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11 consumer trends for 2015

Trevor No Comments

As a result, JWT Intelligence predicts that “Connected Kids” will be a major trend next year. Already 75% of American children under the age of 8 have access to a smartphone or tablet. “Kids,” the report says, “are more connected digitally than ever, and new toys and services are rising to satisfy their hunger for technology.”

Surprisingly (or maybe not if you have or know younger kids), “children under 10 are more technically advanced even than their teenage siblings. Their familiarity with technology, and their expectations of it, go far beyond that of previous generations.” foxbusiness

 

ONE: Hello Community!

Say goodbye to suburbs as millennials reach adulthood and are in no rush to get married or have kids.  As malls become boring and cities are growing at an enormous speed and size, people will start looking for a distinctive urban environment with a strong sense of place.

“Melbourne and Vancouver are just a few of the cities that have bolstered their identities in recent years, drawing millions of tourists and fostering a sense of community.“

 

Wanting-Qu-Vancouver_5

 

TWO: Simplify Product Names

With so many products in the digital marketplace, the time for ethereal name concepts are being lost in all the white noise. Google has simplified their products by naming them simply: Google Play, Google Wallet, Google Glass,  and Google Drive. Apple has also gone in the same direction by dropping their iconic ‘I’, and rendering simpler product descriptors such as Apple Watch, Apple TV and Apple Pay.

 

THREE: Millennials

With all the talk about how Millennials are a completely different group compared to the former generations , it is no surprise that they are also driving the marketplace. Millennials care about individuality, so it is not surprise that they seek out products that are local, quality, artisanal goods.

Packaging of the future will look towards design that hails from the pre-digital era.

 

infographic oliver russel

 

FOUR: Rise of the B2B

The B2C market has increased due to social media and it is until now that Business are using the same approach with other businesses. As LinkedI’s user subscription grows and other professional networking apps come into play, it will be a year to monitor how social media will further transform the workplace. Facebook is launching in early 2015 their business platform, Facebook at work; and other networks such as ButN, focus solely on connecting professionals. Salesforce’s Chatter is another tools that has been used.

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See Also: Facebook at work

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FIVE: Streamlining CSR’s

As CSR’s mature, it has now become the norm. Aside from CSR initiaves, companies are expected to be have a human side and show compassion. This gives rise to sympathetic pricing, “Flexible and imaginative discounts that help ease lifestyle pain points, lend a helping hand in difficult times, or support a shared value.”

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See Also: Sympathetic Pricing

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SIX: Personalized marketing

Amazon paved the road to personalized marketing when they implemented smart cross selling when they suggested products that I would like based on the products that were browsed. As this feature is now a default, mass distribution is no longer an option since consumers demand personalized experiences and products.

Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a coke’ campaign addressed personalization by printing bottles with popular names (250 names in English and 122 names in Spanish)

 

share a coke campaign global

Authentic Beauty

As consumers search for ‘real beauty’ they no longer find it in Photoshoped images. Dove’s 2004 Beauty Evolution campaign started the revolution for body acceptance, and 10 years later it has snowballed into the search for authenticity and acceptance.

Joining the band of companies who have ditched photoshop and size-zero models, lingerie brand Aerie launched “The Real You Is Sexy” campaign. Hence, in the coming year, more products, campaigns and social media discussions will surface on acceptance, health and dissent against a manufactured ideal.

Need a reminder of Dove Evolution Campaign? Watch the following video: 

 

Experiential marketing

Brand loyalty is no longer about product benefits; any product that has no benefit will not succeed. Consumers place value in the unique and meaningful experience with the brand, at every point in the process. Integrating mobile, online and in-store experience will become the norm for brands seeking loyalty.

 

Mobile Finances

Google Wallet and Apple Pay have replaced paper money and credit/debit cards. As part of the simplification process, physical wallets will no longer be needed as the mobile phone replaces all the components inside. It will be expected that new and innovative mobile payment apps take the reins this year.

Etsy allows you to take your online shop anywhere with their ‘Sell on Etsy App and Reader’ that allows you to process credit cards on mobile devices.

etsy pos

 

Humanizing Brands

Brand corporate communications strategies are expected to become more human. Brands will start talking more like people in a plain, straightforward, honest tone. So this year we should expect to hear brands with a more approachable, hey-I’m-your-bud, voice.

