Personal Bankers

Umpqua Bank, a financial services firm based in Portland, Oregon, has created an app giving customers access to personal banking assistants.

After downloading Umpqua’s Go-To app, customers can choose their banker by scrolling through profiles that include a photo and personal attributes in a Tinder-like interface. The attributes listed include professional background, expertise, personal interests and location. Once connected, customers can use their personal banker to resolve issues, discuss opportunities and listen to advice.

The platform is in line with Umpqua’s ‘human digital banking strategy’ and transforms how banks deliver a differentiated and valued customer experience.

“Our approach is grounded in a core belief that human interaction matters in banking—especially in the moments when life and money meet,’ said Cort O’Haver, Umpqua Bank’s president and CEO, in a press release.

Why it’s Hot

The app also records customer data, like conversation histories, which will help the bank better personalize services to each customer over time.

Personalization was cited as the top factor for choosing a bank, with 2/3 of respondents saying it is important that a bank used personal data to provide advice relevant to their circumstances, according to an Accenture survey.

It’s also an innovative approach towards combining human interaction and technology.

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

Girl Squad

Nike Women is calling for women in Mexico to log their physical activity to be in with a chance of earning a year’s worth of Nike sponsorship.

The initiative, called Juntas Imparables (Unstoppable Together), the women must sign up as a team of four and track their exercise through the Nike Training Club or Nike Running Club apps. The individuals on the team can do different sports or exercise, but they all have to log their minutes through a Nike app to measure the group’s overall efforts.

Nike will also support the women via WhatsApp. After signing up for the challenge, each team will be added to a WhatsApp chat group, which will directly connect them to a Nike representative who will guide and coach them throughout.

Nike has also promised that every minute of exercise recorded for Juntas Imparables will be put back into public schools and community organisations as a part of its Made to Play program (created to help Mexican children live happier, healthier lives).

Why it’s hot

The film addresses many pain points that Latina women have. From the fact that Latinas tend to receive little encouragement for undertaking physical activity (and it comes down to cultural and social influences) to the catcalling on the streets.

Also, this is the first time that Nike addresses this issue and with this campaign all Nike needs is for one fan to recruit her three friends rather than converting all four customers.

 

How Much Hotter Is Your Hometown Than When You Were Born?

Check out this interactive feature from the NYTimes that takes you the history of the climate of your hometown, with an eye towards the future effects of climate change:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/08/30/climate/how-much-hotter-is-your-hometown.html

Once you enter your hometown and birth year, scrolling down reveals the model of how many days at or above 90 degrees your hometown will experience in our lifetimes.

The article also compares your hometown to other major cities globally, like New Delhi and Madrid.

WHY IT’S HOT:

Besides from being, well, literally hot, this interactive feature puts climate change into the perspective of our lifespan, and the place we call home. For a phenomenon that is difficult for some people to fully grasp, this content makes it feel not only clear and personally relevant, but also immediate and urgent. When the effects of climate change are put into the context of our own lives, it is impossible to downplay or ignore.

Paper books sell a digital solution

Google Cloud wrote fictional biographies detailing the future of ten French business leaders and sent them to the executives as part of a prospecting campaign. The idea is called the Biographies of Tomorrow to help Google Cloud win the attention of French business leaders and promote the brand’s enterprise solutions services.

They researched 10 of France’s most important executives, as well as the industries in which they worked. It then commissioned authors from Cherche Midi publishing house to write short, fictional biographies detailing how these leaders digitally transformed their businesses after employing the services of Google Cloud. The nature and content of the biographies also emphasized the predictive qualities of Google Cloud’s service. Economist Jacques Attal wrote a foreword for each of the 10 biographies and artist Alix d’Anselme drew portraits of the subjects for the front covers. Google Cloud then hand delivered the biographies to the business executives.

2 of the 10 executives that received a biography have signed deals with Google Cloud

Why its hot?
Business buyers don’t go to work and forget what they want as human beings

get paid when you get delayed…


It seems solving the pain points of delayed air travelers has become one of 2018’s hottest challenges. The latest brand to take it on is insurance brand AXA, via “fizzy”, it’s smart travel insurance.

