The Real Time Taxi

United Airlines started to face a challenge when they moved all of their flights from JFK to Newark – New Yorkers do not like to fly from Newark because they considered it too far away. To help with this problem, the airline created a data-centric campaign using digital displays on taxis to give live companions of travel times to JFK and Newark.

They worked with Verifone (tech company) to create the technology and Curb (taxi-hailing app) to provide real-time travel time estimates to each airport based on the cars location and traffic.

As a result, more than 810,000 new passengers chose to fly out of EWR during the period the campaign ran.

Why it’s hot: Price and convenience are key drivers that influence consumer decisions when it comes to purchasing flight tickets. United Airlines’ campaign cleverly used live data and met a key consumer pain point – convenience.

Source: Contagious

Nike is heading to a famed LA shopping area to reinvent itself as a data-driven, direct-to-consumer brand

Nike unveiled its new concept store, Melrose by Nike, on Melrose Avenue in LA. Everything about it, including its location and the products it stocks, is determined by how people in the area interact with the brand.

The idea is to blend the physical and digital shopping experience. Everything about the store is designed to work with the Nike Plus app.  As soon as you enter the geo-fenced area, you start getting special deals on the app. If they think you’d be interested in a product they have on hand, whether you’ve specified it or not, they’ll reserve it for you in your size. All you have to do is access one of the many lockers in the store. If you see apparel you like, you scan the code, and a salesperson will come to you with it in your size.

Why it’s hot:

Brick and mortar business has grown stale. By blurring the line between digital and physical shopping, the customer will have a more personalized experience.

An Inaccurate Census Could Have Big Consequences

It was recently revealed that the Department of Justice is pressing to add a question about citizenship in the 2020 census. This question, one that has not been included in the census since the 50s, is believed to be meant to deter immigrant communities from participating, typically Democratic communities, and therefore depressing final population count and the distribution if house representatives, which is tied to population, not citizenry. John Thompson, who served as director of the Census Bureau until he resigned last year said:

The risk that really troubles me is that there’s a big undercount and then there’s a big lack of representation.

So what are the repursussions of a lower response rate other than less house seats for Democrats? It will be harder for the Center for Disease control to predict outbreaks if they think certain places have lower population (and therefore falsely higher instances of reported disease.

It’s also bad for brand strategists!

Why it’s hot?

Brand strategist need to know the true population of certain areas almost all of our research contain some sort of data from the US Census. Inconsistencies in census data one of the true long term high dats resources is a real loss for industry across the board.

 

 

Spotify’s Wrapped feature is awesome

Spotify’s annual Wrapped feature is now up to give users insights into what they streamed over the past twelve months. Wrapped, which replaced Spotify’s personalized Year in Music feature last year, tells you the amount of time you spent streaming music in 2016 and how many songs and artists you listened to. Then it quizzes you to see how well you know your own listening habits before making a personalized playlist of 30 songs you might have missed this year. (check it out: 2017Wrapped.com)

Why it’s hot: Yet another way that Spotify is leveraging user data for audience engagement. This is a bit of a step up from their ‘year in review’ in-app experience, and they are providing an extra value add at the end. They are showing you 30 new songs that you might not know of yet, and proving how well they know you and your taste. Could they get any better?!

Bonus: Un-related, fun, Friday Instagram post that you never knew you needed. Enjoy.

This is my favorite thing I’ve ever read. Swipe left and tell me which dish you’d make. (@prozacmorris_)

A post shared by Sloane Steel (@iamsloanesteel) on

 

tl;dr officially graduates to nm;dr…

Everything you think you know about content consumption on the internet is true.

Notre Dame researchers recently found that 73% of Redditors who volunteered for their study didn’t actually click through to links they upvoted, 84% clicked on content in less than 50% of their pageloads, and 94% did so in less than 40% of their pageloads.

Why it’s hot:

As people, it’s not. We’ve become a headline society.

As we all know, “fake news” is now a legitimate cultural phenomenon, and the lack of investigation and questioning the accuracy or legitimacy of content, opinions, ratings, even social media accounts means manipulative powers that can and have been misused by those with nefarious objectives.

But as marketers, before we make any ad, digital experience, tweet, product, or even business decision, the headline test has never been more important.

A good exercise is to write the positive headlines you hope to see as a result of what you’re thinking of doing, and the potential negative ones. Look at both, then decide the fate and/or form of your effort.

[ieee.org]

On a much lighter note, as a bonus, Google’s Santa Tracker experience is now live with Santa’s Village. Leading up to the holidays, it’s offering “access to games, a learning experience about holiday traditions around the world, and a Code Lab teaching kids basic coding skills” and an advent calendar unlocking a new game or experience each day between now and Christmas.

