Gamers Join the Fight Against Corona

NVIDIA, inventor of the GPU, which creates interactive graphics is calling for gamers to lend pare computing power from their graphic processing units (GPUs) to support scientific research on Corona Virus.

By downloading the folding@home app,participating users can decide when to share or turn off sharing of their GPU’s. Able to carry out massive computing tasks, such as those required during research as complicated as drug and virus simulations, idle GPUs could come in handy in the battle against Covid-19.

The more data that is generated around the virus (think genome analysis) the more analysis becomes the bottleneck in both time and cost perspectives. Having the extra processing power will come in handy.

Source: ForbesNVIDIA

Why it’s hot: Businesses of all sorts and sizes are being forced to pivot, this is a good example of how businesses can leverage unused resources to fight the corona virus.  

Social Distancing Late-Night Editions

Out of necessity and through personal good will,  late-night hosts are offering much-needed respite during this time. Taking to youtube sometimes with just their smartphones, they are performing without live in-studio announcers, without live bands. But the struggle is not only due to Covid-19. For months, late night hosts have been struggling with changing viewer habits especially in the younger co-hort who doesn’t watch SNL on Saturday nights.

The debate about whether late-night programs need to be viewed in their traditional time slot has been bubbling for months, particularly as the hosts, writers and producers have ramped up a slew of ancillary pieces of content: jokes posted all day on Twitter; traveling exhibits; Facebook video exchanges and more. Seth Meyers’ “Late Night” often posts its signature “Closer Look” commentary segments on Twitter several hours before the NBC program kicks off at 12:35 in the morning.

Why it’s hot: Having to test new ways to engage viewers could change the way late-night operates.

Source: https://variety.com/2020/tv/news/late-night-tv-coronavirus-jimmy-fallon-stephen-colbert-jimmy-kimmel-1203538149/

Forget FOMO

 

Keeping up with the internet today is time consuming and almost impossible. Set up RSS feeds (yes they still exist), Twitter lists, Youtube channel notifications, email refreshes, phone notifications for all of your apps, that while living a well balanced life is impossible.

Like a super-powered RSS feed, Fraidycat is here to help you.

My Fraidycat home page

Fraidycat works as a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox or as an app for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It bundles together all of your favorite internet stuff into one easy-to-read page, much like a super-powered RSS reader. The best part is that it’s not algorithmic like the Social Network That Shall Not Be Named.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2020/2/25/21153460/fraidycat-app-extension-internet-reader-rss-news-blogs-youtube 

How it works:

  1. Drop a link to a favorite website
  2. Label the lik approrpiately
  3. Watch as Fraidycat organizes the content and updates it according to your settings.

The site is lo-fi, reminiscent of the bygone era of individuals creating content, before the giants took over.

Say you want to know what a small, niche YouTuber you like has posted in a single week, but you’d rather know what your favorite tech blog posts every day. You can organize your Fraidycat lists to separate those out, so it’s easy to jump between either based on the frequency or by the individual tags you’ve given each respective item. (You can even use emoji as tags.) Fraidycat will pull new info every five to 10 minutes as it comes in for items designated real-time and once every one to two hours for daily ones. (There’s also self explanatory weekly, monthly, and yearly options.)

 

Sources:
https://github.com/kickscondor/fraidycat
https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2020/2/25/21153460/fraidycat-app-extension-internet-reader-rss-news-blogs-youtube

Why it’s hot: In a way, it’s bringing back the egalitarianism that made the internet so great in its infancy by dissolving the barriers between networks and allowing people to curate their own personal survailance network.

Capitalizing on Alternative Uses

In time for the Oscar’s, google released “Find Your Scene” a 60-second spot that garnered over 11 million views on YouTube in just over a week.

Using UGC (user generated content), the spot features footage from famous YouTubers and regular folks to highlight how Google Maps can pinpoint (and provide directions to) famous movie locations (check out: Rocky StepsDoc Brown’s house or the beach from the Goonies).

Why It’s Hot:
Google capitalizes on the trend of Cinematic Tourism to showcase a feature that the product has had for a long time; the surprise and delight comes from the unusual use of the service.