 

Sources: marketing interactive, rocketnews24, etsy 

sympathetic pricing

Sympathetic Pricing

Trevor 2 comments

Life has its challenges, and people yearn for a brand that understands that. As companies try to convince consumers that they DO care through their CSR initiatives, they are now expected to show their human side in their pricing as well. With so many initiatives out there, it’s hard to identify brand messages as it has reached saturation. Not only are consumers numb, but a quick search would prompt not only a company’s CSR initiative but also their immediate eco-socio-economic impact.

As online stores phase out Big Box Stores, consumers expect flexible, personalized and transparent pricing; and not only are these stores dying, so are malls. White Flint Mall in Montgomery Country, Maryland is on its last leg despite being in an ideal location.

Amy Ginsburg, the executive director of Friends of White Flint, a nonprofit looking to transform the mall and its surroundings, suggested that the gradual decline of malls speaks to a desire to reclaim an older way of life. The era before malls “was this lovely, Norman Rockwell-like situation,” she said, “and I think people miss that.”

Definition

SYMPATHETIC PRICING | Flexible and imaginative discounts that help ease lifestyle pain points, lend a helping hand in difficult times, or support a shared value. (Definition from trendwatching)

infographic trendwatching

Innovative Companies

From Trendwatching 

 

Brahma #Movimento11

Discounts help Brazilian football fans watch the start of the World Cup

In May 2014, Brazil-based beer brand Brahma (known as ‘Brahva’ in Guatemala) launched a campaign intended to address the inconvenient clash of two events due on the 12th June 2014: Valentine’s Day (known locally as Dia dos Namorados) and the first day of the FIFA World Cup. The beer brand encouraged Brazilians to celebrate Valentine’s Day one day earlier to avoid the ‘clash’ between these two important dates by using #Movimiento11 campaign. As part of their campaign, participating local businesses offered a discount to those people that celebrated Valentines Day on June 11th instead of June 12th.

 

The Wolf & I

Free drinks for patrons with parking tickets in Melbourne

Every Thursday, on Local’s Night, Melbourne-based restaurant The Wolf & I will give a free drink to anyone who received a local parking fine on the day.

 

BGH

Discounts on air conditioning for hot apartments in Argentina

In December 2013, home electronics brand BGH launched the ‘My Home is an Oven’ summer campaign in Argentina, offering discounts on air conditioning systems to people with hot apartments. Consumers could use a website to track their apartment’s exposure to the sun, with the sunniest apartments scoring the biggest discounts. The campaign ran until March 2014, and agency Saatchi & Saatchi say it led to USD 14 million in sales.

 

Otasuke

Japanese pub offers discounts to balding customers

Opened in Japan during April 2014, Otasuke (“Helping Hands”)  is a pub offering discounts to balding customers. A sign posted outside the establishment explains its support for “hard-working fathers losing their hair” due to job stress. Each bald customer gets JPY 500 (around USD 5) off their bill, with a secret perk saved for balding groups of six.

 

Community Shop

Discounted products for less affluent British consumers

Opened in December 2013, Community Shop is a British supermarket that sells discounted branded products to families receiving government welfare. The project is supported by high street chains and brands such as Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Asda and Tetley, who provide stock for the store from surplus products that don’t meet their standards. Typically this stock would end up in landfill or be turned into animal food.

 

Pressfolios

Service goes free for laid off New Jersey journalists

In April 2014, online platform Pressfolios announced it would make its service available for free to journalists affected by a staff lay-off by New Jersey’s largest newspaper, the Star-Ledger. Pressfolios allows users to create an online portfolio. The out-of-work journalists received a Pressfolios Pro account with unlimited storage for three months, at no cost.

 

Lowe’s Canada

Free trees for consumers hit by destructive storm

In response to a winter storm that destroyed much of Toronto’s tree canopy, home improvement chain Lowe’s Canada gave away 1,000 red maple trees in the city one Saturday in April 2014. The trees, valued at CAD 30 each, were available for free from the parking lots of two of the store’s Toronto locations, and were given away on a first come, first served basis while stocks lasted.

 

Tienda Amiga

Shops in Madrid give discounts to the unemployed

Launched in Spain in September 2013, Tienda Amiga (Friendly Shop) is an initiative in which small businesses offer discounts to unemployed customers in their neighborhood. Created by theAsamblea Popular de Hortaleza, a community group in Madrid, the project aims to create a more ethical local economy. By January 2014 more than 150 local shops had signed up, offering discounts of between 5% and 20% to those without work.