Here’s how it works – “AXA’s blockchain-powered insurance plan, called Fizzy, covers travelers for delays of up to two hours or more. When customers purchase insurance using Fizzy, all details and contract agreements are recorded publicly, on the Ethereum blockchain. The contracts, which are connected to global air traffic monitoring databases, automatically trigger compensation payouts when a delay of more than two hours is recorded.”

In otherwords, you get paid (automatically) when you get delayed.

Why it’s hot:

First, it’s one of the most simple and practical, yet smart uses of blockchain and smart contracts we’ve seen yet. There’s plenty of chatter about the potential of blockchain, but considerably fewer actual things consumers can currently do that are blockchain enabled.

But more importantly, it’s a beautiful example of human-driven innovation – and not just because it helps in a situation most of us are likely all too familiar with (delayed flights, more than 150k in the last 30 days just in the US).

One of the biggest headaches with insurance can be having to make claims and waiting to be compensated. fizzy automatically knows when you should be compensated and does so “by the time your flight lands”. So, a matter of hours instead of days.

[Source]

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/ 

Have your skin checked, period.

A non-profit called Melanoma Know More partnered with content platform Popsugar to bring awareness of skin cancer Melanoma and remind readers of cancer screening.

When a reader browses health and wellness content on the site and scrolls past a period at the end of a sentence, a pop-up window will come up with information on warning signs of melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

 

Why it’s hot: Many types of cancer, if detected early, are curable. By making this information part of a reader’s reading experience can help reduce the fear or stress associated with cancer and increase the chance of the reader’s cancer screening.

Source

A new use for Google Maps: calculating a city’s carbon footprint

Looking at a city’s Google Maps data, in combination with other data, a new tool from Google can estimate the carbon footprint of all of its buildings–and the carbon footprint of all the car trips, bus and subway rides, and other transportation used by the people living there.

The Environmental Insights Explorer, an online tool that launched in beta on September 10, is designed to help cities take the first step to reduce emissions: knowing what their current carbon footprint is. More than 9,000 cities have already committed to cut emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, but more than a third of those cities haven’t yet built an inventory of emissions. The process can take months or even years, and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, making it particularly challenging for smaller cities.

The new tool, which Google created along with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, can help cities calculate a large chunk of those emissions at no cost. “This is looking at the thousands of cities that are out there today that don’t typically have the resources to spend on digging up the data or analyzing the data,” says Nicole Lombardo, who leads partnerships for Google’s environmental insights team, which is creating the tool. “This tool helps to do some of that and reduce some of the complexities and the cost in that process, so you have more people spending less time data gathering and data crunching and more on the action planning.”

Using Google Maps data, the tool can infer whether buildings are homes or businesses, and then can use the estimated size of each building and data about the regional grid to estimate both how much energy the buildings use and the emissions of that energy use. Using location data from Google Maps, the tool can infer traffic and modes of travel, and then estimate the emissions from that transportation.

Cities can go deeper into the tool to adjust the data to estimate how the footprint would change if the amount of housing grew, for example, or if the city added a new subway line. The tool also pulls in Google’s Project Sunroof, which uses AI to analyze satellite images to determine which roofs are well suited for solar power, so cities can consider solar power as they begin to plan how to cut emissions.

Why it’s hot: This technology is saving cities major costs and letting them focus on the real issue at hand: cutting emissions.

Source: FastCo

Finally, Kids Get a Voice

Almost all of our devices are (or very soon will be) controllable by voice, and while this shift can empower some, others – specifically children – are left out of the loop. Though 1.6 billion connected devices are sold to children under 13 each year, no technology has ever been built to address the unique needs of this audience. Specifically, since speech linguistic patterns are vastly different for children, when they speak to their devices, frustration ensues.

And, while parents are not likely interested in yet another digital touchpoint, (screen time concerns highlighted here) they are indisputably concerned about their children’s privacy and security. Today, when a child tries interacts with a virtual home assistant, that information is processed online, potentially putting their security at risk.

Kidsense wants to mitigate those concerns. By building automatic speech recognition technology that helps children better communicate with voice-powered devices through an embedded platform, their service is GDPR, COPPA and parent-complaint.

KidSense can deliver peace of mind to parents, and a better, less frustrating experience for those that nag their parents (meaning, almost every single child) for the latest tech.