 

Filling Food Prescriptions

Image result for free stock photography supermarket fruits and veg

Kroger, a US supermarket chain, is testing out a new service that has shoppers filling their food prescriptions. Born from the realization that doctors’ nutritional advice to patients is often vague – we’ve all heard “eat healthier”- the initiative pairs shoppers with aisle side assistance from nutritionists. The ideas is that dieticians can make more specific recommendations that make the doctor’s advice more actionable. Nutritionists take into considertaion budget, cooking skills and lifestyle when making recommendations.

The pilot launched last spring in Kroger’s hometown of Cincinnati, OH. In its current form, diabetes patients work with a local physician who makes dietary recommendations they can then take to a nutrition expert at a Kroger in Forest Park, OH. The prescription itself is actually just a shopping list of food items that have been tailored to the patient’s specific medical condition.

Source: https://thespoon.tech/kroger-is-testing-food-as-medicine-with-food-prescriptions-for-customers/

Why it’s hot:
Talk about added value! Kroger is talking to people in the right place and the right time and going above and beyond.

 

Increasing Financial Literacy One Athlete at a Time

Image result for tokyo olympics

Competing on the world stage is an honor for Olympic athletes, but what happens when their athletic careers end?

That’s the problem Visa is trying to solve with it’s newly announced endeavor during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. For 70 athletes, the games won’t only be about competition – they will be a stage for increasing their financial literacy. Led by former olympian and VP of marketing at Visa, the program will offer courses on topics including digital payments, building a social brand and entrepreneurship.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/13/visa-offers-financial-literacy-to-olympic-athletes.html

Why it’s hot: It’s not just athletes that are plagued by future job security, 94% of Americans can’t even pass a financial literacy quiz! There’s a huge opportunity for our financial clients to step in and offer some guidance.

 

Recording Scents for Posterity

Technology is not just making our lives easier by eliminating redundancies (from jobs to processes), it’s also quickly reducing our olfactory catalog. But fear not, the folks at UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage are developing different techniques to recover “extinct” scents from the past and to preserve those around today for the future.


Source: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200108-why-preserving-certain-scents-is-important

Most cultural heritage preservation products center around visual heritage, however preservationists at UCL noted that one unprotected cultural heritage is scent.

In 2003, Unesco adopted a convention to safeguard intangible cultural heritage, which includes social practices, oral traditions and performing arts. Where, though, were the scents? For centuries there have been cultural practices where smell plays a vital role, like the Spanish Fiesta of the patios in Cordova or the Holy Week processions in Popayán, Colombia. In 2018, the skills related to perfumery in Pays de Grasse, France, were included on the intangible heritage list. No scents themselves, however, are listed.

From the smell of an old book to the smell of a pub “full of smoke and men and beerspilled on the floor and disinfectants coming out of the toilets, smell codifiers are trying to build a socio-economically agnostic library.

But why does smell matter? What valuable iformation can be written into the odour of an object or place? It’s all about culture and economy. Smells can give us an indication of a place’s character, but also tell a lot about the people of the area, their tastes and distastes.

Why it’s hot: Although facing obstacles of mainstream adoption, sych as health dangers of synthetic odors, the Digital Scent technology industry is projecting a forcast growth of 17.3% from now to 2025 (from 98.8M to 187.3M).

No Luggage, No Problem

W Hotels and Rent the Runway are partnering for a service long awaited by heavy and light packers alike.

Now, for the first time ever, travelers can have access to all the perks of Rent the Runway on the road as the Rent the Runway (RTR) Closet Concierge launches at select W hotels around the country.


Source: https://news.marriott.com/news/2019/12/05/the-closet-that-checks-in-before-you-do-w-hotels-x-rent-the-runway-team-up-to-redefine-the-rules-of-packing

When guests arrive at the hotel, they will find a variety of outfits tailored to the weather and location. No packing and no baggage required!