 

Groupon

Discounted onions in response to high onion prices in India

In India during September 2013, Groupon unveiled a promotion in response to rising onion prices in the country. Via the daily deals website, shoppers could purchase 1 kilogram of onions for INR 9 (USD 0.15) – approximately one-eighth of the prevailing cost, including home delivery.

 

Corendon

Dutch airline offers cheaper flights to Russia for gay rights activists

In January 2014, Dutch airline Corendon unveiled a promotion coinciding with the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Any passengers traveling to Sochi to demonstrate for gay rights during the Games could obtain a 50% discount on airfares. The fares were available over a one month period, priced from EUR 399 -799.

 

RATP

Free public transport in Paris to combat poor air quality

As an incentive for motorists to leave their cars at home, allParisian public transport was free for one weekend in March 2014. The decision was made by transport chiefs in response to the dangerously high levels of pollution which had engulfed the French capital for days.

 

AnchorFree

App to route around internet blocks goes free in Venezuela

February 2014 saw AnchorFree make Hotspot Shield – its online privacy app – free to download in Venezuela. The US-based software brand’s app allows users to bypass government internet blocks. The move came in response to increasing government censorship of the internet in the South American country, spurred by rising civil unrest.

 

 

Sources: Trendwatching, Huffington Post

 

google wallet cnn

Top 10 Trends to Watch for in 2015

Trevor No Comments

More Payment Flexibility

As new methods of payment arise, the same kind of flexibility is expected of their traditional counterparts. Going out with your friends but want to pay with your mobile? It’s a simple task with cash, but it seems mobile payment is still lagging a bit.

“A recent study found that 45% of Millennials in the US & UK would like to use their mobiles to split bills with friends (JWT, October 2014).”

 

 

Smart Objects

Also known as ‘the internet of things’, it refers to the integration of objects with the internet.  Postscapes offers some examples:

CHECK ON THE BABY

Aimed at helping to prevent SIDS, the Mimo monitor is a new kind of infant monitor that provides parents with real-time information about their baby’s breathing, skin temperature, body position, and activity level on their smartphones.

MAKE SURE THE OVEN IS OFF

Smart outlets like the WeMo allow you to instantly turn on and off any plugged in device from across the world or just your living room. Save money and conserve energy over time by eliminating standby power, measure and record the power usage of any device, and increase its operating lifespan through more efficient use and scheduling.

LIGHT STREETS MORE EFFECTIVELY

This smart lighting system from Echelon allows a city to intelligently provide the right level of lighting needed by time of day, season, and weather conditions. Cities have shown a reduction in street lighting energy use by up to 30% using solutions like this.

STOP GUESSING

Retailers can run real-world A/B tests using networked cameras and sensors like those in the Shopperception system to detect how customers are engaging with specific products and the store’s layout.

HELP PROTECT WILDLIFE

A project by Ground Labs and Lion Guardians is creating an open source wildlife tracking collar system to safeguard the Maasai herders cattle and protect the last 2000 lions living Southern Kenya. The system consists of a tracking collar that utilizes a GPS/GSM module to locate and track the lions and communicate their coordinates to researchers and Maasai herders via SMS.”

STOP THE BLEEDING

Invisible Tracck is a wireless device being used in pilot programs to help combat illegal deforestation taking place in the Amazon. The battery operated devices are installed on select trees and as soon as the logged trees are in transit and able to connect to a mobile network (Up to a 20 mile range), an alert notification with location coordinates is sent to the Brazilian Institute of Environment so they can take action.

 

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See Also: WHAT IS THE INTERNET OF THINGS?

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Brands beyond CSR initiatives

Although CSR initiatives will remain important this year, consumers will start expecting a different approach to CSRs.

Salesforce, a cloud computing company, brings in 135,000 guests each year to their San Francisco summit Dreamforce. This instant flood of people causes quite a bit of jamming.