Why Its Hot:

Solves a consumer pain point and adds the features that would get someone else to pay for it. Also, kids are the greatest salespeople, so give them something worth peddling.

Source: TechCrunch

Twitter Gets You Out Of Your Bubble – By Telling You Your Friends Like Donald Trump Tweets

This week, Twitter platform users reported that usually liberal friends and followers were liking tweets from Donald Trump and other right wing politicians.

A representative from Twitter has responded:

“[What’s] happening is when someone Likes and then unlikes a Tweet it could appear with the social proof ‘Liked by’. So these people did indeed like these Tweets at some point but then unliked them.”

Some users have been skeptical to the response, noting Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s comment as well as reticence to expel right wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from the platform.

Why it’s hot?

A lack of transparency among platforms, about advertisers in politics and now about the algorithm is leading to mistrust among users. How might that affect us as advertisers looking to protect brand safety?

A Beerable Change

Carlsberg brewery to implement a new eco-friendly way to package its cans. The goal is to eliminate the plastic rings that have been detrimental to ocean life. The new “groundbreaking technology” is ….. glue! But not just any glue, they claim that it’s an eco-friendly glue that can withstand the trip from distribution, to shelves, into your cooler and still will be to be brittle enough to snap off when you want to crack a cold one open with the boys.

“Carlsberg made the decision with the goal of saving 1,200 tons of plastic, or the equivalent of 60 million plastic bags, annually. “

Carlsberg's new Snap Pack

Why It’s Hot:

Carlsberg claims that the move to this new packaging method will reduce its use of plastic to package the product by more than 75%. Meaning that less plastic out there polluting our oceans.

Source: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/405427-carlsberg-to-glue-beer-packaging-to-reduce-plastic-waste

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/  

a glimpse at your food future via Nestle…

A kit for Nestle Japan’s nutritional drink. Photographer: Kentaro Takahashi/Bloomberg

Nestle is taking an innovative approach to product development, starting with the Japan market.

According to Quartz News – “Some 100,000 people are taking part in a company program there that gives consumers a kit to collect their DNA at home. The program also encourages them to use an app to post pictures of what they’re eating. Nestlé then recommends dietary changes and supplies specialized supplements that can be sprinkled on or mixed into a variety of food products, including teas.”

Ultimately, the goal for Nestle actually goes beyond this, to creating completely individualized products based on individuals’ DNA that could even be designed to prevent serious diseases like cancer. Quartz’s crude example is “Pizzas that can ward off Alzheimer’s disease, for instance”.

One nutritional scientist says, “This is going to be the manifestation of the future. The one-size-fits-all platform is a thing of the past.”

Why it’s hot:

First, as the largest food company in the world, Nestle could be leading the way into a new era of food production – one that’s almost completely the opposite of its heritage over the last few decades. But most importantly, it’s another example of the shift we’re finally seeing from mass production to ultra-personalized products. While using DNA as the mechanism is not without concerns, what better experience than having food and supplements created for you based on what your body needs to keep you at peak health.

[Source]

Feeling chatty?

Costa Coffee implemented the Chatty Cafe space in 300 of its stores in the U.K. to help tackle loneliness and encourage customers to talk to each other.

Select tables are turned into “conversation hubs” with a sign on the table that says “Chatter and Natter.” Customers that sit on those tables need to be willing to chat with other customers.

Why it’s hot: The Chatty Cafe lets Costa engage with its customers in a new way while helping to solve a social issue.

Source

 

 

Have your drink and packaging too



British sports drink brand Lucozade is moving away from plastic. Instead of distributing its Lucozade drinks and gels in plastic, the brand is trialling an edible packaging alternative to reduce waste.

At two upcoming sports events, the Richmond Marathon and West Sussex Tough Mudder, which Lucozade sponsors, participants will be given Lucozade Sport-filled Oohos. The Oohos are seaweed-based and have been developed by startup Skipping Rocks Lab.

Why its hot?
Oohos can be eaten or discarded like their plastic counterparts. Unlike plastic, however, these sachets are compostable and will take six weeks to decompose (plastic takes 700 years).

Video of biodegradable packaging created bySkipping Rocks Lab for other companies

$1,500 to turn your bedroom into a fitness studio

A startup called Mirror wants to reclaim your living spaces and bring those sought-after boutique classes, from yoga to strength training and Pilates, to your home all via–you guessed it–a single full-length mirror hung on your wall.

