5 new technology stories that will change the world!

Our Futurist Elena Corchero has her eyes firmly set on the future. She is always on the lookout for new technology that will impact the way we play, work, travel and experience life. Check her top 5 stories that stood out this month.

MIT invested $1 billion in AI!

MIT recently announced  that they’re investing a huge $1 billion into the future of AI. This means that they will cover the costs of anyone heading to the establishment to study AI. It also puts the US firmly in the lead in the race to develop and grow AI in the direction they want to take it. At the moment AI could go in any direction however MIT is focussing on keeping the human in mind and prioritising ethics to ensure this tech is taken in the right direction. This focus on AI is a step away from how it’s been explored so far which has mainly been for profitability.

studying at MIT

Gillette started 3D printing razors!

The US razor giant Gillette has started 3D printing custom razor handles that customers can personalise via their website. 3D printing has been around for a good few years now. With a global brand trialing it, it marks another step forward for the new technology. Earlier this year Chanel also started 3D printing brushes to be used as part of a new mascara set. It won’t be long before you’ll be able to print everything you’ll ever need from the comfort of your home. Meaning more time for Netflix and less time fighting the weekend shoppers! 

Walmart prepped for Black Friday with VR!

Walmart are one of the first big retail brands to heavily invest in VR training for their staff. The US retail giant has purchased 17,000 Oculus Gos to help navigate staff through difficult situations within a virtual environment. They created a special Black Friday training program to help staff prepare for the retailer’s busiest day of the year. The simulation dropped staff into a busy shop with customers running around with packed trolleys and baskets. As Walmart continue to invest and see the benefits of VR training many more brands will begin to adopt the new technology over the coming years. So don’t be surprised if you’re handed a headset next time you have a staff training session. 

shopping bags

The first AI scripted ad was created!

Yes you read that right, AI is now scripting ads, all of you who thought you were safe from being replaced by a machine because you have a creative job best watch out! ‘Driven By Intuition’ was written by an AI and shot by an Oscar-winning director, Kevin Macdonald, for the new Lexus ES. The AI, built with Visual Recognition support from IBM Watson, was ‘trained’ with 15 years’ worth of Cannes-Lions-winning car and luxury advertisements. The AI was primed with emotional intelligence data from Unruly to teach it which moments of those adverts connected most strongly with viewers. 

New technology: Lexus advert

China’s social credit system heads for Beijing!

Finally, have you ever seen that Black Mirror episode where the world is run on a system where you’re rewarded or punished based on your social behaviour? Well it’s now a reality in China. It was first piloted in eastern China and the government has decided to start the process of rolling it out in Beijing to help closely monitor the reputations of the cities 22 million inhabitants. The new technology uses AI and image recognition through CCTV to track citizens and monitor their behaviour. However there have been a few issues with the tech, including the AI thinking that photos of individuals on bus adverts were real people and serving them tickets…so if you’re a model make sure you check the small print on your next contract!

That’s it for now. Check back each month for more new technology stories! Interested in meeting Elena and taking a tour of our Home of the future? Find out more by clicking here.

Unruly Futurist Elena Corchero talks about her experience at DMEXCO earlier this month, the future of advertising, and how to avoid brand bypass.

This year a lot of the conversations we had were around the future of advertising and the rise of ambient tech. We also spoke about the growth of data produced by humans, and how it’s doubling every year.

Everyone knows that voice technology and voice shopping is on the rise. However, I was surprised about the number of brands who hadn’t considered the implications of brand bypass.

Brand bypass in AI

Companies are using voice assistants, and piggybacking on the tech of Alexa, Google or Messenger to create specialised assistants. A good example of this is Diageo’s “Open the bar”, or Estée Laude offering nutritional advice, where you have the dialogue with the brand, not Alexa. This is one way for brands to avoid the brand bypass.