Facebook Testing Allows Marketers To See What People Are Saying

Facebook is soon going to let us peek inside the very innards of the Big Blue Factory and see exactly how it’s fueled – the deal here is that Facebook is apparently testing the ability to give marketers and the like the opportunity to analyze “what topics, themes, brands and products are being discussed.”

The beta test isn’t expected to be widely available until next year, according to people familiar with the offering who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss something Facebook hasn’t announced yet. Early ad partners, which include top agencies and media companies, are searching Facebook’s vast history of public posts to see what topics, themes, brands and products are being discussed. Users’ identities are withheld.

It’s all still very hush hush.

Why It’s Hot:

The new tool could help marketers see the social network in a whole new dimension, and even give them a broader understanding of their businesses, with data that informs them about trends in the industry and the consumer mindset.

Facebook has always been much less interested in the content of posts than how people respond to them. “On Facebook, you know everything about a person from their profile, what they liked and who they connect with,” says one agency executive in the test. “But Facebook is not good at knowing what people are saying, what they’re posting.”

Uber introduces a credit card

Uber is getting into the credit card business.

Announced Wednesday in partnership with Barclays and Visa at the Money2020 conference in Las Vegas, the new card gives Uber yet another point of access to incredibly valuable customer information and marks another front in its campaign to assume a larger role in online and offline commerce.

Not content with just having a record of some of the comings and goings of the at least 10 million people that use the company’s ride-hailing service every day, Uber will now get a record of some of those folks’ daily purchases through the new card.

Starting November 2, Uber will give users the option to get the card right in its app, and will populate all of the information they have on file for their customers into the application.

The card is automatically available for use for Uber rides and UberEats purchases and a physical card will show up in the mail within a week or so.

The no-fee card offers a bonus of $100 after spending $500 on purchases within the first 90 days, and has other perks, like 4% back on restaurants, take-out and bar purchases; 3% back on airfare, hotels and Airbnb or other short-stay rentals; 2% back on online purchases; and 1% back on everything else. 

The app’s integration within Uber looks beautiful, and it’s a clever way to capture all that valuable data… If you’ve already given up on the notion that data is any way private or not a commodity, then the card is probably not a bad bet… the perks seem good.

Source: Tech Crunch 

Why It’s Hot

Because, data and customer experience. The implications for what data Uber can now have on their customers is immense, and it will be interesting to see how they innovate to turn that into more personalized service for their customers.

 

Increased Use of Point of Care Tactics Offer Opportunity For Better In-office Experience

MM&M announced this week that “up to 20% of pharma brands are moving digital media spend to point-of-care tactics” which was grounded in a study fielded by ZS Associates. To a certain extent, this is unsurprising as many forms of digital media such as social and display continue to face increasing scrutiny around the topic of ad fraud.

This will have an impact on two key audiences in healthcare marketing – patients and providers – which if well thought through, should be overwhelmingly positive.

Phreesia Patient Intake Platform

Patients

Platforms such as Phreesia offer patients the opportunity to engage with content as part of the intake process. The biggest challenge here will be placements that are relevant to the specific patient as there is a potential to spend effort on poor placements. Case in point; when I took my son to the pediatrician for his flu shot this year, I was offered the opportunity to “Learn More” about a branded product. The only thing I can recall about the brand is that is had nothing to do with why I was there and wouldn’t be appropriate for my son. Contextual relevance will be critical to success in these moments.

epocrates advertising platform from athenahealth

Providers

HCPs, particularly PCPs, are the target of massive amounts of marketing. Overwhelming is an understatement here. When you consider the necessity of staying abreast of current trends and new therapies, to a certain extent, they need to be exposed to these messages. However, when it’s all said and done, the moment that matters is when the Rx decision is made. The opportunity to be a relevant part of that moment as part of the HCPs workflow in the EHR/EMR offers pharma companies an incredible opportunity. When you consider the number of drugs that don’t have the budget for mass DTC advertising, the HCP really is the decision maker in the therapy of choice.

Why It’s Hot

While contextual relevance for audiences is improving and offers plenty of potential, the real win will be when a brand can own the conversation across the moments in an office visit.

Consider a diabetes patient checking in for a check-up who is offered a message around potential therapy they may be eligible with a DTC ad based upon key factors pulled through from their EHR.

Then, at the end of the appointment, the HCP if offered a targeted message in the EHR with a savings offer the patient can print and take with them.

With brands doubling down on these POC channels, we have the opportunity to take the in-office experience to new levels.

Spotify for Artists

Spotify For Artists is an app launching this week that gives musicians and their managers mobile access to super-detailed analytics about their music and the people listening to it.

