it’s gotta be the shoes…

And if Nike’s vision evolves, it could, in fact, be the shoes…that are a gateway to exploring more of what we might like.

They’ve already dabbled, and we’ve already discussed connected jerseys, that bring you content specific to the team and player at the tap of an NFC enabled phone. Nike’s latest “AF1 NikeConnect QS NYC”  sneakers “will come with an NFC (near-field communication) chip embedded under a NikeConnect logo on the heel of the sneaker. By using the NikeConnect app on a phone, you can tap your phone on the sensor and gain access to exclusive content and Nike events in New York City, as well as an opportunity to purchase other popular Nike kicks.” 

Why it’s hot:

What Nike is doing is an interesting approach in a world where we’re overwhelmed with stuff and information. By making the things we buy portals to more of what we might like, it seems an attempt to make anything an easy gateway to discovery, circumventing all the noise involved in finding things on our own on the vast and wide internet. And if all Nike Connect products are linked to your personal account, Nike could conceivably provide you with even better inspiration based on the sum total of your “Nike closet”.



Adidas Soccer revealed the Telstar 18, a reimagining of the original Telstar ball used at the tournament back in 1970 to be featured in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

It will be the most tech-savvy ball in history with an NFC microchip embedded inside. The chip will allow consumers to interact directly with the ball using their smartphones. Each ball generates a unique identifier, unlocking exclusive content and information for the user about the details of each ball and providing access to challenges that users can enter before the World Cup.

In short, passionate soccer fans can tap their phone on the ball to unlock a consumer experience – technically this could be anything from player exclusive content, to games, to Adidas’s discounts, to brand co-partnership

Why It’s Hot:

  1. Harnesses a red-hot passion point (aka soccer) at a global scale
  2. Enables increased product sales (the balls)
  3. Delivers on a unique and exclusive consumer experience
  4. Sky is the limit when it comes to content

I’m gonna go watch some Jersey now…

Nike is celebrating the beginning of its partnership with the NBA by revealing that its new fan jerseys will include an interactive element, designed to bring the sport’s followers closer to its biggest stars. Billed as ‘the future of fan apparel’, each of the connected basketball jerseys features a unique NFC chip — the same technology used in metro cards, or for apple pay — built into its jock tag. using NIKEconnect, fans will then be able to access real-time, personalized experiences through their smartphone.

Why It’s Hot:

-Yet another example of how physical and digital worlds continue colliding at breakneck speed

-Successfully merged two of the most relevant communication tactics, tech and content, to deliver unique experiences

– Somehow, it turned clothing into a proprietary media channel with huge cross-selling opportunities


nike connected jersey…

Nike added a new layer of to clothing recently when it introduced connected NBA jerseys.

To coincide with its new status as official NBA gear provider, jersey owners can now tap their iPhone 7 with iOS11 on the jersey’s tag to activate “premium content” via NFC.

Per 9-to-5 mac:

“Essentially what happens is customers can purchase a jersey for their favorite player and unlock “premium content” about that player via the NikeConnect app. That premium content includes things such as “pregame arrival footage,” highlight reels, music playlists from players, and more. Just so everything comes full circle, the jerseys can unlock boosts for players in NBA 2K18.”

Why It’s Hot:

Everything is now a platform. With AR, NFC, and QR truly becoming mainstream, and mixed reality and AI presumably not long behind them, we’re interacting with things in a whole new way. This is a relatively light example – less utility, more entertainment – but it shows how technology is integrating into everything to provide a new layer of experience to even the clothes we wear.

Voluntary employee microchipping (parties)

And X-Ray of an Epicenter employee’s microchip implants reveals its location between the index finger and the thumb. Image Source: Pinterest

Employees and renters at Epicenter, a Stockholm-based co-working space have been opting-in to microchip implants that allow them to open office doors, operate printers, or put a smoothie purchase on their company tab with a wave of their augmented hands.

The chips are injected between volunteers’ thumb and index fingers and use Near Field Communication (NFC), the same tech used for mobile payments such as Apple Pay (and yes, yours pets’ microchips).

150 of the company’s 2000 workers have received the implants, and they have become so popular that workers at Epicenter hold parties for those willing to get implanted.