It’s a big issue. I spoke to a lot of people about the new B2B: bot to bot. In the future new AI applications will take over interaction, negotiation and even advertising which will lead to the elimination of choice for consumers. Just think it through: the first brand you choose comes into your connected home, and there are going to be many barriers to switch that brand out for another.

Imagine your fridge has image recognition. It knows what brands you have on the shelves so when you run out of juice, the fridge and home AI reorder the same juice for delivery. So when are you going to switch brands? It’s going to take significant energy to get in the way of that bot to bot transition.

Brand bypass in voice

Another example is that we will order through voice but not mention a specific brand. This means our AI will default to our usual choice. Appliances are partnering with cleaning brands so they can already come pre-programmed to order specific chemicals such as detergent or dishwasher tablets.

Finish, smart dishwasher

It’s clear we need to understand how to use these technologies to create stronger brand and emotional connections, and also how these technologies can allow people to switch brands when they know something better is available.

Brand bypass in image recognition

Brand bypass is also an issue in image recognition. Google had an enormous stand at DMEXCO showing image recognition technology. I checked it out and it was a surprise to me to see how many brands had not considered the impact of this. Not least the value of the data which the image search platforms will generate. They will know exactly what people are searching for and buying to a highly accurate level. This sort of data can impact the manufacturing chain. Pinterest gets around 600,000 visual searches a month, so consumers are ahead of brands on this!

All the ambient technologies were on show at DMEXCO. For me, voice is where the action is. Primarily because the car will drive voice adoption. New cars are increasingly voice enabled, so when you leave the car and don’t have that assistance, you’re going to miss it!avoiding brand bypass in voice activated cars

Ambient tech awareness

Strangely, as I talked people through the implications of voice, AR and AI technologies, the most common question I was asked was “is this out now?”

Many people, senior brand marketers among them, didn’t realise how these ‘futuristic’ things were actually here now, even in a mature market like Germany. And where there was some awareness of ambient tech, there was very little first-hand experience.

It reaffirmed the role the Home plays in telling the story of ambient technology, which is essential if brands are going to build effective consumer relationships and deliver effective, relevant and timely advertising. The future of advertising is already here!

Unruly futurists Elena Corchero and Leo Bernard

Find out more about our connected home, and book in a tour with one of our Futurists.

The way retail exists today looks very different to how it did 10 years ago. With this in mind we decided it was time to rip up the rule book and explore new ways that retailers can engage with their customers, both in stores and online.

At our recent Trust Talks: Future of Retail event, we sat down and quizzed three experts from the retail space; Elena Corchero, Futurist at Unruly, Ricardo Varela, CEO and Founder of Localistico and Joshua McBain, Director of Consultancy at the Foresight Factory.

A recent report states that over the next 20 years, between 50% and 75% of transactions will be going globally through the Alibaba, Walmart and Amazon platforms. With this in mind, what opportunities are there for retailers to carve a niche as we see consumer behaviour is changing so greatly?

Joshua McBain (JM): The type of impact that these changes will have on different brands depends on their customer groups, and the type of loyalty that they invoke with their customers. The key thing to understand for brands in this space is what the impact is going to be on your brand vs other brands based on your type of loyalty, positioning, and what you sell.

Ricardo Varela (RV): If you look at Amazon, they have recently done a lot of work with the Whole Foods brand by bringing it into the digital space. Going forwards, brands are going to have to decide the best way to reach their consumers, whether that be through digital channels, through physical stores, or through a combined outreach.

Elena Corchero (EC): Looking to the future, I wonder whether Brexit will change the availability of people that work within the delivery space. I also think that driver-less cars will bring about a real change in terms of shipping costs for retailers.

Thinking about Amazon, Alibaba and Walmart, a huge part of their future growth will revolve around voice. How can you see voice helping other retailers, and what opportunities does it present to them that we aren’t currently thinking about?

EC: I believe the car is going to be the biggest driver of voice command over the coming years. Using voice commands to carry out actions whilst you are driving is a necessity compared to when you are at home, where you have the choice to use voice or type in the command to your phone.