The Spotify For Artists app takes some of the most useful insights about an artist’s music—which songs are most popular, how many streams they’re getting over all, where those listeners live, and which playlists are helping win over new fans—and boils them down into digestible graphical charts. It’s a bit like Google Analytics for rappers, electronic DJs, and pop stars.

This isn’t the first time Spotify has made this kind of data available. Spotify For Artists is a product that first launched on the web in April, after a private beta period. First, Spotify opened it up to all artists (the first big, on-demand streaming app of its kind to do so). Now it’s letting them access it on their phones.

The app also gives artists some control over their presence on Spotify, allowing them to do things like update their bios, post playlists, and select the “artist’s pick” track that Spotify lets them display on their profiles.

Spotify For Artists is part of a broader effort to build more artist-facing tools and ’empower’ them. The company also started a program called Fans First, which uses data to detect the most obsessive listeners of a given artist and target them with special offers like pre-sale concert tickets or exclusive merchandise. The company has also been working harder to strengthen its relationships within the music industry and among artists, in part by hiring former Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter.

Why it’s hot: This is yet another way in which Spotify is leveraging their data in an interesting and unexpected way. It is great to see them making it readily available for artists who can benefit from knowing more about their core users. Additionally, making it available on a mobile app vs. just desktop (as they launched in April) makes this an even more accessible and useful tool to the music industry.

Source: FastCo

Few Marketers Use a Single System of Record for Data Management

From social listening insight to email metrics, US marketers rely on a slew of data sources to inform their decisions. But less than 9% of those polled by mobile marketing provider Tune in March 2017 said they use a single system of record to bring all that data together.

Instead, roughly 21% of respondents rely on multiple databases, and 16.5% use a marketing cloud service to house data.

Though not quite the same thing, a well-integrated marketing cloud could potentially serve more functions than a single system of record. It could not only bring data together, but also deliver actionable insights to marketers and operationalize them through email marketing, social media and other channels.

Why it’s hot?

  • Having no centralized repository of data has been a challenge rife amongst my clients. By having disparate and at time conflicting metrics for success, silos have been established, and politics increase.

Pay for Art Using Your… Screenshots?

Customers gave up personal data for art pieces to take home at this London based pop-up store.

“London based street artist Ben Eine recently opened a pop-up shop for his work; instead of paying with cash, however, customers at this the Data Dollar Store have to give up their personal information. The shop, opened in collaboration with cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab, is meant to make customers reevaluate the information they often freely give away by the social media channels they are using. “I’m concerned about how that information is used and why are we not rewarded for giving this information away,” Eine told Cnet. “Companies use that information and target us to sell products, to feed us information that we wouldn’t necessarily look at.”

The store was set up in a temporary space at the Old Street Underground station in London. When visitors entered the store, an employee showed them the purchasing options:

  • Giving up three photos or screenshots of your recent text or email conversations for a mug
  • Giving up the last three photos on your Camera Roll, or the last three text messages sent, for a tshirt
  • Handing your phone over to the assistant to select any five photos to keep, publicly displayed on a large TV screen in the store for the next two days (you can attempt to barter for which photos they’ll pick, but the choice is up to them).

The store is meant to raise awareness about the sometimes risky informational exchanges that are happening all the time online. According to Kaspersky Lab, while 74 percent of survey respondents were unconcerned about data security, 41 percent were unprotected from potential threats and 20 percent have been affected by cybercrime.

Source: PSFK

Produce is War: How Driscoll’s Reinvented the Strawberry

“Produce is war, and it is won by having something beautiful-looking to sell at Costco when the competition has only cat-faced uglies.” This lengthy New Yorker article recently dove into how Driscoll’s uses market insight and crop science to build their monopoly on the berry market.

Strawberry from New Yorker

“Driscoll’s focus groups have shown that millennials, adventurous and open-minded in their eating habits, and easily seduced by novelty, may embrace pale berries. With these consumers, unburdened by preconceived notions of what a white berry should look or taste like, Driscoll’s has a priceless opportunity: the definitional power that comes with first contact.”

“According to Frances Dillard, Driscoll’s global brand strategist and a veteran of Disney’s consumer-products division, berries are the produce category most associated with happiness. (Kale, in contrast, has a health-control, “me” focus.) On a slide that Dillard prepared, mapping psychographic associations with various fruits, strawberries floated between Freedom and Harmony, in a zone marked Extrovert, above a word cloud that read “Social, pleasure, joy, balance, conviviality, friendship, warmth, soft, natural, sharing.” (Blueberries vibed as status-oriented, demanding, and high-tech.) As I studied the slide over Dillard’s shoulder in her office, she smiled tightly and said, “This is proprietary.”

