Integrated Tech at CES: The Smart Future Becomes Reality

Walking the show floor of the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show–the equivalent of 43 football fields–it was hard not to notice the crowd milling about one of the most well-attended exhibits: The Laundroid. The sleek, WiFi-connected box uses robotic arms, image recognition, and artificial intelligence (its network currently contains 256,000 images of clothing items) to identify a piece of clothing and determine the best way to fold it. It learns your clothing items over time and its app lets you assign items as belonging to different members of your household. It takes about 5-10 minutes to fold an item of clothing, so literally hours to fold one load of laundry.

It’s certainly not the most practical or promising technology on display at CES, but it is the one that got us incredibly excited about the future (and not because we hate doing laundry).  

See, if there was a word to describe CES this year it was integration — the combining of different technologies (machine learning, image recognition or computer vision, robotics, voice, other sensors) to create experiences that will define the smarter future. Everything we engage with will increasingly have a technological layer, making Gartner’s prediction of more than 20 billion connected devices by 2020 seem entirely achievable.

Every year there are more and more mashups at CES. Sometimes they’re silly and sometimes they’re useful but either way they’re inspiring creativity. We identified seven areas of noteworthy integration technology:

 

1. The Smart Home

The application of integrated tech was most striking in home appliances and decor, as companies showed how voice could live in virtually every item in the home.

For example, bathroom and fixture company Kohler demoed its Kohler Konnect line, a new series of voice assistant-powered bathroom products. The line includes voice activated lights on a vanity mirror, gives users the ability to command their shower head on, setting water temperature and pressure just the way they like it and even a voice-powered faucet that will pour glasses of water on command.

Another was Whirlpool, which demonstrated a smart future via its integration of Yummly, a recipe discovery property it bought in 2017. An app uses computer vision to read what’s in your fridge and then recommends recipes based on the ingredients on hand. A screen on the “smart” range tells you step-by-step how to cook the dish.

2. Computer Vision

Beyond the home, integrated technology for the in-store retail experience was on full display from several companies. Computer vision, the technology that enables computers to recognize real-world objects from live camera feeds, was especially prevalent this year. Aipoly, a computer vision platform originally designed for the vision impaired, enables retail stores to be fully autonomous, tracking consumers as they shop, learning behaviors and eliminating the need for checkout. Using computer vision and artificial intelligence to help track and understand people’s shopping patterns in store, and then in turn tailoring and optimizing those experiences, has the potential to help make brick-and-mortar shopping experiences as trackable and personalized as e-commerce. Adoption of this technology is only expected to proliferate, with 37% of retailers already planning to use AI for customer experience personalization in the next 9 months.

3. Health, Fitness and Sports Tech

With hundreds of new technology applications across eldercare, athletic tracking, and health monitoring, sports tech was a present category at CES this year. From smart golf balls to computer-vision enabled sports arena cameras, sports tech had its biggest CES showing yet and demonstrated the many different ways that technology can enhance the games we love, wooing both enthusiasts and investors alike.

One great example of how to turn an everyday experience into an immersive and extraordinary one was Black Box VR. They’ve created the “world’s first virtual reality gym”, a space that converts traditional exercises into a video game experience. In one demo, chest presses launched fireballs at the enemy. Their first boutique gym will open in San Francisco this year.

4. Voice

Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home were everywhere–and often even in the same product. More and more manufacturers are enabling their products to work with both platforms, opening and expanding the voice ecosystem to further drive consumer adoption. 2018 will be the year that brands make real strides in ensuring discoverability on voice platforms via Voice SEO–or risk being caught flat-footed in what will be the dominant emerging interface for the next several years.

5. Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency and blockchain, the underlying technology that powers it, is inching its way into the mainstream and at CES we were already seeing examples of this. Since getting started with cryptocurrency can be a bit daunting for newcomers, startups such as Subvisual are trying to bridge the gap between traditional payment solutions and cryptocurrencies by enabling merchants to accept payments with modern forms, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum using traditional mechanisms like credit cards.

6. Robots

There was a plethora of robots at CES this year, most of which seemed to focus on attempting to simulate human expression and emotions, rather than the industrial or military-style robots we are used to seeing in viral videos on social media. While robotics as a category is nothing new at CES, the integration of emotive technology is. By integrating human-like expressions, robots have become more approachable and comfortable to relate to than their emotionless counterparts. As robots continue to become more human-like, so do their usefulness. For example, there is a lot of interest and investment in robots that can augment (or in some cases even replace) child and elder care. Unlike humans, robots can provide constant care and attention without exhaustion. This has become especially popular in countries where the need for such specialized care is in high demand, and resources are dwindling.