The responsive connected device has an LCD panel, stereo speakers, camera, and mic and offers a range of fitness classes and one-on-one training. And when you’re done, it  returns to a simple mirror. The entire system is controlled by a companion app, keeping the mirror fingerprint-free.

A mirror on the wall is definitely a space-saver for people in tiny, cramped apartments.

Mirror launched yesterday with more than 50 new streaming workouts each week, produced in part with instructors across categories. This includes cardio, yoga, strength training, barre, boxing, Pilates, and stretching classes, with levels ranging from beginner to expert. Live classes are available every hour, and members are free to access the digital archives.

Of course, such luxury doesn’t come cheap. The Mirror equipment costs $1,495, while the monthly content subscription is $39.

 Each program can be personalized depending on stamina, weight loss goals, and personal metrics. It can even monitor heart rate via bluetooth or Apple Watch. In the live environment, instructors are able to see your movements, monitor your progress, and even offer real-time instruction. A dashboard provides them with all your info, should you want a more personalized touch.
Why its hot
Customizable, at-home workouts already exist via a variety of apps and equipment like Peloton. But many of those require more space in your home, or even a gym membership, to utilize. A $1,500 price point, plus $39 monthly subscription, is very steep for the average shopper. It doesn’t seem like Mirror offers any other services. Perhaps if it also included other useful skills, like cooking recipes or DIY, it could expand in value.

The Lengths People Go To For Pizza

There are pizza lovers and there are pizza LOVERS.


Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/dominos-free-pizza-russia-tattoos-promo-ends-early-2018-9

Launched on August 31st, Domino’s Pizza in Russia offered 100 years of free pizza to those who tattooed the company’s logo on their body and shared it on social media. The campaign, meant to last month had to end after only 5 days. In an effort to save face and money, the company promised pizzas to the first 350 to share their ink.

The tattoo needed to be in a prominent place and just hours after the promotion started, Instagram started getting flooded with images of fan’s legs, arms, and other body parts.

Why it’s hot:

Although it’s good to take risks and try something new, it’s so important to think about the possible ramifications.

A Customized Skincare Regimen From… AI Cleansing Device?

A skincare brand created a cleansing device that doubles as a beauty advisor, using artificial intelligence to assess customers’ skin and create a tailored skin regimen.

Swedish beauty-tech brand FOREO recently released the world’s smallest artificially intelligent beauty coach. Known as the LUNA fofo, the AI-powered facial cleansing device assists customers of all skin types with their daily routine thanks to an algorithm that progressively learns the user’s skin type and needs after several uses.

The LUNA fofo combines advanced skin sensor technology with a silicone cleansing brush and T-Sonic pulsations for deep cleaning. “Simultaneously, the LUNA fofo can gather 700 years worth of intelligence within a two-month period of use.” The device pairs the information it gleans with data from a skincare quiz users can take on the FOREO For You app, which takes all of the information to then design a cleansing routine tailored for the individual user’s skin type and needs.

The product’s beta version launched in July through a partnership with the FabFitFun beauty subscription service. Future features for the product include air quality detection, which will then adjust the treatment needed for the user’s skin.

Why it’s hot: While the article didn’t expand into how this actually comes to life, personalized skin care and self-care (for example CareOf Vitamins) are becoming increasingly popular as younger generations continue to prioritize their health. I am curious how these cleansers work, and how advanced they are to learn about your skin type.

Source: PSFK

Survey says Nike’s brand image has dropped because of Colin Kaepernick ad

A new survey by Morning Consult says that since Nike debuted its stunning new Colin Kaepernick ad, the brand’s favorability and consumer purchase consideration have significantly sunk. According to the survey, before the Kaepernick announcement, Nike had a net +69 favorable impression among consumers. That has now dropped by 34 points to +35 favorable. Before the ad, 49% of Americans said they were absolutely certain or very likely to buy Nike products, and that figure is down to 39% now.

Why it’s hot:

Not surprisingly, Nike’s favorability has dropped dramatically among Republicans and baby boomers who are unlikely to agree with Nike’s messaging. It’ll be important to see how these numbers change in a few months since their overall favorability has dropped significantly among all American adults. This might be a case study on whether or not large brands should get involved in polarizing political discussions and how they might be alienating certain consumers by picking a side in a very divided America.

