cash in on transaction fees, a growing source of revenue for the company.

Why It’s Hot

Apple Watch Connected will help motivate gyms to integrate GymKit, making Apple Watch significantly more useful and accurate for gym goers.

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This Pop-Up Will Let You Trade In CBD Products from Other Brands

With so many CBD-infused products on the market, first-time CBD users or curious onlookers might need a little help in choosing which brand to try. Even post-purchase, users might not feel totally comfortable that what they’ve bought is working, or even safe. Charlotte’s Web, a leader in the CBD space that sells hemp-based products, wants to help by inviting consumers to trade in their own unwanted or questionable bottles from other brands, while learning more about CBD and their products are made.

The Colorado-based company opened the CBD Swap pop-up in Miami. The swap program, which runs now through Feb. 1, is the first of its kind for a CBD company. Consumers who trade in their bottles will receive a free bottle of the brand’s original oil tincture.

According to a report from Brightfield Group, a consumer insights and market research group for the CBD and cannabis industries, there are more than 3,500 different CBD brands operating in the space—so it makes sense that consumers might be confused or overwhelmed.

 

Because of strict regulations, most traditional marketing channels like social media aren’t yet available to CBD companies–another reason for exploring the pop-up model. The space will also host events, with special activations around the Super Bowl.

In its first five days, the pop-up garnered more than 20 million earned media impressions in local press outlets, according to the brand.

 

 

Why It’s Hot

This pop-up model is a great way to pull in skeptical or misinformed consumers and be able to dispel some of the myths around CBD in an engaging manner.

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Volkswagen Is Working On a Car-Charging Robot

Finding that one free electric car charging spot in a parking garage can be a chore, but if Volkswagen’s new project catches on, the charging spot might come to you instead. The company announced a concept for a mobile charging robot that navigates its way to electric cars and charges them on its own.

Volkswagen's new invention could turn every car park into an electric car park.

The robot would contain a “mobile energy storage device” (a big battery on wheels with about 25kWh worth of energy content). It would be able to communicate with the car, open the charging socket flap and plug in with no human interaction. It’s also fitted with cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonic sensor, which would allow it to move freely and go around obstacles. When the charging is complete, the robot would collect the battery and take it back to a base charging station.

Once it connects the mobile battery to a car, the robot can go perform other tasks until the charging is done.

Volkswagen envisions the robot’s primary use in parking garages and underground car parks. Depending on the parking area size, several of these robots could be employed at one parking lot.

Why It’s Hot

The limited availability of charging stations is currently a barrier to electric car ownership. This helps ease the burden of finding an available place to charge, while saving the driver time as their car can be charged for them while they go about their day.

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The Gift of “Icing” With Smirnoff

This holiday season, Smirnoff rolled out the perfect joke gift. They created a fake luxury home brand, Cremisiffino, with boxes that display a range of products from hand-held mixers to ironing boards. But in reality, the only item inside is a bottle of Smirnoff Ice.

Smirnoff Ice ″Cremsiffino″ Boxes

They’re playing off the trend of “icing” that’s been around for years now–where someone hides a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, and the unsuspecting recipient who finds it is supposed to kneel and chug the bottle.

While the official Cremisiffino box was set at a pretty steep price, $10 for an empty box and $20 for a box including one bottle, Smirnoff announced on Twitter that they sold out within 2 days.

Why It’s Hot

While the boxes are simple, the idea of combining white elephant prank gifts with the icing prank is a smart way to keep Smirnoff top of mind and in social feeds for the holidays.

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How Social Media Can Help Save Indonesians From Climate Disasters

28-year-old architect Nashin Mahtani’s website, PetaBencana.id, uses artificial intelligence and chat-bots to monitor and respond to social posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Telegram by communities in Indonesia hit by floods. The information is then displayed on a real-time map that is monitored by emergency services.