Why it’s hot: It’s pretty cool to learn how our favorite fruits came to be. I thought this was a cool case study in now market demand and consumer behavior drive product innovation and brand stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon Goes Offline with a Physical Bookstore

After helping drive many U.S. bookstore chains out of business, Amazon has been opening its own retail stores recently.

Its first Amazon Books location in New York City opened in Manhattan’s Shops at Columbus Circle, which was previously home to a pretty large — and now closed — Borders Books and Music.

A customer review, the number of total Amazon.com reviews and a star rating are displayed under each book on the shelf. All the books in the store either received four-star ratings and above on Amazon.com, or come from lists of best sellers or a hand-curated selection of new, yet-to-be reviewed titles.

The brick-and-mortar locations aim to provide a “mecca of discovery” for book lovers, according to Jennifer Cast, vice president of Amazon Books. The books all have the covers, not the spines, facing out, to encourage browsing —even though the store could have fit as many as 5,000 more titles if books were displayed the conventional way, Cast said.

Why It’s Hot:

Though it’s possible to check out like a regular bookstore, Amazon Books offers significant discounts to Amazon Prime members. This provides a strong incentive for customers to join Amazon Prime — a program that analysts say prompts more spending on Amazon.com.

Experts say that by converting just two or three dozen customers a day to Prime would result in a tremendous growth in revenue. Customer lifetime value for most Amazon customers is in the low thousands of dollars.

No One Lies to Google

Recently Vox came out with an article interviewing Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are. Who said that polling that predicted Hillary Clinton’s win might have been up ended if pollsters had been exposed to data from Google.

Stephens did a deep dive into Google Trends under the hypothesis that people lie to pollsters, but they don’t lie to Google. He saw trends in increased searches of racial epithets and analyzed area data to find intent to vote (searching for polling places, researching candidates, etc.)

“There was a darkness and hatred that was hidden from traditional sources,” Stephens-Davidowitz says. “Those searches are hard to reconcile with a society in which racism is a small factor.”

When asked what he sees as his most startling finding…

I’m pretty convinced that the United States has a self-induced abortion crisis right now based on the volume of search inquiries. I was blown away by how frequently people are searching for ways to do abortions themselves now. These searches are concentrated in parts of the country where it’s hard to get an abortion and they rose substantially when it became harder to get an abortion. They’re also, I calculate, missing pregnancies in these states that aren’t showing up in either abortion or birth rates.

Why It’s Hot:

We are at a point of crisis in polling and electoral faith, if we have Google data to help us match results this might restore confidence in our system. This also can help point us to where people are under served or suffering in our country. By keeping anonymity, this lie free data collection keeps users protected but could use data for good…. or bad, I guess.

Source: https://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/6/13/15768622/facebook-social-media-seth-stephens-davidowitz-everybody-lies

Hey, Uncle Sam! Where’d the money go?

Government data is available, but it’s not exactly accessible. A new project from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Seattle design studio Artefact aim to change that. Called USAFacts, it’s an ambitious, $10 million effort to present government data in a way that’s open, non-partisan, and stupidly easy to understand. The website, launching today, organizes 30 years of data from more than 70 local, state, and federal government agencies into a well-designed, centralized hub that its creators hope will give people a clearer picture of how the government makes and spends money. Annual reports and quarterly reports will be created as the project matures.

The project is funded by Ballmer and ran with the support of Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, UPenn’s Wharton school of business, and Lynchburg College.

Why It’s Hot:

It’s a worthy mission and one that’s been hamstrung in the past by shoddy organization and presentation. Ballmer’s platform makes it easier to find the governmental data you’re looking for—and the data you didn’t know you were looking for. Now it’s just up to the people to make use of it.

“I just think it’s important if you are going to make your case, for you to make your case in the context of numbers,” Ballmer said. “Here are the numbers. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist. You don’t have to be an economist. You decide what you believe. And when things come up that you need to vote on, you need to opine on; you’ll have the view of a citizen that’s informed by facts.”

Spotify keeps on rocking with Lastminute.com partnership

There’s always one song that brings back memories of a really great holiday. This intrinsic link between music and travel is the idea behind Lastminute.com’s new partnership with Spotify. And according to data, a large percentage of lastminute.com consumers are also Spotify users, meaning the collaboration appears to be a win-win for both brands.

The partners are producing a series of interactive maps, playlists and podcasts – each one linked to 10 different destinations.