7. 5G

While the idea of faster bandwidth might not seem very sexy or new, 5G, the next generation of mobile wireless networking, has the broadest-reaching impact for just about everything represented at CES 2018. 5G enables everything from your average smartphone to emerging technologies like virtual reality, to support extreme-bandwidth applications, such as 360 streaming 4k video on mobile headsets. From connected cars to email attachments, 5G will significantly boost (10 to 100x faster than current speeds) everything we experience on the mobile web, and be more secure, and more reliable than ever before.

 

The integration of technology across platforms, products, devices and applications, is having significant impact on consumer’s daily lives as tech-enabled experiences become unavoidable. With each command given to the kitchen sink and with each flat sheet folded consumers are growing more accustomed to seamless experiences and friction-less decision making. Integrated tech has brought the smart future to present. 

 

360i’s CMO Abbey Klaassen, VP, Head of Innovation Technology Layne Harris and Senior Innovation Strategist Fitz Maro contributed to this post. 

The post Integrated Tech at CES: The Smart Future Becomes Reality appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

John McCain is All Mad About Trump’s Fake News Awards, But Samantha Bee’s Super Excited


President Trump’s Fake News Awards, originally slated for Jan. 8, then rescheduled for today, may or may not actually be happeningyesterday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, when pressed, had no details about what she called the “potential event”but John McCain and Samantha Bee are both braced for them.

In an op-ed that appears in today’s Washington Post, the senator from Arizona rails against Trump in advance of the maybe-stunt. Headlined “Mr. President, stop attacking the press,” the piece begins,

After leaving office, President Ronald Reagan created the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award to recognize individuals who have fought to spread liberty worldwide. Nancy Reagan continued the tradition after her husband’s death, and in 2008 she bestowed the honor on human rights icon Natan Sharansky, who credited Reagan’s strong defense of freedom for his own survival in Soviet gulags. Reagan recognized that as leader of the free world, his words carried enormous weight, and he used them to inspire the unprecedented spread of democracy around the world.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Watch the Newest Ads on TV From State Farm, ADT, DirecTV and More


Every weekday, we bring you the Ad Age/iSpot Hot Spots, new TV commercials tracked by iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention and conversion analytics from more than seven million smart TVs. The ads here ran on national TV for the first time yesterday.

A few highlights: State Farm serves up a story about a cherished piece of jewelryshowing what it means to a mother and her daughterby way of suggesting that you should get the right insurance for the things you really care about. ADT promotes a different kind of protection: ADT Go, “the family safety mobile app and service.” And Jackson Hewitt scoffs at the idea that a tax-prep website can beat the service provided face-to-face by the tax pros at its storefront locations.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Let the “Black Mirror” references fly: Britain has a Minister for Loneliness

In what sounds like an episode of Black Mirror, Britain has appointed its very first “minister for loneliness,” reports NBC News. The newly created role will devise a national strategy to tackle isolation and alienation across all age groups in the country. Recent research, the government announced Wednesday, showed that loneliness is a rapidly growing …

In what sounds like an episode of Black Mirror, Britain has appointed its very first “minister for loneliness,” reports NBC News. The newly created role will devise a national strategy to tackle isolation and alienation across all age groups in the country.

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Apple says it will pay $38 billion in repatriation taxes on offshore profits

Apple shed some light Wednesday on what it plans to do with the roughly $250 billion it’s had stashed in overseas accounts. Under the new tax code, Apple can now bring the money back home at a greatly reduced 15.5% tax rate. The old federal tax rate was 35%. Here’s what the company says it’ll do …

Apple shed some light Wednesday on what it plans to do with the roughly $250 billion it’s had stashed in overseas accounts. Under the new tax code, Apple can now bring the money back home at a greatly reduced 15.5% tax rate. The old federal tax rate was 35%.

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The personal touch

The personal touch

In the pre-digital era personalised products were largely the possession of the upper classes; think tailored Saville Row suits, monogramed handkerchiefs, private registration plates and bone china emblazoned with a personal coat of arms. Personalised products meant bespoke and time consuming artisan craftmanship, synonymous with a quality only wealth could command.

Nowadays, with the advent of digital technologies, the production of and access to personalised and customised products has become widespread. No longer do people have to seek out a craftsman, pay a significant fee and wait for their dream of an individualised t-shirt, birthday card, pair of shoes or motor vehicle to be realised. These days the internet enables virtually anybody to upload personal specifications for a product that through automated production systems are rapidly and cheaply, laser cut, 3D printed, auto-knitted and otherwise digitally fabricated.

Brands are increasingly catching on to this trend as a way of engaging with shoppers and consumers alike, but ensuring a proposition is authentic is critical to success. Without clearly communicating the benefit of personalisation brands stand to risk poor return on investment, alienation and at worst a damaging consumer backlash.