After booking the room, guests will be able to choose from four rental styles to outfit themselves during their stay from Rent the Runway’s Unlimited Closet for only $69 USD. Guests have access to the entire Unlimited Closet in addition to being able to select from a destination-ready assortment tailored to each unique W hotel location incorporating Rent the Runway’s proprietary data on trending colors, designers, silhouettes and the climate of each location. To return, guests simply drop-off the items at the Welcome Desk at check-out.

Why It’s Hot:
Brand collaborations with a purpose are the best! Anything that eases the burden of travel is bound to take off.

 

Twitter is Breaking Up the Flock

Image result for decentralize twitter"

Several years ago, Twitter snubbed developers by limiting features they could use when using the Twitter API to create their own interoperable products. Today, they are trying to right that wrong.  In essence, the company will be adding a layer above twitter that will decentralize the service much like email, where yahoo users and Gmail users can email between one another making it platform agnostic.

Twitter is funding a small independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media. The goal is for Twitter to ultimately be a client of this standard.

Although years away, the Bluesky team will eventually be building social media protocols that will allow the company to prove the viability of decentralized social media. Some are criticizing the move saying it will reduce Twitter’s liabilities regarding the types of content that have gotten the company in trouble in the past. Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, argues that Twitter’s value lies in its ability to direct attention towards valuable tweets – not hosting all the content.

Finally, new technologies have emerged to make a decentralized approach more viable. Blockchain points to a series of decentralized solutions for open and durable hosting, governance, and even monetization. Much work to be done, but the fundamentals are there,” Jack Dorsey

What this looks like: 

  • Centralized platforms have a lot of control over what data is seen, with algorithms deciding which content gets exposed. It promotes one type of content over another.
  • With decentralized social media, there would be no central control, no team of people who decide what content is shown to whom.
  • Personal data would go back to the hands of the user who would give complete control and could decide who to share it with.

Why it’s hot: 

Although still a pipe dream with a long road ahead, decentralization of social media may become the way of Web 3.0 – reducing platforms liabilities for UGC and democratizing content discovery – but what will become of brands that use these platforms?

Sources: TechCrunch, The Verge, Business Insider

 

Back to the Basics

  • The average smartphone user checks their device 47 times a day / 17,155 a year.
  • Conversation killer! 85% of smartphone users will check their device while speaking with friends and family.
  • 80% of smartphone users check their phone within 1 hour of waking or going to sleep35% of which will do within 5 minutes.
  • 47% of smartphone users have attempted to limit their usage in the past – only 30% of which feel they were successful.
    Source: https://www.bankmycell.com/blog/smartphone-addiction/

Experiments with Google is trying to help people break their cellphone addiction with a printable paper phone which will help you rest from your digital world.

An app lets you choose what to include such as favourite contacts, maps and meetings and then prints them directly to a sheet of paper. Customisable “paper apps” like recipes, phrasebooks and notepads let you get things done or unwind in a more focussed way.

Source: https://experiments.withgoogle.com/paper-phone

Paper Phone is an experimental open source Android app which is available to try and the code is available on Github for people to adapt and evolve.

Why It’s Hot:

Cellphone addiction is real, more than half (58%) of smartphone users have attempted to limit their usage. Great technology should help improve life, not distract from it.

Bonus

Long Layovers, No Problem

Traveling without traveling may be the wave of the future.  All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s biggest airline, is working on telepresence robots to do the traveling for you. Gone would be the days of flight delays, long layovers, physical and financial stress. The robot, Newme was unveiled at Tokyo’s Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies.

Newme, a stand-in robot gives users the ability to enjoy their vacations without leaving the comfort of their home – potentially redefining stacations for ever.

The telepresence robot is a boxy adjustable 10.1-inch touchscreen with 1080p resolution on support that connects it to wheels. The bot has the ability to travel at speeds of 1.8 mph with about three hours of battery life. The user can use a VR headset to experience the environment through the robot’s perspective.

Source: Mashable

ANA envisions the robot to serve as an ‘AVATAR’ for humans in all types of environments, from the deap sea to the surface of the moon. The company also recognizes the robots can be used in industries outside of tourism.

 “By placing the world at your fingertips, Avatars will open up new possibilities and help reshape everything from business and education to healthcare and entertainment.”