“…Marc Benioff, is doing more than any other American chief executive to rethink the obligations companies have toward the cities where they operate. In the past few years, Benioff and his wife Lynne have helped build a state-of-the-art children’s hospital in San Francisco, funded a variety of initiatives to help the hungry and homeless, and, via his company’s Salesforce Foundation, parceled out $73 million in grants to nonprofits. At the same time he’s done something even more audacious: publicly urged other tech leaders to do their part. “Now is the time to give a strong message to entrepreneurs that this is a city and an industry that expects you to give back,” he says.Our industry by nature is disruptive—that’s what technology is—but we are being disruptive to the city also”

Benioff began weaving this philosophy into Salesforce’s culture when he founded the company in 1999. He called it the 1-1-1 model of corporate philanthropy, in which the company would send 1 percent of its stock, products, and employees’ working time to the company foundation. Full story  Businessweek.

More examples from trendwatching:

In response to the Ebola virus spread across West Africa in August 2014, mobile app Easy Taxi partnered with Dettol to offer Nigerian cab drivers lessons on how to diagnose and prevent the disease, with drivers encouraged to pass their knowledge onto passengers.

In May 2014, Volvo partnered with the Swedish Transport Authority on the EletriCity project to create roads that can charge electric vehicles. Features will include inductive charging that can wirelessly transmit power to the city of Gothenburg’s electric bus fleet.

October 2014 saw traffic data platform Waze announce Connected Citizens: a partnership program exchanging data with governments across the world with the aim of improving urban traffic conditions. The program launch partners included cities such as Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona and Tel Aviv.

 

waze

 

Demographics at a different scale

Consumption patterns are no longer defined by ‘traditional’ demographic segments such as age, gender, location, income, family status. We now need to look at their consumption habits. For example, How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did is a fantastic example of how companies identify their consumers through purchasing habits.

…a hypothetical example. Take a fictional Target shopper named Jenny Ward, who is 23, lives in Atlanta and in March bought cocoa-butter lotion, a purse large enough to double as a diaper bag, zinc and magnesium supplements and a bright blue rug. There’s, say, an 87 percent chance that she’s pregnant and that her delivery date is sometime in late August. Read the full article in Forbes

 

Sympathetic pricing

Prices based on sympathy which is targeted to the ‘individual’ as opposed to the ‘general public’.

In September 2014, Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post removed its paywall to give readers free access to the paper’s Occupy Central articles.

Launched in May 2014, PareUp allows New York-based restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores to offer soon-to-be-wasted food at a discounted price. Participating merchants can send alerts to users detailing what is available, and the discounted price.

During the FIFA World Cup in July 2014, Brazilian publisher Lote 42 offered customers a 10% discount for every goal scored against the national team during the soccer championship. After Brazil lost 7-1 to Germany, customers were offered a 70% discount for 24 hours, catapulting the brand to national attention.

 

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See Also: Sympathetic Pricing 

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Robots

From drones to service, automated robotics is a thing of the now.

Google has been testing an automated taxi service that works with an app. As it approaches a turn, it slows down in order to turn carefully. This may just put taxi drivers out of business.

In July 2014, Düsseldorf Airport unveiled the world’s first robotic parking valet. Customers leave their car, and a robot picks it up and positions the vehicle in one of 249 dedicated spaces. The system connects to the airport’s flight database, meaning that customers find their vehicle ready and waiting for them upon their return.

November 2014 saw US hardware retailer Lowe’s trialling OSHbot robot sales assistants in a California store. The robots have a 3D scanner to identify items bought in by customers and check if replacement parts are in stock. They are also programmed to speak English and Spanish, with further language options planned.

In Japan, Nestlé are trialling a robotic customer service assistant named Pepper to help guide people through the Dolce Gusto and Gold Blend coffee brand product ranges. Trials start in December 2014, with plans to roll the robots out to 1,000 stores by the end of 2015.

 

Brands should take a Stand

73% of Millennials believe that businesses should share a point of view about issues;

73% also think businesses should influence others to get involved in an issue.

(MSLGroup, February 2014)

As people emphasize the individual, it is no surprise that they expect companies and CEO’s to do the same.

 

No experience required

Instagram’s success is due to its ease in producing high-quality images effortlessly. After snapping a delightful photo, a filter is chosen that best fits the user’s tastes; a professional output, accessible through most smartphones, without the need for experience in professional photography or Photoshop.

 

instagram poster

 

Age of the individual

As millennials are growing up, they are no longer embracing products for the masses, but rather, individualistic approaches. It is no surprise that ‘cookie-cutter’ uniforms fashion like Abercrombie & Fitch suffered a 1/3 drop in sales this year, while individual-oriented ‘Forever 21’ are thriving.