Take for example Nutella’s personalisation misfire which in 2015 gave Australians the opportunity to customise their jars. Without a strong and loyal following to buy into the proposition and make it a success the result was a social media storm in which cynical consumers emblazoned jars with words such as “Poop”, “Diabetes” and even “Hitler” forcing the brand to retract the campaign.

 

At Golley Retail we’ve put personalised propositions under the microscope and developed a model to help assess the right positioning for your personalised proposition.

The model takes account of both the nature of the personalisation that’s being offered and the purpose that personalisation serves for the consumer and shopper, enabling brands to critically assess their personalisation strategy and improve the chances of developing a viable and authentic proposition.

Get in touch

If you’d like us to help you personalise your brand for your shoppers we’d love to hear from you.

The post The personal touch appeared first on Golley Slater.

The rise of ‘social’ sports

In this post, GlobalWebIndex‘s Senior Trends Analyst, Katie Young looks at why social has become the go-to channel for sports fans, and why clubs need to start recognising the importance of social and mobile channels in reaching their target audience.

At the end of last year, Manchester City became the first Premier League Club to hit 1m YouTube subscribers. In the same year, the club launched its new digital platform, Cityzens and Manchester United unveiled its in-house MUTV app. These are just a couple of examples of a shift taking place within sport, whereby sports clubs are recognising the increasing importance of social and mobile channels when reaching their audiences. But how serious could this digital disruption be and how should the industry respond?

In a splintering media landscape, live sport has generally done well at retaining its appointment viewing status. Digital consumers still see a great appeal in watching sports live on a big TV screen, watching twice as many sports on TV as they do online. But ESPN, BT and Sky’s declining broadcast audiences suggest things are on the change. Just as digital consumers have become accustomed to consuming TV content whenever and wherever they please, a similar transition is coming into motion for sports too.

More and more people are turning to their laptops, mobiles and tablets to engage with sports content – catching highlights on-the-go via social media and augmenting their viewing through on-demand channels. Our research shows that as many as 1 in 2 internet users are now watching sports coverage online – something Amazon will be hoping to capitalise on with its expected bid for Premier League streaming rights this year.

Arguably, it’s social that could pose the greatest challenge, as well as the greatest opportunity, for sports broadcasters and rights holders. Back in 2016, Twitter announced it would stream the season’s National Football League games, and that was just the start. We’ve since seen a wealth of matches and tournaments streamed across social, with Twitter itself announcing that it has delivered over 800 hours of live streaming content across more than 450 events.

Sports fandom has already progressed towards digital and social and this will only continue. Globally, our research shows that almost a fifth of internet users are now following sports events via social, while 14% of those on Twitter say they have recently tweeted about a sports events. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook already own the fan commentary around sports, and it’s easy to see how users could see appeal in watching more sports content on these platforms – especially with the spread of video across social and mobile connections continually improving.

For the foreseeable future, social media’s role will be to complement rather than replace traditional broadcasters. There’s no denying the reach and importance of televised sport but there are clear signs that an online revolution is happening, and rights holders will have to become less reliant on millions paying to watch live on their TV sets.

Audiences now span a multitude of devices and platforms and it’s in the industry’s own interests to establish the best ways to fully engage their audience – whether that’s via a YouTube channel or its own app. Broadcasters alone can no longer satisfy the appetite for the modern football fan.

The post The rise of ‘social’ sports appeared first on We Are Social UK.

Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” is heading for TV because this is the world we live in

Do the daily headlines have you feeling like you’re living in a farcical television show? Well, TV executives agree. Michael Wolff’s newly released book, Fire And Fury, which provides a catty, unvarnished chronicle of Donald Trump’s first year in the White House, has reportedly already been scooped up by Hollywood. Endeavor Content, according to the Hollywood …

Do the daily headlines have you feeling like you’re living in a farcical television show? Well, TV executives agree. Michael Wolff’s newly released book, Fire And Fury, which provides a catty, unvarnished chronicle of Donald Trump’s first year in the White House, has reportedly already been scooped up by Hollywood. Endeavor Content, according to the Hollywood Reporter, plans to adapt the book into a television series.

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Working from the Office – the New Working from Home

One perk companies of any size can offer their employees is flexibility around working from home or flexible work schedules. While there can be disadvantages of offering flexible work schedules, almost everyone agrees the pros outweigh the cons.

But why not also invest in your office environment as an employee benefit? While it can be dreamy to sit in your PJs and have your cat in your lap (or on your laptop) all afternoon, working from home is often as distracting as it is convenient. If your employees feel more productive and inspired in your office environment, you’ll get more face time with your team, even if they have the option to work from home.

