Monthly trends report: July

 

Looking back ten years, the technological landscape was drastically different to what we have today; smartphones still mostly had aerials and the most exciting feature of our phones was if they flipped or swivelled to open… not to mention the fierce competition about who had the best polyphonic ringtone. Fast-forward to 2018, and we’re seeing a plethora of Minority-report style innovations across all technologies and all consumer touchpoints coming to the forefront to make our lives more simple and more seamless – a world away from the technological landscape of 2008.

This month’s trends hint towards a future technological utopia, where transactions are invisible, avatars are virtual, and human/robot interactions are psychic… and maybe even a world where our politicians are made of metal! Here are my top picks for the month:

 

TG3D Studio create changing room body scanner

What is it?

TG3D studio have launch the Scanatic 360 Body Scanner – a changing room-sized infrared body scanner. Users download the Cloudzet app and sign in via Facebook. Users than stand up tall with their feet apart and hands out wide, gripping handles to ensure they are in the right place for the scan. Infrared lasers then collect body measurements and store it on the user’s smartphone. The user gets to see their neck, shoulder, chest, bicep, torso, arm, waist, thigh, hip and inner-leg measurements. The app then uses data from a variety of retailers to tell you what sizes you should look for in the store.

What can we learn from this?

Following in the footsteps of Burberry and Rebecca Minkoff, changing room technology is becoming more intelligent and more supportive in helping users find the right clothes and products to suit their needs.

Source: Engadget

 

Beijing develop a facial recognition subway

What is it?

Beijing are working on a new bio-recognition technology across their subways. The technology will use a combination of palm touch and facial recognition to offer a long-term solution to ease congestion and help reduce fare evasion. Once installed, the bio-ID tracking cameras will be able to identify individuals entering the city’s subway stations, and palm-scanning devices will allow riders to use their hands in lieu of a traditional ticket.

What can we learn from this?

Whilst this is an extreme example, technology is changing public transport for good. No longer will consumers tolerate lengthy, and disjointed purchasing processes; desires will shift and tolerance of traditional purchasing methods (such as paper tickets) will decrease. Brands must adapt to stay relevant and stay in the hearts of consumers.

Source: CNBC

 

Amazon launch Alexa Westworld game

What is it?

HBO have produced the first full-scale Alexa voice skill with Westworld: The Maze, an immersive voice experience that challenges fans to demonstrate their knowledge of the sci-fi western through a choose your own adventure game. Users play against an unnamed Westworld host throughout three levels with more than 60 storylines and 400 unique game choices, with the aim of making it to the centre of the maze.

What can we learn from this?

New and innovative content types are emerging. Voice may be the next big channel to allow brands to create unique and immersive consumer experiences.

Source: The Drum

 

MIT use the brain to control robots

What is it?

Researchers from MIT have developed a way to control robots more intuitively using hand gestures and brain waves. The user is connected to a device which measures ERPs (Error Related Potentials) which activate in the brain when a user notices a mistake. The user watches a robot perform an activity, and if the user notices a mistake the robot will immediately halt so the user can correct the robot’s mistake.

What can we learn from this?

Researchers are creating new technology which responds to humans, rather than humans having to adapt and learn how to use technology. Does this point to a future where humans and robots work hand in hand as one team? Only time will tell. 

Source: MIT

 

IBM Watson is now ready to argue

What is it?

Project Debater is Watson’s latest update which uses artificial intelligence to hold debates against humans. IBM staged two debates about a series of topics which Project Debater was not aware of ahead of the event. Watson competed against Israel’s National Debate Champion, Noa Ovadia; after listening to her four-minute opening speech, Watson parsed the data and created an argument which highlighted the opposing points within Noa’s opening speech.

What can we learn from this?

Artificial intelligence is rapidly advancing and has the potential to be used across many industries for accurate and fair decision making. During the last US election there was a campaign to elect IBM Watson as US president – a reality we’re now much closer to than ever before.

Source: The Guardian

 
Katherine Calderbank