 

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See Also: Why it’s time to rethink your marketing strategy (case of A&F)

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Prosumers

Not the semi-professional tech products (a hybrid between professional and consumer products), but the highly knowledgeable consumer. Thanks to immediate access to tech specs, reviews and how-to videos, less-than-accurate-advertising will get you nowhere (and blacklisted in every review site possible).

 

Sources: trendwatching, forbes, Pew social trends.

 

 

internet of things photonstartlighting

The internet of things explained

Trevor one comments

The concept is hard to define precisely as it is still a relatively new idea. In short, it is the attributing the ability for objects to be connected to the internet and identifying themselves to other objects. For example, if you had a smart refrigerator it would notify you that you were running out of milk before you actually ran out of milk; or how the cream is about to expire and needs to be consumed soon.

Having our lives connected to the internet (smart homes, offices, streets and cities) seems like a vision, but it is being built today in very small steps. As we become more connected through these objects, there are information challenges, such as:

1. Privacy

“The concern is that products are hackable as soon as they connect to the Internet and are accessible by the world,” Shapiro said. (Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association)

 

2. Data ownership

As data reveals consumer habits, there will undoubtedly be a battle over who can gain access to this information.

General Motors is collecting massive amounts of data through its OnStar subsidiary, a subscription-based communication service that provides drivers with in-car security, calling, navigation and remote diagnostics capabilities.

“They can show you every GM OnStar customer who has had an accident on a day on a map, and show you ‘here’s where the airbag deployed,’” Shapiro explained.

 

To address these challenges (and others)  an Internet of Things Council has already been formed and part of its mission is to:

 “Whoever ensures traceability, sustainability and security linking up the gateways is de facto and de jure the new power.

We want that power to be as inclusive, open and transparent as possible.

We believe the “winning solution” to making the most open, inclusive and innovative Internet of Things is to transcend the short-term opposition between social innovation and security by finding a way to combine these two necessities in a broader common perspective.  “

 

infographic photonstarlighting

 

 IoT examples:

REMEMBER TO TAKE YOUR MEDS

GlowCaps fit prescription bottles and via a wireless chip provide services that help people stick with their prescription regimen; from reminder messages, all the way to refill and doctor coordination

 

GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR MEDICATION

The Proteus ingestible pill sensor is powered by contact with your stomach fluid and communicates a signal that determines the timing of when you took your meds and the identity of the pill. This information is transferred to a patch worn on the skin to be logged for you and your doctor’s reference. Heart rate, body position and activity can also be detected.

 

HEAT YOUR HOME EFFICIENTLY

Smart thermostats like the Nest use sensors, real-time weather forecasts, and the actual activity in your home during the day to reduce your monthly energy usage by up to 30%, keeping you more comfortable, and offering to save you money on your utility bills.

 

AVOID DISASTERS

Using a device like the Ninja Block and its range of add-on sensors you can track if a water pipe has burst in your basement, if there is motion inside your home while you are away, and have it automatically send you a notification by email or text message when it happens.

 

KEEP STREETS CLEAN

Products like the cellular communication enabled Smart Belly trash use real-time data collection and alerts to let municipal services know when a bin needs to be emptied. This information can drastically reduce the number of pick-ups required, and translates into fuel and financial savings for communities service departments.

 

RECEIVE POLLUTION WARNINGS

The DontFlushMe project by Leif Percifield is an example that combines sensors installed in Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) with alerts to local residents so they can avoid polluting local waterways with raw sewage by not flushing their toilets during overflow events.

 

MAINTAIN & REPAIR

Sensors installed inside equipment will monitor if any parts have exceeded their designed thresholds, and will automatically send reports to owners and manufacturers if they have. Early predictions on equipment malfunctions can be made with parts and service maintenance can be automatically scheduled ahead of a an actual part failure.

 

MAINTAIN QUALITY & CONSISTENCY

Using networked sensors, cameras, and lasers to analyze manufacturing processes like those from SightMachine you can determine if a part is good or bad based on its physical characteristics; identify if it is the right component for the job and monitor trends, variations, and relationships in the system over time.