Spotify

Spotify

Each city is broken down by area, with playlists bringing to life the distinct sounds of each one. For instance, East London’s playlist includes songs by local artists like Dizzee Rascal and Katy B. Alongside this, the campaign will include a series of podcasts, each featuring an international artist giving insight into the music scene of their home city. And each user will receive personalized recommendations aligned to their music and travel tastes.

https://econsultancy.com/blog/69032-lastminute-com-partners-with-spotify-to-target-music-loving-travellers/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=econblog

Why It’s Hot
Spotify continues to set the bar for leveraging data in meaningful ways to deepen relationships with customers.

Our Nation, In Numbers

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wants to be known for more than just his “Developers” dance from 2000.

Using publically available data, Ballmer (and design studio Artefact) has established USAFacts.org, an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand clearinghouse of the facts behind our nation’s figures.

Built along a framework based on the Constitution itself, USAFacts aims to track how our money comes in and how it is spent along the lines of the Preamble.

  1. establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility,
  2. provide for the common defense,
  3. promote the general Welfare, and
  4. secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

Ballmer started this initiative because he saw a gap. He wanted to get a look at America’s finances, just as he could research the bottom line of his competitors.

Where is America’s Quarterly Report? Thank to USAFacts, it’s right here.

Why Is This Hot?

In an era of #FakeNews and alternative facts, it is refreshing to see someone using the power of data to get to the truth, even if that truth is mostly the bottom line.

The Amazon “stock market”

Just beneath the placid surface of a typical product page on Amazon lies an unseen world, a system where third-party vendors can sell products alongside Amazon’s own goods. It’s like a stock market, complete with day traders, code-slinging quants, artificial intelligence algorithms and, yes, flash crashes.

Amazon

Sellers of commodity items on Amazon are constantly monitoring and updating their prices, sometimes hundreds of thousands of times a day across thousands of items, says Mr. Kaziuk nas. Most use “rules-based” pricing systems, which simply seek to match competitors’ prices or beat them by some small fraction. If those systems get into bidding wars, items offered by only a few sellers can suffer sudden price collapses — “flash crashes.”

It’s clear, after talking to sellers and the software companies that empower them, that the biggest of these vendors are growing into sophisticated retailers in their own right. The top few hundred use pricing algorithms to battle with one another for the coveted “Buy Box,” which designates the default seller of an item. It’s the Amazon equivalent of a No. 1 ranking on Google search, and a tremendous driver of sales.

http://news.morningstar.com/all/dow-jones/us-markets/20170326515/the-high-speed-trading-behind-your-amazon-purchase.aspx

Why It’s Hot

Getting under the hood of how retail monster Amazon operates is always fascinating. The idea that prices are updating hundreds of thousands of times a day is nuts.

The Winners and Losers of YouTube’s Brand Saftey Crisis

The ripple of the video giant’s woes has gotten so great that some have predicted the impact from major brands could cost YouTube $750 million. Seemingly, there are some that are happy when such a kink in the armor is exposed, but there are myriad of stakeholders, each with their own perspective. With that amount of money – as well as brand reputation and confidence – at stake there are going to be some winners and losers, and here they are:

WINNERS

Old-fashioned publishers

These are the classic media players who started losing their lunch the second Google started owning the internet. One could imagine publishers grinning ear to ear, thinking, “Told ya so. Quality content isn’t so easy.” They can can make a more convincing case that knowing the content and the audience actually is still important.

This issue can resurface a shift to high-quality, direct-bought content, where brands have the most control but pay a premium for it in some cases.

Streamers

Anyone selling streaming ads is in a good position – including Sling, Dish and even TV networks. Hulu, Roku, TV networks and anyone with a digital video platform will be showing off their highly curated content. These new shows and programming will look pretty good to anyone with a heightened interest in knowing exactly where their messages will appear.

Tech tools & 3rd Party Verification Partners

Brands have called for digital platforms like Facebook and Google to clean up the media supply chain and to be more transparent with data. The brand safety issue on YouTube is yet another bit of leverage to force more cooperation.

Independent third parties like Integral Ad Science, Double Verify, Moat and others will find more brands at their doorsteps looking for ways to ensure their ads appear near quality content.

The agency

One of the most important roles for agencies was helping brands make sure their ads didn’t show up in the wrong place by intimately knowing the targeting, brand safety protections and best practices of each channel. Well, now those services are increasingly valuable.

LOSERS

Net neutrality

When the Trump administration makes further moves to undo net neutrality, as many anticipate based on current momentum repealing FCC consumer protections, Google’s ability to defend it in idealistic terms could be undermined by all the talk about serving ads on terrorist video.

Programmatic

It took a long time for programmatic to stop being a dirty word. Programmatic advertising was once considered the least controlled, lowest quality ad inventory at the lowest price. In part, brands could start to pull back from blind, untargeted buying without transparency.