Here are four Distilled office tips to incentivize your employees to brave the commute into the office (and forego the oh-so-tempting desire to stay in PJs all day).

Intentional, intelligent office design

Whether you prefer the open office layout or a more traditional cubicle look, design your office with a variety of areas to suit different kinds of work and different kinds of work styles. Give individuals the freedom to choose the work environment specific to their mood, task, or creativity preference.

At Distilled, this includes flexible sit-stand desks (or areas of standing desks), cafe-style areas, couches and dens, communal hubs and meeting rooms for group work, and small spaces where people can put their heads down and concentrate. Some companies prefer having no designated desks, but we’ve kept to individual desks so that people express themselves with photos, tchotchke, and supplies, as well as providing storage for personal belongings.

Additionally, in an ever more computer-centric economy, design your workspace in a way that motivates movement. Even something as simple as having the printer or snacks farther away from desk areas can decrease the amount of sitting for long periods of time, which is by far the healthiest option for your employees.

Plan tangible office events that support company culture

Is someone having a birthday? Vicke in the London office and Amanda in Seattle are ready to make you a cake. Did you just start with Distilled? We’re having a team lunch to celebrate. While providing snacks and coffee in your office is a proven perk, it’s essential to invest in events and the time you get to spend together around the food. Company sponsored and organized events increase a sense of belonging, connecting you to both the company and the people in it.

Regardless of whether you want to hold company happy hours or softball games, keep in mind your events should be:

  • Inclusive – don’t let anyone feel left out because of age, gender, ability, or allergy.

  • Relevant – not sure what your team enjoys? Conduct some surveys or polls before you decide on your trip to the aquarium.

  • Finite – the best events have clear start and end times, so people can plan their lives or other commitments around them.

Not sure what kinds of events work best for your office culture? Focus on activities that allow for casual socializing, but that typically highlight something specific. Birthdays, engagements, and other employee life events are easy starting points.

Some ideas of ours that you’re welcome to steal include themed potlucks and Friday happy hour. On Fridays, all three offices host an optional gathering at the end of the workday to unwind and relax as a team, complete with bubbly water and alcohol (with and without bubbles). A couple weeks ago, Amanda, our fabulous People Operations Executive, organized an office “Waffle Bar” potluck. She brought the iron and we brought the toppings.

Your company will see an increased sense of community if you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is – sometimes literally.

Let people bring their home to work

Create an office environment where employees can bring their authentic selves (and maybe their Corgi) without feeling like they’re breaking the rules. If employees have to leave too much of their lives out of the workplace, it will make it difficult for them to get to the workplace, especially if flexibility is part of your office culture.

Consider making your office-friendly towards kids, dogs, bikes (and their storage), as well as casual dress. Even if you can’t condone casual dress at all times, casual dress days or events can go a long way towards making your people feel comfortable. Remember the novelty of “bring your daughter/son to work” days? If your office has a more corporate or formal feel, you can still create structured opportunities to let your employees bring their home to the workplace.

Even if your building doesn’t allow dogs, it can become a perfect reason to organize a dog-friendly event somewhere nearby.

Do sweat the small stuff

The littlest detail can go a long way towards making your employees feel connected and motivated to be in the office. The small stuff we like best at Distilled includes plants, music and, not surprisingly, video games.

While their ability to improve air quality might be a myth, the ability of plants to increase happiness and productivity have long been felt if only recently measured. In the Seattle office, we have some very happy dracaena, palm trees, succulents, air plants, pothos (ivy), and even a bird of paradise.

An intangible asset to your office is the addition of or access to music. Spotify and Sonos are small expenses to allow anyone in the office to be a DJ for the afternoon. If you’re a heads down office and having music playing in larger spaces is a terrible idea, consider reimbursing employees the cost of a music subscription.

Finally, while the idea of a neat and tidy office might seem optimal, studies have shown clutter to be important for ideation. Allow for areas of organized chaos. We have nicely- cluttered bookshelves and a TV that doubles as a projector screen and a Mario Kart station. A quick lap around Moo Moo Meadows is (almost) better than an afternoon cup of coffee.  

Whether you’re drawn to reorganizing desks, planning events, bringing your dog to work, or playing Mario Kart, we hope one of our tips helps your office feel more like home – and maybe gets you more face-time with your teammates as a result.

Love our office lifestyle tips? If you’re tempted to immerse yourself fully in the Distilled culture, we have a number of open roles, particularly on our London team. Do you have some killer employee happiness tips to share from your current or previous company? We would love to hear about what gets you out of bed and into the office in the comments below.