ANA CEO Shinya Katanozaka source

 

Why It’s Hot and Why It’s Not

We are increasingly seeing technological advancements born from one industry that have applications and implications across verticals. When well executed and developed, the technology will have the potential not only change the way people travel (ex. opening up new worlds to people with disabilites), but how they work, learn and live.

On the flip side, are we facing a future where people live virtual only lives with less and less interactions? Ready Player One?

Subscription Wings

Jumping on  America’s subscription craze, KFC has cooked up a $75 offer to promote its wings.

Starting today on StubHub, KFC will sell up to 500 “Seasoned Tickets” – which give each buyer a weekly order of 48 KFC chicken wings for nine weeks, with a final order of 96 wings in the 10th and final week.


Source: AdAge

Kicking off during football season, the subscription is a real deal – each order of 48 KFC wings usually costs $36.99. Each subscriber gets 528 wings — a $406.89 value – for just $75, delivery included.

For KFC, offering a wing subscription is one way to try to stand out in what’s becoming an increasingly competitive fried chicken category. Popeyes got plenty of attention for its chicken sandwich, which is set to return to the national menu at some point after selling out in August, and industry leader Chick-fil-A continues to open locations at a rapid clip. KFC says “Seasoned Ticket” holders can vary their flavors, choosing from unsauced wings or one of three sauces: Nashville hot, Buffalo or honey BBQ.

Why it’s Hot

It’s an interesting brand collaboration (tickets and chicken, who would have thought?), it capitalizes on moments when the brand should be top of mind (wings and football).

Night Feeding Just Got an Oz. Better

Launched in the UK recently, the Night Feed app is part of a great wave of innovations that are geared at providing real empathy for the female experience. It provides moms entertainment, useful content and a community of other mothers to connect during the lonely midnight feeding hours.


Source: https://www.phoenixmag.co.uk/article/model-and-content-queen-ruth-crilly-is-launching-a-night-feed-app-to-combat-new-mum-loneliness/ 

It’s been positioned as a “virtual sancuaty for the sleep deprived” and includes interviews with pediatricians and midwives, guides for breast feeding clothes, book clubs, and other interest-based groups.

 “IT’S HARD TO PUT YOURSELF IN THE POSITION OF SOMEONE WHO IS THAT SLEEP DEPRIVED – With both kids, I’ve felt so lonely during the nights. No one else is up and you feel knackered and resentful… THE APP STEMS FROM WHEN I WAS IN THAT HEADSPACE”

Why It’s Hot: The app goes beyond regular baby feeding apps that only monitor feeding times and amounts, it shows real understanding and emapthy for the real female experience.

Move Over Tupac, Whitney is Back

Image result for Base hologram whitney

Whitney Houston is back on tour, at least her hologram will be. Last week, in partnership with the Estate of Whitney Houston, US-Based holographic production company BASE Hologram announced the first dates of her tour. Titled An Evening with Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour, it will run in Europe from January to April 2020. The North America Tour is scheduled for Q4 2020. The show will feature a hologram of the late singer, singing and dancing to digitally remastered arrangements of her hit songs, accompanied by a live band and back-up singers and dancers.
Source: http://info.trendwatching.com/whitney-houston-coming-to-an-arena-near-you

“While ‘An Evening With Whitney’ will include all of her iconic hits, it’s not a throwback show,” BASE Hologram chairman and CEO Brian Becker told Rolling Stone. “This isn’t a journey through time, but more of a celebration of her best work. The main goal in these types of shows is to preserve the legacy of one-of-a-kind musicians and, using their actual master recordings, give fans the chance to see them perform — many, for the first time.”

Image result for Base hologram whitney

Brands have experimented with holograms before,  from an interactive Madame Tussauds attraction in Tokyo, to the CGI model on the BAFTA’s red carpet to US presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s plan to campaign (!) using holograms. But putting on a concert tour is a whole other level.

Some find it morbid, some find it nostalgic, some find it incredible. Either way, combining live musicians and dancers can make for quite the unexpected show.

Why it’s hot:  This tour will  serve as a yet another test of Hologram technology and whether it has improved to the point where it will be more widely used.