 

Snapchat and Adidas Snap Only Shoe Sells out in 6 Hrs

Snapchat and Adidas put together a winning partnership. Adidas sold a new pair of shoes exclusively on the social media platform. By nailing the demographic exactly right (70 percent of consumers were 13 to 24-year-old women), they were able to sell out the new shoe in 6 hours (in Adidas defense, the last iteration of this shoe sold out in 24).

There was a direct e-com in app purchasing that allowed sales to be seamless. This was a great way to get the word out and the shoe out to influential people online before the wide release of the shoe.

Why it’s hot?

Adidas acknowledges the high value of a Snapchat audience, not just at CPC or ROI. These are people who are more likely to share their purchases and therefore provide added value.

Dating meets baby sitting

Meetic, a French dating company that also owns Match.com in Europe, is offering childcare vouchers as an incentive to attract more single parents to its platform.

Any single parent in France who subscribes to Meetic’s dating service before 31 October will receive a voucher for three hours of childcare through Yoopies, an online hub that connects parents and babysitters, and includes reviews and recommendations.

The free childcare is provided in the form a €30 ($35.11) voucher for Yoopies, and is based on the €10 ($11.70) per-hour average cost of a babysitter on the platform. The three hours figure was arrived at after research by the dating company showed that a typical date lasted 163 minutes.

In addition to the babysitting vouchers, any single parent that subscribes to Meetic during the promotional period will get free access to Yoopies’ premium service for two months.

Why its hot?
Matching two of the most important human needs of single parents
(25% of children in Paris lived with a single parent and 70% of single parents said they didn’t have time to find love.)

Internet-connected robots help combat isolation and loneliness

AV1, a cute-looking, internet-connected robot made by Oslo-based start-uo No Isolation helps children who have chronic diseases unable to attend school participate in classes remotely and keep in touch with teachers and friends.

Instead of studying on their own at home, these children can study along their friends at school via the robot. The robot can sit in the classroom and live stream video and audio back to a tablet or smartphone. Children at home can speak through the robot and participate in the class. They can also control where the robot is looking.

The robot’s head will blink to alert the teacher if the student wants to ask a question. It’ll also turn blue to signal the teacher that the student becomes too sick or tired to participate.

AV1 robot on a classroom desk

Why it’s hot: Being present for an occasion is easier than ever. For people with chronic diseases internet-connected robots make them feel comfortable for being present without displaying their illness.

Source

Coffee Delivery Drones Could Be Coming to Offices Soon

IBM has dreamed up the ultimate boost to employee productivity: drones that deliver coffee to people’s desks. They’ve filed a patent for technology that can identify the “cognitive state” of office workers to detect when a cup of coffee is needed.

IBM patent coffee delivery drone

The patent describes how the drones may be able to detect blood pressure, pupil dilation, and facial expressions that indicate a person is drowsy. The technology will also store individual preferences like what type of coffee they enjoy or whether or not they take sugar.

There are multiple ways in which coffee delivery can work: one option is to have coffee poured directly into a person’s mug, while another delivers coffee in a sealed bag. People can also summon coffee with a hand gesture.

Why It’s Hot

While it’s unclear whether IBM will actually build this coffee delivery system and how soon it could come to life, the technology has the potential to completely overhaul the office coffee break.

Source: Popular Mechanics

 

Functional Medicine a (W)holistic Approach

Gone can be the days of impersonal, rushed doctor’s visits. Parsley health focuses on functional medicine, seeing patients as a whole person, instead of looking at you in a snapshot of time. The $150 a month subscription is not meant as a replacement for health insurance, but as more of an overall health barometer. The tech reliant company leverages today’s tools to make the process as convenient as possible. From the booking process being done online to doctor’s notes, medical records, and health coach messages available on an easy-to-navigate dashboard. The whole process even starts with an “uber for blood” home blood test.

