A good flight’s sleep

Casper mattresses and American Airlines have teamed up to improve sleeping experience on the plane.

Starting December passengers in First, Business and Premium Economy classes will get the chance to try specially-designed mattress pads, pillows, lumber pillows, blankets, duvets, pyjamas and slippers.

The partnership gives passengers a chance to try Casper’s products and American Airlines a chance to offer better in-flight experiences.

Why it’s hot: a partnership that’s truly strategic and adds value to each brand.

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Headphones that translate 40 languages

Designed to work with the Google Pixel 2 smartphones, the Pixel Buds wireless earphones can work as a universal translator and have conversations across 40 languages.

Speak one language into the earphones, the smartphone will translate it and speak the other language out loud on the phone using Google Translate app.

 

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Why it’s hot: language might no longer be a barrier to moving around the world. When will technology help us transcribe different languages? Maybe also animal languages?

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Robot, a kid’s best friend?

Robots are making their way into schools and education to help children lower their stress and boost their creativity. Among those who have diseases such as diabetes and autism, robots can even help restore their self-confidence.

One research shows that autism children engage better with robots than humans because they are simple and predictable.

Another research that works with children with diabetes makes their robots “imperfect” and have them make mistakes so they don’t intimidate the children. Children learn that they don’t have to be perfect all the time.

Why it’s hot (or not): are robots the right companions for children? What impact would it have on human interactions if children are exposed to AI at such a young age?

 

 

In-home delivery of packages and groceries from Walmart

Teaming up with August, a smart lock that offers keyless access and monitoring via a phone app, Walmart started to test a service to deliver packages to people’s homes instead of dropping them on the doorstep in Silicon Valley.

Owner can grant a one-time access to delivery staff from Walmart’s own delivery service called Deliv. The staff can even put the package in the fridge if needed.

Why it’s hot:

  1. I’m excited to see that competition between Amazon and Walmart is getting more fierce.
  2. Walmart identified a true consumer need/pain point and developed a service to meet it.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/21/walmart-partners-with-smart-lock-maker-august-to-test-in-home-delivery-of-packages-and-groceries/

Ending FOMO with Google

Google News will start to display hyperlocal events and localized community updates from bloggers to help people stay in the loop of what’s happening in their backyard.

To help people get information about their own communities, Google uses machine learning techniques to source information from hyperlocal bloggers and high school newspapers.

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Why it’s hot: Google Community Updates could be a useful communications medium for products/services that need to be targeted on a hyperlocal level, e.g. telecom services, Small Businesses and their desire to be deeply rooted in their communities because the health of their businesses depend on it.

GOT fans, are you prepared for winter?

IKEA responded to GOT costume designer’s reveal of using IKEA rugs on the show with their do-it-yourself instructions in the company’s typical style showing people how to prepare for winter as summer is coming to an end.

IKEA named the mock product Vinter, the Swedish word for winter.

Why it’s hot: being playful and entertaining on social media can go a long way. IKEA wisely leveraged and amplified earned media.

Smartphones make you spend more frivolously

https://management.ok.ubc.ca/faculty/yingzhu.html

An assistant professor at the University of British Columbia with a specialty in consumer behavior found that people shop differently on touchscreen devices than they do on their desktop PCs.

On phones, people are more likely to spend money on indulgent, hedonistic things, like movie tickets and dining out. And on PCs, people prioritize more practical, utilitarian things, like furniture and haircuts.

“The touchscreen has an easy-to-use interface that puts you into an experiential thinking style. When you’re in an experiential thinking mode, you crave excitement, a different experience,” says the professor. “When you’re on the desktop, with all the work emails, that interface puts you into a rational thinking style. While you’re in a rational thinking style, when you assess a product, you’ll look for something with functionality and specific uses.”

Why it’s hot: Should brands or retailers place products differently according to the screen?

Travel and work at the same time? Yes!

Remote Year is a work and travel program that takes people who’re looking for personal and professional growth on a year-long journey to work, travel, and live in 12 different cities throughout the world.

Participants are called “Remotes.” They will live and work in a different city around the globe each month. The program costs $27,000 with a $5,000 down payment followed by a monthly payment of $2,000 for the first 11 months. The costs include co-working spaces, accommodation, transportation, planned events and activities.

Why it’s hot: To millennials, every experience is a self investment. They are willing to invest their money and time into experiences that help them grow.

 

An idea that made all sharks bite

Two Columbia University architecture students designed a light weight solar lantern to assist post-earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, bringing light to dangerous conditions at night in the tent cities. Because the product is rooted in human needs, it is now also used by hikers, backpackers and emergency workers.

