1. Facebook wants to work on building local communities
Let's Get to Work by Facebook, UK
UK – 2018 will be the year that Mark Zuckerberg fixes Facebook. In line with this sentiment, the brand has launched a new ad campaign, Let’s Get To Work, that aims to help it shed its reputation as a corporate machine and instead lends it a more community-driven voice. Created by Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, the ad celebrates a host of small business owners, from butchers to barbers, sourced from the platform's most popular pages and small business initiatives.
Each of the companies profiled in the campaign will also be featured on a dedicated microsite that recounts how the platform has been instrumental in helping them to scale their business.
In our forthcoming Morality Recoded macrotrend, we will examine how brands can rethink their strategies to integrate new moral and ethical codes. Book here for our annual Trend Briefing, where this and other long-term macrotrends will be unveiled.
2. Google augments the desktop experience
Article app by Google
US – Google is diving further into the world of augmented reality (AR) with a new app that brings AR to desktop browsers. The prototype, known as Article, works with Google Chrome, allowing anyone to create virtual 3D objects, which can then be embedded into websites. Visitors to the site will be able to interact with the model by dragging and rotating it, while smartphone users will be able to download these 3D objects and place them in the real world.
‘The unique power of AR is to blend digital content with the real world,’ write Reza Ali and Josh Carpenter, who work on Google’s Daydream WebXR team. ‘So we can, for example, surf the web, find a model, place it in our room to see just how large it truly is, and physically walk around it.’
3. Panasonic proposes a future smart city prototype
Colorado – Panasonic is working with the City of Denver to demonstrate how its technology could be better incorporated into people‘s everyday lives. The brand is developing a 400-acre microhabitat on the outskirts of the city to demonstrate one possible prototype for future smart cities.
The city will be designed to better accommodate autonomous vehicles, while a Light Transit Railway will connect residents to the airport and other parts of Denver. The initiative will focus on sustainability, with features such as smart LED Streetlights, powered by solar cells, which will automatically brighten or dim according to the amount of footfall.
While Panasonic has developed similar cities in the East, such as the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town in Japan, it is the first time the brand has launched such a partnership in the West. For more on the future of branded cities, read our Opinion.
The city of Denver rendering by Panasonic, US
4. Universal Everything creates an immersive soundscape
Inside The Sound: Voices by Universal Everything
London – Design studio Universal Everything has created six soundscape environments to visualise the sensations created by sound. The immersive videos have been designed in virtual reality (VR) allowing viewers to ‘step Inside the sound’.
The first of the synaesthetic films, Voices, offers a pulsating, abstract landscape of pink, orange, purple and yellow-hued shapes, creating a fetishised sensorial experience in the vein of Visual ASMR. The films take ‘the form of an infinitely looping audiovisual creation, which visualises the sensations triggered by its sounds, allowing the viewer to explore a multisensory space in ways only achievable in 360’, Universal Everything explains on its website.
5. Millennial parents are helping to grow family-orientated travel
While the travel sector has typically played to the stereotype of Millennials as Instagram-loving, care-free individuals, new research by Resonance Consultancy shows that as members of this demographic start their own families they are looking for more family-orientated travel opportunities. As explored in our Parenting Market, Millennials are evolving the definition of what it means to be a parent and are looking for services that better align with their sense of self.
6. Thought-starter: Why cricket farming needs to be scaled
We spoke to Mohammed Ashour, CEO of Aspire Food Group, on the importance of robotics in helping to make cricket protein an affordable alternative to meat.
‘We live in a world that is massively deficient in protein sources and desperately needs to identify ways to produce protein reliably at scale without destroying our planet,’ Ashour tells LS:N Global.
While crickets are a good source of protein and require far less food and water input than almost any other form of livestock, inefficiencies in the farming process mean that they are still a very expensive source of protein.
‘Let’s take one simple example that illustrates the inefficiencies in current methods of farming: feeding the crickets,’ says Ashour. ‘Crickets are typically farmed inside enclosures. Food must be delivered to each enclosure to ensure the crickets have adequate nutrition.’
To address these inefficiencies Aspire Food Group has introduced industrial automation, robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), big data and machine learning, which it hopes will help it scale up cricket farming to ‘hundreds of thousands and eventually millions of enclosures’.