Glade Makes Their Way Into Your Home

Glade has partnered with Walmart to create a brand new marketing medium, the Packing Pillow!

Source: https://www.contagious.io/articles/the-smell-of-success

When consumers unpacked their Walmart deliveries and popped the pillows, they got a whiff of Glade’s spring fragrance before being offered the opportunity to purchase the scent via a QR code.

Why It’s Hot

  1. it solves the problem of getting online consumers to test out a smell based product
  2. It uses something that gets into consumers homes and hands every time

Saving the Early Web

Software becomes obsolete, companies that host websites go out of business, people stop paying for domain names – history is being erased, but some brave crusaders are ensuring it remains documented. Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied are on a quest to preserve the early internet. And although it seems like an easy way to mock the early web, their efforts are focused on maintaining an archive as a way to learn how to make the internet better.

original url http://www.geocities.com/nelly_ville_21/ last modified 2003-03-27 22:06:24original url http://www.geocities.com/we_are_brave/ last modified 2003-03-27 19:10:11Source: https://oneterabyteofkilobyteage.tumblr.com/

What started as an archive of what not to do online is slowly becoming a springboard for exploring new ways of experiencing the internet. With design, best practices and cookie-cutter web templates (wix, et al.) the internet has become somewhat of a sterile environment. Like a refined art gallery. And although user experience has improved vastly, much has been lost in the sterilization of the internet.

Today, platforms limit what you can post, and unless you are a developer you are forced into uniformity. But beyond that, the concept that the world wide web was made by individuals and accessible to all is fading. The modern internet is lacking in personality.

But we’re slowly seeing the early web aesthetic having comeback, slowly but surely. Websites are creeping up that embrace pixelated gifs and rainbow comic sans…


Official Captain Marvel Website: https://www.marvel.com/captainmarvel/

Official Bojack Horseman Website: http://www.bojackhorseman.com/

Why It’s Hot: As a digital agency, we should focus on ensuring best in class experiences for users, but should also be open to pushing the boundaries of what is conventional and look into the past for inspiration.

Electronic Taste Test

IBM pushes boundaries once more with it’s latest development from IBM Research, IBM corporation’s innovation engine. Hypertaste, an AI powered electronic taste test.

IBM has called Hypertaste an ‘AI-assisted e-tongue for fast and portable fingerprinting of complex liquids.’ The portable device can reportedly recognise individual elements in liquids extremely rapidly without the need for a high-end laboratory.

Source: https://www.contagious.io/articles/tongue-in-drink

How it works:

  • Electrochemical sensors (made up of pairs of electrodes) respond to voltage signals that capture the checmical information of a liquid
  • The data is then sent to the cloud where AI crossreferences it with a database of known liquids
  • Results are relayed to the device within seconds

Hypertaste can be used in industries such as pharma, fragrance, or healthcare as a quality gauge. It could also be used to test liquids for human and animal consumption and environmental monitoring. Among the benefits are speed and reduced cost for specialized instruments and equipment. But it’s biggest value may come from filling a large gap in the chemical analytics market. Currently lacking a portable tool capable of rapid fingerprinting of complex liquids.

Why it’s hot:

Aside from creating efficiency and lowering costs, Hypertaste can help brands ensure that their products remain up to standard to meet consumer expectations and build trust.

A Case of Mistaken Identity

With over 20K signatures, accusations against the TV show “Good Omens” are causing a raucous. A US Christian group called the Return to Order has launched a petition to cancel the show saying it presents “devils and Satanists as normal and even good, where they merely have a different way of being, and mocks God’s wisdom.”

Protests and requests for show cancelations are not rare or new. So what’s causing the raucous? The group has petitioned Netflix to cancel a show on Amazon Prime Video.

Why it’s hot:

Brand recognition is EVERYTHING!

 

Keurig of Cocktails or Juicero of Cocktails?

Drinkworks Keurig for Cocktails 6

Drinkworks, a joint venture between Keurig and Anheuser-Busch transforms pods of distilled cocktails into single-serve drinks such as gin and tonics, Mai Tais and Old Fashioned. It’s price point, $399, reminds us of the now infamous Jiucero’s price, not cheap.