 

KEEP TRACK OF YOUR ASSETS

The OnFarm solution combines real-time sensor data from soil moisture levels, weather forecasts, and pesticide usage from farming sites into a consolidated web dashboard. Farmers can use this data with advanced imaging and mapping information to spot crop issues and remotely monitor all of the farms assets and resource usage levels.

 

TRACK WATER

The University of Berkeley’s Floating Sensor Network project uses motorized drifters (Outfitted with cell communication, GPS, temperature, and salinity sensors) that can be quickly deployed in response to unanticipated events such as floods to track the movement of water, contaminants, and other conditions in waterways.

 

GET AN ADVANCED WARNING

The University of Loughborough’s Acoustic Landslide Detector system called ALARMS (Assessment of Landslides using Acoustic Real-time Monitoring Systems), detects high-frequency stress waves produced by soil movement. They can be used to calculate soil movement in real time and send out alerts to communities before an event occurs.

 

“In the next century, planet earth will don an electronic skin.

It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations.” – Neil Gross 1999

 

Sources: Postscapes, Forbes, Techopedia, photon star lighting 

 

shark go pro

Goodbye, 2014!

Trevor No Comments

Most searched events of 2014, provided by Google Trends.

 

World cup, games with the highest search spike.

– Brazil vs. Germany

– Netherlands vs. Argentina

– Brazil vs Croatia

james rodriguez

Top trending players

– James Rodriguez

– Luis Suárez

– Ángel Di María

– Tim Howard

– Toni Kroos

 

During the Chile-Brazil game, Chileans used the phrase ‘más nervioso que…’ (more nervous than…) 4x before Chile’s defeat.

 

curling

Most popular games during the Sochi Games

– Ice hockey

– Curling

– Figure skating

 

During the games, ‘ice hockey’ was more searched than ‘vanilla ice’, ‘ice cube’, ‘iced tea’ and ‘Iceland’ combined.

 

Champions trend | ‘Real madrid’ was searched 5x more than the Superbowl winners, the Seahawks.

 

Most searched Games

– ‘IPL’ (Indian premiere league)

– ‘Superbowl’

-‘Champions league’

 

Breaking News

– Ebola:  Searches for ebola were 75x higher in October compared to March

– The disappearance of Malaysia Airline MH370 also caused a stir in searches.

ebola

The five most asked questions about Ebola

– What is Ebola?

– How does Ebola spread?

– How do you get Ebola?

– Where did Ebola come from?

– What are the symptoms of Ebola?

 

 What, How, Where’s

– How to kiss was searched more than how to survive.

– ‘Where am I’ is the world’s most asked questions.

 

Selfies, the rise of the ‘boys selfie tips’

– ‘boys selfie tips’ and ‘mens selfie tips’ was a popular search compared to hardly no searches for ‘girls selfie tips’.

 

nintendo

 

Retro games

– games from the 90’s make a comeback with a 20x spike in ’90s computer games’

 

‘game for girls’ was searched for more than ‘games for kids’ or ‘games for boys’.

 

Mobile life

– ‘ add reminder’ in January 2014 trended as a new phone functionality

– ‘wearable technology’ saw 3x rise

– drones was another popular search topic

– Along with wearable tech, Go Pro videos are also a popular search topic (‘Shark’ take the lead)

shark go pro

 

 Crowdfunding

– For 2014, there was 21x  more interest in crowdfunding compared to 2013

 

Top crowdfunding projects

– Oculus rift  (virtual reality headset)

– Star citizen (space trading and combat simulator)

– Hoverboard (Inspired by Back to the Future- a real one was created using magnets)

 

oculus rift

Top crowdfunding sites

– Kickstarter

– Indiegogo

– Crowdfunder

 

Top searched ideas (for all of you looking for an invention)

– Time machine

– Jetpack

– Replicator

– Flying car

– Teleporter

 

potato salad

Potato salad on kickstarter’ gets $55,000

Zack Brown’s request for $10 to help make a potato salad became the year’s largest search trend around crowdfunding. What’s more, it was the only trending search to feature the phrase ‘potato salad.’

“While our little internet joke will one day be forgotten, the impact will be felt forever.”

After unintentionally setting off a storm, Brown used the $55,000 raised to help reduce homelessness in his local area. He also founded PotatoStock, a free concert held in Columbus, Ohio.

 

robin williams

People

– Robin Williams had the greatest increase in search than any person in 2014

– Maya Angelou and  Joan Rivers also spiked.