Why it’s hot: they built a product and business based on a simple, basic human need that’s often forgotten by many – light.

Google Glass Gets A Second Chance

Google Glass is back, and this time it’s not the ultimate example of overhyped wearable technology. Rather, its revival demonstrates how Silicon Valley’s innovations can have applications that their creators might never have envisioned.

Google Glass’ second chance? The factory floor. It turned out that industrial companies were using the innovation to boost the productivity of workers performing complex manual tasks: It could show step-by step instructions, help choose the right tools, photograph and report quality problems. In some cases, companies actually hired third-party software developers to adapt it for their purposes. Responding to demand from these initially unwanted customers, Google has created the Enterprise Edition, a much-improved version that can be fixed to specially made frames (so safety glasses can be fitted with it, too), has better connectivity and longer battery life.

Below video shows a GE Renewables technician compares first time use of smart glasses powered with Skylight software platform by Upskill against current process for completing wiring insertions for a wind turbine. The technician sees an immediate 34.5% productivity improvement.

Why it’s hot: start narrow and go to the mass market when customers start thinking of household uses.

Volvo setting an industry standard

Volvo recently announced that starting in 2019, all of the new models it produces will be electric or hybrid. The move makes Volvo the first traditional automaker to set a date to phase out cars powered only by internal combustion engines.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/07/05/535596277/all-new-volvo-models-will-be-electric-or-hybrid-starting-in-2019

Why it’s hot: While it’s a bold move for an automobile company, it is also a smart move from a branding and marketing perspective. Benefits should follow for Volvo for being first.

Amplify the power transportation infrastructure

ViaPass – Designed for their most loyal commuters and to make Via more affordable than ever.

Customers can take unlimited Via rides for a week or a month at any time of day, anywhere below 125th Street in Manhattan and within their service zones in Brooklyn/Queens.

Members can choose between two unlimited-ride options:

  • 7-day unlimited ViaPass for $63+tax
  • 30-day unlimited ViaPass for $234+tax

Other incentives:

  • 20% off the base price on all airport trips
  • 50% off the base price on all trips between Manhattan and Brooklyn/Queens. Rides within Brooklyn/Queens are covered by the ViaPass
  • 50% off the base price on all ViaExpress trips

Why It’s Hot: Disrupting the transportation category including MTA with technology and innovation. Watch out for their IPO.

4 Reasons People Watch Gaming Content on YouTube

Gaming videos are a head-scratcher. Why watch someone play when you could just … play? To find out, we asked gamers directly. This new research uncovers four key reasons people watch gaming content. For brands marketing to gamers, knowing these motivations can enable more meaningful connections.

1. For the community—to be part of something larger than oneself

2. For the inclusion—to feel accepted

3. For the fun of it—to escape

4. For the desire to improve—to learn new skills

Why It’s Hot: The implications for brands are real. Gamers are a highly influential audience with major purchasing power. But to truly connect requires knowing a bit more about why people are tuning into game-related video content.

Related article: Why Gamers Should Be Part of Your Audience Strategy 

 

Brands Taking a Stand

It doesn’t take a political science degree to know that civic discourse in the U.S. is strained. As tensions wear on, brands are entering conversations they might’ve shunned in the past. But how do they ensure their statements and actions ring true?

Ben Jones, creative director at Google, recently spoke with agency and content leaders in a panel conversation at a SXSW conference to unpack how socially conscious brands can take a stand—and remain standing—through a fraught period.

Why It’s Hot: More and more consumers expect brands to be socially conscious and to have a perspective that causes the safe space to disappear. Taking a stand requires genuine and authentic brand actions. Owning the actions is more important than making the statement.

 

Via putting customers first

Via asked riders to share their ideas and insights to improve the experience. The fist thing they’re implementing is to make all rides to the airport ViaExpress, which means once someone hops on board, the driver will never make more than one additional pickup. He’ll also take the fastest route he can find.

http://mailchi.mp/ridewithvia/happy-earth-day-see-how-youve-helped-the-planet-by-riding-via-n5vj8s3jiw-711557?e=9c87c0722a

 

Telling a story in 6 seconds

When YouTube introduced bumper ads in 2016, brands, agencies and filmmakers were skeptical about cutting 30 and 15 sec videos down to 6 seconds. So YouTube challenged agency creatives and filmmakers to tell a video story in 6 seconds. Turns out that it is possible to create memorable storytelling in just 6 seconds.

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/au-youtube-bumper-ads-six-second-storytelling.html