Cocktail culture is thriving in the US as more and more Americans ditch beer and the industry giants are ready to play in the field. Each capsule will spout out a single-serve drink and act as an automated bartender for cocktail lovers and home entertainers alike.

“You can get a cocktail in a can, but it’s not the same experience,” Drinkworks CMO Val Toothman told Business Insider. “Cocktails … are a culture. It’s an experience. You want something crafted, freshly made.”

 

 

Why it’s hot: Pod machines are under more scrutiny since the Juicero scandal and companies have to bring a real products that really innovate to solve real needs to market.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/keurig-cocktails-drinkworks-makes-cocktails-from-pods-2019-3#each-sleeve-contains-four-pods-each-cocktail-pod-costs-399-with-beer-which-we-didnt-test-costing-225-per-pod-3

Breaking the Bias One Translation at a Time

The words we use daily can directly affect our perception and the way we think. For example, the effect of gender bias on language can influence how both women and men see certain professions. The terms cameraman, fireman and policeman, for example, are perceived as more masculine, while words like midwife are more stereotypically feminine.

Source: https://www.contagious.io/articles/what-do-you-mean

Released on International Women’s Day 2019, ElaN Languages has created The Unbias Button, to translate biased words, such as job titles, into gender-neutral ones.

Why it’s hot: This is a subtle way to change our awareness of the words we use on a daily basis.

Making a Spelling Error was Never Cuter

How do you get people who are interested in getting a purebred dog to adopt a mut instead? Güd the online dog food brand has found a way, by exploiting our spelling issues.

Güd sought out the most common canine spelling errors – like dashund (dachshund), rotweiller (rottweiler), shitsu (shih tzu) – on Google. It then gave the dogs at rescue centre Clube dos Vira-Latas that most needed a home one of those mispelled pure-breed names.

 

Güd then created a paid search ad that led to people being offered a free dog whenever they misspelled a pure dog breed on Google.

Why it’s hot: It’s a creative way to capitalize on human error for customer acquisition.

Modernizing Beer Ads for Women

Just in time for International Women’s Day, Budweiser is releasing reimagined ads from the 50’s and 60’s for today’s audience. Understanding that sexist ads that objectify women no longer fly with consumers who expect brands to be more progressive, Budweiser is re-releasing the ads to nod to their past heritage, but make a point about its future.

The campaign, released today in conjunction with International Women’s Day, features full-page color ads in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times that juxtapose sexist Bud print ads from the 1950s and 60s with updated versions portraying women in empowered roles.

Source: https://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/budweiser-modernized-sexist-ads/316915/

Budweiser International Women's Day NYTimes ad

Women now comprise more than 80% of the brand’s marketing team, so it’s refreshing to see that for them it’s about using their past to serve as a launching pad to show women in a more balanced way.

Budweiser International Women's Day LATimes ad

Why it’s hot:

Rather than hide their sexist past, the brand is showing how they can evolve in their thinking, especially in these times of extreme divisiveness.

Making Ketchup Classy

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, Heinz is attempting to recreate the joys of ketchup and give it a social equity boost with its Ketchup Caviar.

The extremely limited batch of Heinz Ketchup Caviar will be available for Valentine’s. If you want to get your hands on one of the 150 jars available you’ll have to enter the brand’s sweepstakes (see link above).

But what is Ketchup Caviar? First off, it’s not literal caviar. No fish roe were harmed in the making of this sweepstakes. Instead, Heinz Ketchup Caviar is a molecular gastronomic spin on the classic condiment that attempts to recreate the joys of ketchup in pearl form.

Sweepstake winners will be contacted to receive their 1.8 oz jar hopefully before Valentine’s.

Why it’s hot: It’s a fun way for Heinz to celebrate their 150 years in business, it could also be a way to test new delivery methods for their products, molecular gastronomy is cool. 

Is it the End of Embarrassing Birds and Bees Conversations?

Last year Planned Parenthood started testing a chatbot that aims to answers teenagers plethora of questions around sex. Knowing kids probably don’t want to ask their parents about the more intimate aspects of their love lives, the organization has partnered with a digital agency to strategize, design and brand the chatbot that will be launching on Thursday.