Image result for petabencana screenshot

“Jakarta is the Twitter capital of the world, generating 2% of the world’s tweets, and our team noticed that during a flood, people were tweeting in real-time with an incredible frequency, even while standing in flood waters,” said Mahtani, a graduate of Canada’s University of Waterloo. Jakarta residents often share information with each other online about road blockages, rising waters and infrastructure failures.

Unlike other relief systems that mine data on social media, PetaBencana.id adopts AI-assisted “humanitarian chat-bots” to engage in conversations with residents and confirm flooding incidents. “This allows us to gather confirmed situational updates from street level, in a manner that removes the need for expensive and time-consuming data processing,” Mahtani said.

 

In early 2020, the project will go nationwide to serve 250 million people and include additional disasters such as forest fires, haze, earthquakes and volcanoes.

Why It’s Hot

Aggregating social data in real-time on a map allows for easy flow of information between residents in need and emergency services who can help them. In a situation when every second counts to help as many people as possible, this use of technology is truly life-saving.

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Rent the Runway Can Now Stock Your W Hotel Room Closet

Rent the Runway is taking their clothing rentals to W Hotels with a new “Closet Concierge” service. Upon booking a room, guests will be able to choose four styles to rent for $69 and have those items waiting for them in their hotel rooms. Guests can then drop off items at their location’s welcome desk when checking out.

The RTR Closet Concierge service is launching at W Aspen, W South Beach, W Washington, D.C. and W Hollywood.

According to a press release, the goal of the Closet Concierge launch is a means of extending services so clients can “pack light, really light.” While guests will have access to Rent the Runway’s Unlimited Closet, selections also will be personalized to each hotel location based on silhouettes, trending colors and the area’s climate.

Why It’s Hot

Quick getaways or “micro-cations” are the most popular trips Americans are taking. So having four styles waiting in your hotel room might really mean you can leave your clothes at home when traveling. It also taps into a market of travel influencers who always want new outfits to feature on their social feeds. For those who have never used Rent the Runway before, it seems like a great way to try the service and get a sense of what clothing is available.

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Amazon’s New Smart Shelf for Small Businesses

Amazon has announced the Dash Smart Shelf, a Wi-Fi-connected smart scale that connects to Amazon’s shopping services and can automatically reorder supplies when they run low.

It’s designed for small businesses to put in their supply rooms, and it can sense the weight of things like pens or printer paper that are placed on top of it. When those items run out, customers can either set the scale to automatically reorder the item in question or simply send a notification to whoever manages the company’s supplies to manually place an order instead. (Although Amazon also says that the Dash Smart Shelf is designed to avoid accidental automatic reorders if items are just temporarily removed.)

To sweeten the deal, Amazon is offering businesses using the Dash Smart Shelf discounts of “up to 15 percent” on certain items, like Keurig and Folgers coffee, Nestle Coffee-Mate, Kind snack bars, Bic pens, 3M Post-it Notes and Scotch tape, and more.

Setting up the scale is fairly simple: either plug the scale into the wall or add four AAA batteries, connect it to Wi-Fi through the Amazon, and then use either your Amazon Business account or the Amazon app to specify which item you’ll be using with the shelf. The Dash Smart Shelf is roughly one inch tall, and it comes in three sizes: small (7 x 7 inches), medium (12 x 10 inches), and large (18 x 13 inches).

Why It’s Hot

After discontinuing the Dash buttons for homes earlier this year, it’s interesting to see Amazon shifting the focus to small businesses who may find this service more useful. There is also a big potential for partner brands to drive preference among small businesses with the 15% discount.

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Bigger Waves = Bigger Discounts on Flights for Surfers

Alaska Airlines teamed up with surf forecasting site Surfline to create a sales promotion that uses data from waves to determine prices for flights to Hawaii.

For the “Swell Deals” promotion,​ Surfline will source data from sites that monitor wave conditions by the minute around the Hawaiian Islands to determine the offer. A reading of 0-10 ft. will generate a 10% discount, 11-15 ft. swells translate to 15% off, 16-20 ft. leads to 20% off and 21+ ft. swells will bring a 30% discount.