 

goji berries

Food

– 2013 was about kale and quinoa, while 2014 was about chia seeds and goji berries.

 

Political

– Through the Middle East and Easter Europe turmoil this year, the ‘history of gaza’ and ‘history of crimea’ saw a 14x spike in searches.

 

 

The complete search Trends in Google.

 

uber

Uber Lawsuit over Gratuities

Trevor 4 comments

Uber has come under scrutiny as Uber drivers file a class action lawsuit.

“Uber drivers have filed a class action lawsuit claiming they have been misclassified as independent contractors and are entitled to be reimbursed for their expenses that Uber should have to pay, like for gas and vehicle maintenance. The lawsuit also challenges Uber’s practice of telling passengers that the gratuity is included and not to tip the drivers, even though you are not getting a tip.” From uberlawsuit.com

Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, must disclose some of the emails to the plaintiff lawyers in judge ruling. These emails would serve as evidence to their tipping practices or misleading information.

Uber’s business practices have come under scrutiny, with some customers alleging privacy violations. (Reuters).

 

Not sure what Uber is? Check out our related article ‘Why everyone is talking about Uber

 

butn meeting the world

ButN The new standard for Business Networking?

Trevor 3 comments

Where Linkedin meets Facebook and has an affair with Tindr. ButN is a business, social and location based app that allows you to maximize your business trips.

Their primary premise is ‘don’t waste time in the hotel; this is the perfect time to be networking with likeminded individuals’. With ButN you can create, schedule and attend events created by yourself or others in the app.

Planning a trip to a summit? With ButN you’ll be shown an array of users by job professions and their distance from your location. So once you arrive to the summit, you’ll easily identify the people that hold a business interest to you. All you would have to do is contact them through the app and set a meeting up! However, like Tindr, both parties need to consent to the meeting before contact information is shared. If you are not interested in a contact, you can easily ignore or block them in the future. Also, depending on your settings; you can alert your contacts when you’re close to their location so you can set up a meeting.

An interesting feature is that you can write private notes on every contact. Is there something that you should never mention with this contact because it generally turns a meeting sour, or do you have a hard time keeping track of all your contact’s family members? This is the perfect space for all those thoughts and quirks you’ve learned from your contact. Have horrendous memory? No problem, jot this thoughts down so you can do a quick review right before the meet-up.

Although this is a new service that is still trying to gather memberships; it will be interesting to see whether or not it’ll catch on; or whether or not it’s just a matter of ‘how long’ until it becomes functional.

 

Sources: ButN

hand pushing like button

Facebook @ Work Service For January 2015

Trevor 4 comments

Banning Facebook from the office environment might be a thing of the past as FB prepares to launch a platform geared towards businesses.

As Facebook reaches saturation in the social networking arena, it aims to address the increasing business market. Linkedin alone has 332 million users (28% more than 2013); and in 2013, they had 259 million users (up 38% from 2012). This is a huge chunk of market to ignore. More importantly, 40% of the current users log in on a daily basis; that’s 133 million users logging in on any given day.

With Facebook at work, you’ll have your profile, newsfeed and colleagues as contacts. You will also be able to collaborate through productivity apps such as Google Drive; however, business profiles will not mix with personal profiles.  As noted by The Independent, Facebook At Work “could lead to distracted employees and breaches of confidentiality.”

As businesses become more social, productivity platforms have had to adapt to it. Although Facebook believes that this is a market opportunity, there are already some heavy competitors such as Salesforce. Not only does Salesforce have a fully integrated CRM, they’ve implemented a Chatter add-on years ago, which allows in-house communications and collaborations.

Robin Chater, founder of ButN, a new business network notes that “It will be interesting to see the heavyweights in the social networking market fighting it out for business users,” he said. “Facebook can see how quickly LinkedIn is growing – in spite of its many critics – and think it can do better.”

Facebook is currently on beta testing and is expected to launch in January 2015. It is expected that the initial accounts be free and ad-free, as well. It will definitely be interesting to see how a social platform attempts to battle on the business field.