Working with teenagers form Bushwick, Brooklyn’s Math, Engineering and Sience academy on the project. The charter school students have helped design the gender-neutral, friendly chatbot aimed at 13 to 17 year-olds.

Since so many teenagers get health information online, the artificial intelligence-powered bot is meant to give fast answers in a judgment-free, anonymous setting in a manner that’s comfortable for the audience — instead of kids going to unchecked online sources or YouTube for important information.

Source: https://adage.com/article/agency-news/planned-parenthood-launches-roo-a-sexual-health-chatbot-teens/316365/ 

Users can find all sorts of information, from puberty to sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and masturbation. If the right information can’t be found, Roo will direct users to other sources like live educators. The experience lives on Roo.PlannedParenthood.org and is best experienced on mobile devices.

Why it’s Hot:

User first thinking really shows here. Teenagers are looking everything up online but when it comes to sex talk, they are embarrassed to have anyone find their search history. This solves for that, it’s completely anonymous! Also, it solves for them finding accurate and trustworthy information.

Mobile Supermarkets IRL

If the people don’t go to the grocery store, have the grocery store come to them. Stop & Shop is planning to pilot driverless vehicles that bring the grocery store to the customer rather than the other way around. 
Source: https://www.supermarketnews.com/retail-financial/stop-shop-test-self-driving-grocery-stores

Due to launch in the spring in Boston, the initiative will use autonomous electric vehicles from Robomart Inc. to carry an assortment of produce, meal kits, and convenience items to customers.

The process works as follows:
– Stop & Shop customers use a smartphone app to request a shopping visit from the closest Robomart.
– When the vehicle arrives, customers go outside, unlock the vehicle’s doors and then pick the fruit, vegetables and other products they want to buy off the shelves inside.
– After taking their items, they just close the doors and send the vehicle on its way.
– The vehicles’ RFID and computer vision ”grab-and-go” technologyautomatically records the products customers selected and charges them.
– Receipts are e-mailed in seconds.

Answers to questions you may be asking yourself:

  1. Stop & Shop store associates will be restocking the teleoperated vehicles with fresh items throughout their journey to ensure the best selection.
  2. Perishables will be kept fresh via purpose-built refrigeration and temperature control.
  3. Pricing and fees are still undetermined.

Why it’s hot: This solution could potentially eliminate the biggest pain point in online food delivery, allowing the customer to select their own produce.

Google Brings Amusement to CES

Taking event content marketing to another level, Google has built an amusement park style ride to promote its virtual assistant. Showing off their storytelling prowess, they have created a full arc with a beginning, middle, point of tension and end.

They built a two-story building right in the middle of the Las Vegas Convention Center parking lot, and the ride takes up the entire upper floor. From the pre-ride line experience (complete with animatronic Grandma talking with guests in line), to a holding room that uses clever projections to tell a story (Don’t forget the cake for Grandma’s birthday party! Assistant can help!), to the ride itself… it’s just ridiculous. The work and engineering that went into this — and the quality of what they built for something that’ll only be here for a few days — is seriously absurd.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/video-article/google-built-an-entire-theme-park-ride-in-the-ces-parking-lot-because-they-can/

Why it’s hot: Getting noticed at tradeshows is not easy, especially at CES. Finding a creative, wow-factor solution to promoting an otherwise boring-to-demo product can get you the attention your brand is looking for.

 

Doctor Influencers or Un-certified Hazards

Doctor Influencers or Uncertified Hazards There’s a rising trend in Instagram star plastic surgeons. They go by names like “Dr. Miami” and “Dr. BeFixnIt”. Their streams are covered in before and after shots and videos of the surgeries, they are performing. They even host Q&As, drawing questions from their pool of followers.

People are loving it, especially the doctors who are seeing a huge increase in the number of new patients referred by social.

“It’s a trend that has gone fully global. Just searching through the #plasticsurgery hashtag on Instagram will take you into an operating room on nearly every continent.”