YouTubers

YouTube has said that part of its solution is to implement stricter community standards, and that could mean more bannings and ad blocking from their videos, impacting their earnings.They could be quicker to cut a channel at the smallest offense now that brands are watching closely.

Advertisers still on YouTube – this is a tricky one to classify and it’s too early to say. We’ll have to see how the video platform reacts over time to increasing pressures to allow verification partners and data trackers access within the garden’s walls.

Why It’s (Still) Hot:

This topic will continue to be important to the brands we represent, aim to represent and even those far from us that are faced with the same decision to either stay the course or sit it out. There is a lot of money moving around on media plans, a lot of POV’s being routed and a lot of reps working overtime to reassure teams of buyers/planners that they are taking brand safety very seriously. Often it’s not the crisis that defines a company, but what they do in the aftermath. Some are hopeful that this is a definitive crack in the ‘walled garden’-  but even if it is not, we’re all hoping for a better, safer platform at the end of this tunnel…a world where once again clients can be irked by their premium pre-rolls showing up prefacing water skiing squirrels and dancing cat videos instead of terrorist rhetoric.

Watson’s First Sculpture

IBM’s Watson cultivated findings that allowed Softlab to create a piece of art based on computer analysis of thousands of architect Anthoni Gaudi’s buildings, along with the input of text documents about the architect, Barcelona’s history and culture, and song lyrics.The output was a modernist sculpture that responded to real-time social analytics that kept the pulse of what people at the conference were talking about on Twitter. As topics and emotions cropped up, changed, and peaked, the sculpture responded.

IBM Watson Created a Modern Sculpture Inspired by the Work of One of Spain’s Most Famous Architects

From the article: “I think from our perspective, definitely in the design process itself, one of the things that Softlab talked about was that a designer or expert can look at an image, and they can make inferences,” Arn said. “But there were things that came out of the analysis that we did that they really had not considered.”

Why it’s hot: In the article, Jeff Arn of IBm said of the sculpture “in this case, it’s a very abstract example. But you can imagine […] a social media manager for a retail brand can ask, ‘What does our audience think of us, or how are they reacting to a particular comment?’ … It kind of gets you a lot more understanding of who your audience could be based on traits given to you by the way they write on a medium.” While we are maybe reluctant to concede that machines may be smarter than us, we should at least acknowledge their utility in noticing the things we can’t see due to our own cognitive limitations or biases. As marketers we’re trying to understand the nuances of who we’re talking to by creating personas and doing consumer research – this is a glimpse into what the future of that will look like!

Using Tech to Get Away From Tech

 

Consumers are looking for the right balance when it comes to technology. Smart brands are tapping into people’s desires to disconnect.

Dolmio, a pasta sauce company created the ‘pepper hacker’ – a device that automatically disables surrounding Wi-Fi – to help families reclaim dinner time.

 

Why it’s hot….

  1. Using tech to get people away from tech
  2. Keeping consumers top of mind outside of the category

Visualizing Stuff In Space

Stuff In Space is a real-time 3D map of objects in Earth’s orbit. The website updates daily and uses satellite.js javascript library to calculate satellite positions.

There are tons of satellites, spacecraft parts, and debris out there, just circling the earth until someone does something about it. You can scroll to zoom in and out, and drag to rotate your view of earth and its surroundings. Mouseover to find the name of an object, and you might be able to look it up somewhere. The menu at the top left allows you to sort objects by type.

Why it’s Hot

  1. Interactive visualizations are great to illustrate otherwise unfathomable amounts of information
  2. The immersive experience, allowing users to explore and learn, keeps people engaged

 

I Bet You Guys Are Wondering Why I’m Writing About Dresses…


Hopefully that headline got you – my colleagues in the NYC office – to stop on my post even though I’m not there to present it.

Without leaving you in too much suspense, it’s because Google recently partnered with H&M’s “digital fashion house” Ivyrevel to create something called “Coded Couture”.

The fashion influencers currently (beta) experiencing this new phenomenon will end up with completely bespoke dresses, designed based on data gathered from their activities over the course of a week.

How it ostensibly works is – they will download an app (to be released more broadly later this year), which will monitor “who they are”, what they do, and where they go, and the data captured will inform a design meant to reflect their unique personalities.

In the words of one of Ivyrevel’s co-founders, “The Data Dress enables women around the world to order a dress made entirely for them, that reflects the way they live their lives.”

Why it’s hot so hot right now (pls read in Will Ferrel Mugatu voice)

The idea of creating physical things informed by digital data is yet another example of digital transforming the physical world. Most often previously, data has helped personalize digital experiences, this is obviously data informing a physical object. If this became commonplace (/when it does), instead of choosing from mass produced options, everything we wear and use could be completely tailored for our individual lives/lifestyles.