Sources: Forbes, Expanded Ramblings 

motivate smart 2

On Demand Economy

Trevor 2 comments

Everything is ‘on-demand’ these days. Somehow everything became available and scalable through the internet. There is no longer any need to invest heavily on capital, as things are focused now on the service side of the business. You essentially pay as you go, which allows everyone to have access to absolutely anything and everything. Publish your own book without the need to order thousands of copies, keep an endless stock of hundreds of different graphic T’s without having a warehouse, there is no limitation for entrepreneurial activity these days.

business on demand chart

 

On Demand Talent

The employment landscape is also shifting with the fast-paced technology. The freelance market for technology based services is definitely on the rise. With so many video and productivity apps in the market, there is less need for people to be physically in the same office. This, however, implies that a new set of abilities and skills is required to manage a team and tasks.

“According to the IT staffing firm Mondo, 73 percent of CIOs are using contractors for tasks such as app development or programming. And as full-time IT hiring slows, the firm surveyed 200 IT decision makers, 48 percent of whom reported they planned to add more contractors than full-time staff over the next 12 to 18 months.”

“The freelance marketplace approach is clearly here to stay,” says Scott Galit, CEO of Payoneer, a global payment service that has worked with companies such as oDesk. “This is a permanent addition [and] change to how this industry operates and many companies are seeing the cost and productivity benefits. We’ve seen tremendous growth for our customers in this space — showing this is one way that businesses will continue to staff diverse needs around the world.”

On Demand & Consumer Behavior

For slow moving industries such as transportation, grocery and restaurants- they are now experiencing a substantial boom. Transportation has become incredibly efficient and on demand through services like Uber. Restaurants are now subject to unprecedented scrutiny through Trip Advisor and Yelp; and let’s not forget the badges and promos from Foursquare when it was in it’s prime. Grocery shopping has become incredibly convenient as well, never forget ingredients by taking your apps with your fave recipes, or let them tell you when you’re next shopping trip is due. Ordering online has never been so easy, especially with giants like Amazon.

“The internet makes human desires more easily attainable. In other words, it offers convenience. Convenience on the internet is basically achieved by two things: speed, and cognitive ease. If you study what the really big things on the internet are, you realize they are masters at making things fast and not making people think.” — Ev Williams, Twitter co-founder

 

 

Source: Business Insider, Forbes  

 

 

uber logo

Why everyone is talking about Uber

Trevor 4 comments

It seems like this is a hot, trending topic that everyone is talking about, but what exactly is Uber?

At first sight, Uber might seem like a regular taxi service, but the reality of the matter is that it is so much more. Uber is an app that connect drivers and users. Need to get a ride from point A to point B? Instead of vigorously trying to get a cab, you can now access the app and and request a driver. Once your request is accepted, someone will pick you up and deliver you to your destination.

So, how is this different from a taxi service?

You could be a driver, making money on the side. You can log into Uber and register as a ‘Driver’, and once your requests goes through, you are given a phone with the ‘Driver App’ and you can choose which hours you want to work, and get paid for driving people around. You can use your own car, and set your own hours.

How much money can I make?

The average hourly rate is $13.36 an hour; and some Uber drivers make up to $3,258 a month.

Person in taxi

How safe is it?

The drivers are put through a three-step criminal background screening for the US- with county, federal and multi-state checks that go back as far as the law allows.

There is no hailing, which means that it is a true door-to-door service.

Anonymous feedback and full accountability: you give feedback anonymously to help drivers improve the Uber experience they deliver. Drivers work hard to keep their ratings high.

Driver profiles for peace of mind. To Ensure that the user is always safe and relaxed by sending the driver’s profile information ahead of time (name, photo, license plate number, and rating).

Insurance: “From the moment you get into any Uber product (e.g. uberX, UberBLACK) to the moment you’re dropped off, your ride is covered by commercial liability insurance. That goes for every trip in every city around the world. In the U.S. specifically, ridesharing has become a popular choice — and Uber is the first company to ensure true end-to-end insurance coverage for ridesharing, with drivers on uberX protected by liability coverage even between trips.”

Vehicle standards: Not any car can be an Uber. It’s a title reserved for the safe, high-quality vehicles that are in exceptional condition.

Other safety standards: Cashless transactions, Drivers rate riders, No Random Pickups

It is currently available in 45 countries.

 

On November 14, 2014 a class action lawsuit was submitted.  The case is Caren Ehret vs. Uber Technologies Inc in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 14-0113. 

Related article: Uber lawsuit over gratuities 

 

Sources: Uber, Glassdoor

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