Digital and social ads supporting the promotion will be dynamically updated and Alaska Airline’s landing page will feature the live Surfline forecast along with the corresponding discount.

Why It’s Hot

The use of real-time data creates a sense of urgency to book flights, while personally appealing to surfers’ motivation for traveling to Hawaii.

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A Re-imagined Post Office in Finland

On November 1st, Finnish state-owned postal service provider Posti opened a new facility called Box in Helsinki featuring giant package lockers and a fitting room for online shoppers. The location will also serve as a physical store for online retailers and a testing space for Posti’s new digital services.

Posti conducted a study showing that almost a fifth of Finns expect to be doing most, if not all, of their shopping online by 2025. So they want to make it easier for customers to have their order delivered to Box and pick it up when they’re on the go, and be able to finish their experience in-store.

For example, if a customer has ordered clothes online, they can try on the clothes at Box. If they fit, they can take their package home, but if not, they can return the package right away. Posti will also allow customers to open packages and leave the packing materials behind to be recycled. While customers are there, they can take care of other postal activities or shop pop-up displays from various online retailers that will be featured.

In addition, Box has been designed to be carbon neutral. The convenient location in the city-center is easily reachable by public transportation and along many of their customers’ everyday routes.

Why It’s Hot

Returns are often the biggest pain point in e-commerce. This model has turned an annoying task into a pleasant experience.

A Bike Helmet People Might Actually Wear

Park & Diamond is selling a foldable bike helmet on Indiegogo. The innovative design looks like a baseball cap, but complies with–and even exceeds–federal safety regulations.

The helmet, made of mesh and foam, was designed by former SpaceX engineers. It comes in several styles and colors, and weighs only 8 ounces, directly combating most  qualms with traditional helmets.

Why It’s Hot

As bike and scooter sharing become more widespread, this helmet can be a game-changer in getting people to stay safe.

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Target Wants Every Child to Feel Included This Halloween

Target has introduced 4 new inclusive Halloween costumes to their Hyde and Eek! Boutique for children with disabilities. While previously it was up to crafty parents to transform wheelchairs and accommodate special needs in creative ways, Target is making it significantly easier for these families to celebrate Halloween without the extra effort.

Inclusive Halloween Costumes for Disabled Kids

The princess and pirate costumes are designed to be easy for wheelchair users to take on and off, and have detachable hook-and-loop attachments that can transform kids’ wheelchairs into a carriage or pirate ship.

Wheelchair Costumes

The unicorn and shark costumes cater to kids with sensory sensitivities. They are super soft, with flat seams and no tags. There are also pieces that are easily detachable to further customize kids’ comfort levels.

Inclusive Halloween Costumes

The costumes fit within a larger array of inclusive children’s items at Target, including adaptive apparel and sensory-friendly furniture.

Why It’s Hot

Consumers today expect companies to deliver on inclusion. At a time when schools cancelling Halloween celebrations for the sake of inclusion are causing controversy in the news, Target is making strides in ensuring that no kid gets left out of trick-or-treating.

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Google Partners with Domino’s to Deliver the Ultimate Unboxing Experience

To showcase the Pixel 4’s hands-free, gesture-based functions, Google wants people to test out the new phones while their hands are occupied holding pizza. So Google partnered with Domino’s to send more than 50 influencers in the U.S. special pizza boxes that have the phone nestled above an actual Domino’s pizza.

The hope, of course, is that recipients record the unboxing and share to YouTube. The box even comes with fun prompts to get them started, such as telling the Google Assistant to play the Genesis song “Invisible Touch” and then swiping above the device to skip to the next track.

A separate “side orders” box serves as a way to prop up the phone for recording, and contains accessories such as a charging cable, case, and guide.

Why It’s Hot

Google knew influencers were already planning to film their Pixel 4 unboxings, but adding pizza ups the social share factor while providing natural ways to start testing the new gesture features.

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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/