Patients have consented to have their surgeries filmed, but what these doctors are increasingly seeing are others using their videos and photos as proof of their own work.

“Social media is inherently unregulated like the Wild West,” she said, and “it’s hard to know what’s real,” says Dr. Lara Degvan who has herself found images of her patients and work posted on other less qualified doctors pages.

“A 2017 study found that when searching one day’s worth of Instagram posts using popular hashtags—only 18% of top posts were authored by board-certified surgeons, and medical doctors who are not board certified made up another 26%.”

Why it’s hot: when working with brands, we must keep in mind that parsing who’s legitimate and who’s not from a social media profile is incredibly difficult for consumers.

Source: https://qz.com/1499937/using-social-media-to-find-a-cosmetic-surgeon-has-gone-global/

 

A New Kind of e-Tail

Good, Cheap and Fast (GCF for short), is an e-tail website designed to take the effort out of e-shopping.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/90274504/hate-browsing-amazon-this-is-the-ultimate-no-frills-shopping-site

To that end, the site doesn’t waste effort on frills like “bandwidth-hogging images” or “spill[ing] 10,000 words of digital ink on…mundane appliances.” To DeFeo–a former designer–the job to be done here is simple: “save people time,” he says. Thus GCF’s Craigslist-esque, all-text aesthetic. (It does have nicer fonts, though.)

GFC’s design is based on the philosophy that not everyone is a maximizer: people who, intimidated by the internet’s abundance of options they want to know which one is the best. Who they are targeting is users who they call “satisficers” – people who just want something good enough without breaking the bank.

The site is curated by using a combination of existing shopping tools and plugins that filter out suspicious or spammy product reviews and then eliminates more by “measuring the relationship between 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5-star reviews, with an eye toward quality control issues.”

Why It’s Hot: 

Sometimes we need to remember that less is more.

What is in a Word?

“The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance,” Oxford stated in a post on its website.

 

With a 45% increase in searches, this year the word “toxic” takes the prize. In combination with chemical first and masculinity second, the word is top of mind for people. With the rise of the #metoo movement, it’s no surprise this year word searches seem to be all about strained relationships between men and women with spikes in searches for words like:

incel”—an involuntarily celibate man who holds hostile views towards women; “gaslighting”—a form of psychological manipulation that makes the victim doubt their own sanity, made famous by a movie in which a man does this to his own wife; and “orbiting,” which is when a person ceases communication (i.e: “ghosts”) but continues to lurk via social media, maintaining “an online presence in the subject’s life without any promise of meaningful interaction.”

To give some perspective, 2018’s word of the year is in great contrast with 2015’s, when the word of the year was:

Image result for smile cry emoji

Why it’s hot:

It’s sad, but also optimistic. It means we live in toxic times (sad) but at least we’re trying to educate ourselves and hopefully make a change (optimistic).

Scrolling to Diagnose Mental Illness

A startup in California, Mindstrong Health is using scrolling, clicking, and phone interaction data to determine the risk of mental illness.

Founded by 3 doctors, it is seeking to tackle depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse.


Source: https://www.contagious.io/articles/mindful-scrolling

The App “monitors how every participant types, swipes and interacts with every other app on their phone (just basic stuff like how they use their keyboard, rather than looking at any personal information). The data gathered is then encrypted and run through a machine learning programme, which analyses it and delivers the results to the patient and their medical provider.”

One of the reasons the app works is, “‘people’s memory patterns and thinking speed change in subtle ways before they realise they’re depressed.’” The app was developed after trial participants were asked to perform neuropsychological tests and then asked to use their phone normally. This allowed them to find key smartphone signals that correlate strongly with mental performance.

Memory problems, for example, are a common element of brain disorders, and can be identified by looking at how quickly you type or scroll, as well as how many errors you make.

Our state of mind is top of mind in 2018 as more conversations are being had about mental health, so much so that even KFC participated in World Mindfulness day.

Why it’s hot: 

It’s difficult to diagnose mental illness because the symptoms sometimes differ from patient to patient. Mindstrong could provide data that helps define the different subcategories within illnesses and could even help lead to tailoring drug prescriptions for more effective treatment.