But most of all, I’m just really curious how I would look in a data dress.

What do you guys think?

Amazon GO Shopping

Amazon Go is a new kind of store with no checkout required. Amazon has created the world’s most advanced shopping technology so shoppers never have to wait in line. With Amazon’s Just Walk Out Shopping experience, simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products you want, and go! No lines, no checkout.

Why It’s Hot:

By eliminating much of the staff needed to operate a store, Amazon keeps costs lower than traditional competitors. It’s also in a strong position to bring together data on its customer’s shopping habits online and offline to make better suggestions in all situations.

The experiment could also be seen as a new technology platform that Amazon could offer retail businesses after working out all of the kinks.  Similar to the way Amazon Web Service provides hosting for sites like Netflix and Adobe, Amazon Go will provide patent-protected technology infrastructure for “self-shopping” brick and mortar stores.

Better Brews Come Delivered By Data Analytics

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Using sophisticated data science, IBM and Havas helia created a beer that tastes of joy and optimism. How you may ask? They used a tool called Watson Personality Insights, which analyzes language to produce a personality profile. The technology uses linguistic analysis to find meaning words. In linguistics, semantic analysis is the process of taking syntactic structures and relating them to each other.

First, the team observed the sentiment and the emotions found in the social media shared on and around New Year’s eve by running a data set of New Year’s related messages and shares on social media and matched them with a wide range of emotional states. The partners leveraged this powerful tool to extract cognitive and social characteristics from input text such as email, SMS, tweets, forum posts, and more. Through their analysis, the team found that the top most shared emotions were love, joy, harmony, cheerfulness, optimism, resolution and excitement.

With this profile the team worked together to capture the mood of the nation during the New Year party season to create the world’s first beer crafted and based on human emotions.

It then takes that profile and can categorise each beer according to different human adjectives, such as “assertive,” “friendly” or “intelligent.” Then the IBM Watson team began to analyse 2,800 different beer recipes while giving the computer descriptions about the ingredients, recipes, tasting notes and beer reviews. This method helped to identify the perfect recipe.

The top 10 beers that matched the most shared New Year emotions found in the data were then identified and, through further analysis, all of these beer recipes were combined to find the most common ingredients.

Honey, the Nelson Sauvin hop variety and the Hallertauer hop emerged as the top three most common ingredients among the beers.

  • Honey denotes love and cheerfulness
  • Nelson Sauvin is for optimism, imagination and resolution
  • Hallertauer is for excitement and emotion

Each of these ingredients was used to create flagship data-powered New Year beer: 0101. For the complicated project—the team picked High Peak Brew Co, an independent microbrewery based in the UK’s Peak District, to head up the brewing project. They tapped this particular brewery because the company’s brews are unfined and unfiltered, like the content of the social activity they tested. They worked with them to get an exact taste that would match the data as closely as possible.

Helia works with data to uncover patterns in human behavior, mixing that with cultural understanding to inspire more creative ideas. Why does this matter? The service helps users to understand, connect to, and communicate with other people on a more personalized level. With this powerful tool we can derive consumers’ cognitive and social preferences just with the language they use. The service applies linguistic analytics and personality theory to infer attributes from a person’s unstructured text.

Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

It’s a data-driven world. But it’s an emotional, unpredictable word too. I appreciate the effort to bring the two together with this experiment. And of course, there’s the beer aspect.

Through tools like this we can gain insight into how and why people think, act, and feel the way they do. This means companies and coders can use data and technology to interpret something abstract such as positive feelings and emotions and turn them into an experience to build upon.

 

 

The Quantified Car

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Automatic is a combination adapter and app that interfaces with your car’s on-board computer. The adapter gathers data on fuel efficiency, miles driven, and bad driving habits (jackrabbit accelerations and hard braking). The app can then give drivers insights into their driver profile, their car’s mechanical condition, tell you where you parked, and in an accident, can even notify loved ones and signal for help.  Ever wonder what that check engine light really means? Automatic can tell you the exact error code, what is usually the causing the problem, and connect you to local mechanics.

As a consequence of gathering all this data, Automatic is able to issue yearly “Your Driving Year in Review” reports. Here’s mine. I commute far too much, drive too fast to optimize fuel efficiency, and sadly, when you add up all my driving time, I spend more than two weeks a year behind the wheel.

Why it’s hot:
Newer cars are starting to include these tracking features standard, but for the majority of older vehicles on the road, tools like Automatic can provide actionable data right now. And since driving is one of the most dangerous (and unhealthy) activities we can do in our lives, any data that can optimize the experience will help us make better decisions. Look for car brands (other automotive related brands) to embrace this data, creating better experiences and deeper integrations.