The technology isn’t new, but its implementation – within the human body, raises privacy concerns.

From the AP article:
“While biologically safe, the data generated by the chips can show how often an employee comes to work or what they buy. Unlike company swipe cards or smartphones, which can generate the same data, a person cannot easily separate themselves from the chip.”

With Elon Musk’s recent announcement of Neuralink, his latest enterprise focused on brain-computer interfaces, one starts to think:

  • When it comes to adoption of new tech, consumers continue to show a willingness to trade Privacy for Convenience.
  • Could these body-mod developments signal the first wave of consumer-level bionics, heralding a realization of the cyborg future envisioned and popularized by sci-fi writers of the 70s and 80s?


Crunch Responsibly

Tostitos partnered with Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving to develop a limited-edition bag that acts as a breathalyser. When alcohol is detected, red LEDs on the packet light up with the message ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’. To further help the unfortunate, or fortunate 😉 , drunkard the bag is NFC enabled so they can order an Uber by just tapping the bag.

Why It’s Hot:

  • Breaks through the Super Bowl advertising clutter by leveraging tech in an innovative way
  • It’s not technology for the sake of technology – it addresses a consumer need
  • Execution reinforces Tostitos’ “Party Bag” positioning within a very relevant consumption moment


Pay With Your Heartbeat

nymi-band-coffee-964x644Nymi, MasterCard and TD Bank Group have kicked off a pilot program for a wearable device that is able to authenticate payments using the wearer’s heartbeat. The Nymi Band utilizes HeartID, which leverages a person’s unique cardiac signature (or ECG) as a biometric identifier. It is the world’s first biometrically authenticated wearable, in the form of a stylish wristband that lets you pay for items and prove your identity using your heartbeat.

This closed payment pilot is taking place over the summer to test the Nymi Band’s contactless payment functionality. Over 100 TD users in Toronto, Ottawa and Regina will be trying out the new technology, with other participating Canadian banks scheduled to launch similar pilots later this year.

An NFC-enabled prototype of the Nymi Band has been developed for the pilots, which is linked to a user’s MasterCard to enable them to make contactless payments using the Tap & Go terminals found at lots of retailers. The Nymi Band is a reliable and continuous wearable authenticator that combines convenience and security. Karl Martin, Nymi’s founder and CEO said:

Nymi’s goal is to fundamentally change the way authentication is treated and to move industries towards a more secure and convenient identity model. By working with partners like TD and MasterCard, we are effectively demonstrating that continuous authentication can be a more secure and convenient way to make retail payments.

Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

Wearables and payment innovation are 2 hot topics that are coming together more and more often. Another hot topic is data security, privacy and reassurance associated with wearables and contactless payments. I like this wearable because the ultimate goal is seamlessness, and it’s charting new territory to achieve that. It’s also taking us to a “screenless” place, which is where the SXSW panelists predicted this year at the event.

Apple’s iBeacon specs made available

After rolling out their iBeacon technology in Apple stores and then 150 grocery stores in Cleveland, Seattle, and San Francisco, Apple is releasing the specs for the technology as part of its “Made for iPhone” licensing program. This program allows developers among others to have access to hardware components, tools, documentation, tech support, etc.

iBeacon is Apple’s brand of technology for data transfer between devices using Bluetooth Low Energy. This technology, not exclusive to Apple, consumes a small amount of battery power, making it useful for micro-location geo-fencing. It also allows detailed tracking and rich data exchange without an intermediary or physical activation. (

iBeacon enables other blue-tooth enabled devices to recognize when your phone is nearby. Those beacons can then send data to the phone in the form of a pop-up coupon, loyalty rewards, shopping list reminders (eg, did you buy milk?) or commands that open doors, turn on lights, or initiate tracking.


iBeacon from Apple

iBeacon at work


Why It’s Hot

iBeacon sets up to be a direct competitor to near-field communications (NFC) technologies. From my research, it appears that iBeacon may have a lot of advantages over NFC. For instance, iBeacon is effective to up to 160 feet away from a device, versus NFC, that is more in area of 8 inches. iBeacon also may be much less expensive to implement for retailers than NFC technologies. With Apple making the specs available through their licensing program, iBeacon may expand into more stores nationwide and potentially integrate into our shopping experiences.