The main way voice will impact retailers through car is via impulse purchases. If we think about KitKat, previously they relied on consumers who were away from the home seeing or hearing an advert, remembering it, and then going out of their way to find somewhere that sold it. Whereas now you can take instant action by saying add to basket whilst you are driving, and by the time you get home the KitKat might be there.  

JM: What I think is interesting is the innovations that Microsoft are leading on, which is allowing brands to tailor their tone of voice depending on what service it’s coming from. For example talking to your BMW should sound different than if you were to talk to your Amazon Echo. Consumer’s don’t expect every service to sound the same and many brands are now becoming aware of that, and are starting to act upon it.

If you are a global retailer, how are you able to consider new trends and technologies to engage with your customers at a local level?

RV: Working at a local level is extremely important within the retail sector. Looking at Morrisons as an example, they have created creches in their stores that are located in areas where a lot of families live. Apple also state that each of their stores are unique, and what is in each store is different depending on where it is based.

It’s also important to use the technologies we have to communicate with customers by letting them know what services are available to them. A lot of the time brands will offer additional services like an in store creche, but people will not know about it because the brand has not done a great job of communicating it to their local audience.

“Where marketing starts and e-commerce ends is becoming increasingly blurred”

Is there a way that advertising can add real value, and become part of the end to end consumer experience within the media space?

EC: At Unruly we are studying this within the Home. Over the past year we have learnt that one of the advantages of advertising through the IoT, through voice, and through immersive technologies like VR in the home is that it all becomes part of this ambient era of advertising. Going forward this will hopefully help consumers to see advertisements as adding value to their lives rather than seeing them as interruptions.

JM: Where marketing starts and e-commerce ends is becoming increasingly blurred and I believe that we will see this continue as big social channels like Snapchat and Instagram become more and more shoppable. Social channels will become a great way for brands to work on a much more personal level with their customers, and will give them the ability to personalise their products and prices depending on the customer they are targeting.

We are looking to a world where most services will become automated. My fridge will be able to scan my items and automatically replace them so that I never run out of anything. With this in mind, does that mean that retailers are in danger of becoming more like logistics companies?

EC: I think it’s an advantage as having all that data and machine learning will allow companies to know exactly how much stock they need to hold in different areas.

What is also exciting is the way that AI will work within these situations. For example with the fridge, it could recommend different recipes that it thinks you would like depending on the foods that you enjoy eating on a regular basis. In order to complete the recipes you may be required to order in new ingredients which then opens the door up to new food brands.  

This Q&A was held at Unruly’s Future of Retail event in London. To see any of the insightful presentations available from the event, click on any of the below links to check them out:

“Convenience vs. Experiential : The retail trend landscape in 2018”, Joshua McBain, Director of Consultancy, Foresight Factory

How to empower brands in the home of the future”, Elena Corchero, Futurist, Unruly

“How startups can predict the future of retail”, Justin Cross, Head of Blink UK, MediaCom, Ricardo Varela, Founder, Localistico, Stepan Lavrouk, Customer Engagement Manager, Gyana AI

The Unruly Home team recently invited MediaMonks and Nexus Studios to join the Unruly Home Show to talk about their latest work in the exciting field of AR.

Nexus shared a live demo of the Civilisations AR app from the BBC, which allows you to interact with ancient artefacts through AR, and transforms your living room into a virtual museum. MediaMonks also showed off their latest AR experience created for Perrier, which uses a Perrier bottle to trigger an immersive experience controlled through your phone.

Check out the video to see both experiences in action!

The Unruly Home Show is broadcast on Facebook Live. Join the Unruly Facebook page for news and updates for upcoming shows. 

Home, an audacious house built smack in the centre of Unruly HQ, was designed to give marketers a glimpse at what life in 2020 might be like for consumers.

The space showcases actual and conceptual IoT and connected home tech from News Corp, tech brands and the hottest start-ups on the planet to show how marketers can use the connected home to engage consumers.

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