 

Newest Sleep Number Bed Tracks Your Daytime Activities

The latest Sleep Number “It” bed not only analyzes how you sleep but also tracks what you do during the day to help you get the best sleep possible. In addition, it can pull in data such as weather forecasts and traffic reports to provide you with recommendations, such as going to bed earlier, to help you get the most out of your sleep.

The “It” bed was unveiled at CES in Las Vegas this week. In addition to using the existing sleep-tracking SleepIQ biometric technology that uses sensors to track presence, movement, and heart and breathing rates while using the mattress, the new bed connects to your mobile devices using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to track your activity throughout the day.

The data can include when you eat, exercise, your schedule for the day, etc. Based on this data, the mattress suggests ideal firmness levels and ideas for how to get the best sleep.

Why It’s Hot
 We spend a large percentage of our lives sleeping, and sleep is vital to our health. As mhealth and the Internet of Things continues to grow, it makes sense that data be used to optimize our sleep experiences. This in turn may lead to better overall health and improved productivity!

Baseball becomes Databall with new stat system

For those watching the baseball playoffs this season, they will see stats, stats and more stats.  Stats on how high and far balls are hit, ball velocity leaving the bat, speed of the ball hit to a player, speed of a player reacting to a ball coming at him, hang time of a thrown ball, reaction time of outfielders, run time of a base stealer and more.

According to an article in Yahoo:Tech, the system Statcast takes idea of data “and runs with it, so to speak. By way of high-resolution optical cameras and radar equipment installed in each ballpark, Statcast tracks the location and movement of the ball and of each player on the field — on every play — with startling precision.” It’s the same system that has been showing us the strike zone superimposed over the catcher and where a pitched ball is caught by the catcher.

The impact of Statcast is an astonishing amount of information available for managers and for the viewers. And probably no limit on the stats we’ll begin seeing for football, basketball, hockey and other sports.  How soon will we see tortured stats for high school Friday night football, little league and basketball pickup games?

Why It’s Hot

Although Statcast will be like catnip to baseball fans, it’s another example of the amount of data we’re exposed to. And it’s not always relevant. Do we care how fast a runner steals second base, or are we just getting all this data because we can?  How long will it be before activities in our lives will be measured with this excruciating detail, perhaps robbing us of the pleasure of just enjoying something without measurement, judgment or comparison? When is data too much?

Smart stethoscope gets FDA stamp of approval

Eko Devices, a smart medical device startup, announced this Wednesday that its Eko Core product has been cleared by the FDA. The device turns standard stethoscopes into “smart” ones. It allows doctors to take digital records of patient heartbeats using Bluetooth technology. The records are transmitted wirelessly to Eko’s HIPAA-compliant smartphone app and web portal. Eko will also sell a smart stethoscope for doctor’s who want to abandon the traditional scopes altogether.

The device costs $199 and allows doctors to chart heartbeats over time and send the recordings to specialists for further review.

Eko, which has received $2.8 million in funding, is only just beginning its cardiovascular innovations.

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Why It’s Hot

While much of the medical field has gone digital, it’s been a slow transition for the nearly 200-year-old stethoscope.

Beyond the Eko Core, the company is conducting trials in 2 San Fran hospitals to pool heartbeat data from 200 kids and 200 adults. The data will be analyzed and tested to help develop a Shazam-like heartbeat functionality being built by Eko. This is slated to underdo separate FDA-testing starting early in 2016. It would allow clinicians to interpret the heart sounds based on algorithms developed by engineers that analyze the pooled recordings.

 

Google Helps Nudge People Toward Solar Power

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(Source: Google Project Sunroof)

A team of Google engineers just released a tool called Project Sunroof to help users understand the sun your roof gets and the benefits of installing solar panels to capture that energy. They adapted the high-resolution aerial maps from Google Earth to estimate the total sunlight a rooftop receives throughout the year. The tool then tells you how much you can expect to save with solar panels under different financing plans (you can plug in your current electric bill for a more refined calculation) and connects you with local companies that do installations.

Why It’s Hot:

This tool is certainly valuable for anyone thinking about a solar panel installation, and for anyone who wants to know whether he or she should be thinking about it. It’s a potentially valuable tool for Google as well since those suggestions for companies to install solar panels for you are sponsored by the companies themselves. In other words, Google is giving you a tool with unbiased information to point you in the direction of a service (paid advertiser) that can help you with the install. Providing a simple to use service that helps solve a problem or overcome a barrier leads to a better customer experience and ultimately a purchase.