Parsley also built data tracking into its system to assess and compare outcomes–a method rarely found in general primary care. It also built the Parsley Symptom Index, used to give clients a clinical health score. Before each visit, patients fill out a survey that helps the medical team monitor progress and outcomes. Over the course of a year, Parsley’s digital system then adds thousands of data points to a patient’s charts, which enable them to change course should a method or treatment show little improvement.
https://www.fastcompany.com/90224888/is-this-150-a-month-holistic-primary-care-service-the-future-of-medicine

The average visit with a Parsley doctor is 75 mins long and encompasses a deep analysis of all aspects of the patient’s life. Also included in the service is access to health and wellness coaches.

Why it’s hot:

90% of health is dependent on social determinants, but we only get an average of 11 seconds to tell doctors our symptoms. Parsley goes beyond putting a band-aid on the problem to find a long-term solution for health issues.

Pay-Per-Day Travel Insurance

British fintech company Revolut has announced a pay-per-day travel insurance for its customers, activated by geolocation technology. The new service, available through the main Revolut app for up to 40 days abroad, automatically detects when a customer is leaving or returning to their home country and turns their cover on or off

The service starts from as little as £1.00 ($1.28) per day and includes medical and dental insurance. And for those who travel frequently the company offers a fixed year policy for £30 ($38.30).

Why it’s hot

The many inefficiencies in the insurance sector (complicated products, unreasonably priced services, claims rejection) have given the industry a bad rep.

To earn people’s trust companies have to improve the customer experience and their products. The must show that they have people’s best interest in mind (and not just their own profit). We have seen a number of brands in the insurance sector who have been praised for taking steps in this direction.

LEGO builds a drivable Bugatti

“Made from more than a million pieces, it’s the first fully functional, self-propelled life-size LEGO Technic car ever built.”

The real Bugatti Chiron “has 1,500hp (1119kW) and a top speed in excess of 261mph (420km/h); the LEGO Technic Bugatti makes just 5.3hp (3.9kW) and tops out at 12.4mph (20km/h).”

Can’t wait to see someone in Connecticut driving one of these in the fast lane on the I-95.

Story on Ars Technica

Why it’s Hot

While the car is totally undriveable, the stunt is a good way to promote both brands simultaneously.

Prime Design & How Fitting Rooms Could Become Obsolete

Amazon’s private label fashion business has faced several hurdles, but continued investment – Prime Wardrobe, Echo Look, and numerous pure play e-comm acquisitions – proves that they won’t stand for anything less than front row.

Recently, Amazon has acquired Body Labs – a firm which promises to bring 3D models to life. For fashion, accurately predicting size and fit across a diverse consumer base has always been a reach goal. Designers and other stakeholders in the supply chain have long relied on antiquated data, often based on models of an average person, and no one brand has found a scalable solution for custom-designed clothing.

While Body Labs can’t solve for customized design, it can provide brands with a range of different models and bodies that would validate the fit of different patterns, which makes for better fitting clothing.

If Amazon’s private label clothing knows your fit better than any brand can, why would you shop anywhere else?

Why it’s hot:

As personalization is becoming table stakes, Amazon’s foray into one of the most significant aspects of individual expression once again shows that any market can instantaneously become amazon-takes-all.

 

 

 

From discarded flowers to paint

 

Paint company JAT Holdings has created a new line of colourful paints made out of the waste from Buddhist flower offerings.

One way Buddhists express their devotion is by placing flowers at temples or shrines. This act symbolises the impermanent nature of life, or samsara.

Ordinarily, the flowers are thrown away. JAT Holdings collected kilos of the discarded flowers and used their pigmentation to create new paints.

The Petal Paint comes in five shades, each one designed to reflect a different ring in the Buddha’s halo. The colours include Lotus Red, Pigeonwing Blue, Trumpet Yellow, Marigold Orange and Temple Flower White.

JAT is selling Petal Paint in its own stores and is also donating the product to temples for local artists to restore the colourful art on the ceilings and walls.

The packaging imitates temple artwork, so that when the cans are stacked in store it creates the impression of a temple wall.

‘We created Petal Paint to give something back to Sri Lanka’s heritage and culture,’ Richard Gunawardene, head of marketing at JAT Holdings, told Sri Lankan newspaper Lankadeepa. ‘Petal Paint combines the best of our traditional culture – the use of pigments from nature – with the most advanced technology in paint manufacturing, to create a paint that matches the traditional temple mural colours and also provides a more long-lasting solution to temple artists.’