Need to Know
09 : 02 : 18

09.02.2018 Food : Drink : Technology

Area15 is a new retail destination experience, Crisis uses machine learning to improve work culture, AI in retail set to grow exponentially.

1. Architect Asif Khan visualises automotive technology

Hyundai Motor Pavillion by Asif Khan at PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games 2018 , South Korea. Photography by Luke Hayes Hyundai Motor Pavillion by Asif Khan at PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games 2018 , South Korea. Photography by Luke Hayes
Hyundai Motor Pavillion by Asif Khan at PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games 2018 , South Korea. Photography by Luke Hayes Hyundai Motor Pavillion by Asif Khan at PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games 2018 , South Korea. Photography by Luke Hayes
Hyundai Motor Pavillion by Asif Khan at PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games 2018 , South Korea. Photography by Luke Hayes Hyundai Motor Pavillion by Asif Khan at PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games 2018 , South Korea. Photography by Luke Hayes
Hyundai Motor Pavillion by Asif Khan at PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games 2018 , South Korea. Photography by Luke Hayes Hyundai Motor Pavillion by Asif Khan at PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games 2018 , South Korea. Photography by Luke Hayes

South Korea – Car manufacturer Hyundai Motor has commissioned architect Asif Khan to create a visual representation of its latest technology: a Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle, which runs on electricity produced from chemical reactions.

Installed at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, the temporary structure has been painted with Vantablack VBx2 – a substance that absorbs over 99% of light – and dotted with pin pricks of light. Resembling stars in a void, the lights on the outside represent the chemical element on a grandiose scale.

Encased within the pavilion is a vast 'water room' - a hydrophobic installation that emits 25,000 singular water droplets every minute, to represent hydrogen at a more human scale, as two atoms of hydrogen bond with one oxygen atom to form water.

Like creative studio FIELD's digital interpretations of algorithms, Khan's work aims to visualise intangible technologies in a bid to familiarise consumers with advances in technology.

2. Area15 creates an experiential retail destination

Area15, Las Vegas Area15, Las Vegas
Area15, Las Vegas Area15, Las Vegas

Las Vegas – Entitled Area15, the new interactive mall, which launches in 2019, will combine interactive retail, dining and nightlife aspects in one space. A partnership between real estate development firm Fisher Brothers and creative agency Beneville Studios, Area15 will host creatives like Meow Wolf, a multi-media production company known for sculpture, augmented and virtual reality (VR), sound and performative experiences, adding an element of immersive storytelling to the retail experience.

‘AREA15 is a radical re-imagining of retail,’ says Winston Fisher, a principal of Fisher Brothers. ‘It will be a 21st century immersive bazaar and an entirely new concept in retail and entertainment.’ As explored in Destination Retail, the shopping experience along is no longer enough as consumers favour experiences over purchases.

3. Non-profit has designed an AI to boost workplace culture

US – Crisis Text Line, a non-profit that connects people in distress with online counsellors through text messaging, is leveraging this data to launch a new startup, dubbed Loris.ai, that helps brands teach employees how to communicate.

To date, Crisis has processed more than 60m emotionally-charged text messages, from which the brand’s volunteer counsellors have been able to glean invaluable insights. For example, the words ‘smart’, ‘proud,’ ‘brave,’ and ‘impressive’ have been found to elicit a positive response from people and improve their mood.

The artificially intelligent service has therefore been trained using these insights to help teach employees how to better navigate difficult work conversations and improve work culture.

‘[The] same techniques that create empathy between a complete stranger and a person in an absolute crisis moment will actually be very effective in creating empathy between two employees or a customer-support person and an angry customer,’ Ann Miura-Ko, a partner at venture capital firm Floodgate which helped the initiative told Wired.

Texting by Isabell Winters Texting by Isabell Winters

4. Pixel Coffee makes coffee culture more sustainable

Pixel Coffee Bar, Latvia Pixel Coffee Bar, Latvia
Pixel Coffee Bar, Latvia Pixel Coffee Bar, Latvia
Pixel Coffee Bar, Latvia Pixel Coffee Bar, Latvia

Riga, Latvia – Pixel Coffee is an edible coffee bar that uses the whole coffee cherry to reduce wastage. Similar in premise to Nootrobox‘s Go Cubes, the caffeine is absorbed more slowly than if it were ingested in liquid form, providing slow release energy and helping to avoid a caffeine crash.

Using the whole coffee cherry means that the coffee bar is high in fiber and polyphenols, both of which are responsible for a healthy gut microbiome, while the flesh of the cherry is the second-highest naturally occurring antioxidant-rich food in the world.

The bar is produced from specialty coffee, requiring highly-skilled workers who are paid market wages. While coffee culture continues to thrive, there is growing concern over the unsustainable nature of mainstream production methods.

5. Retailers indicate that AI will become increasingly important

Retailers are increasingly adopting artificial intelligence in a bid to improve their service offering, with a new study by Juniper Research indicating that the areas brands are planning to invest in most are customer services and sentiment analytics.

As explored in our Market, consumer expectations around service are growing as people search for convenience combined with a personal touch. Forward-thinking brands are therefore investing in AI technology and augmenting it with the personability of service personnel to forge a stronger relationship with the customer.

6. Thought-starter: Is the streetwear sector inherently sexist?

We spoke to Leah McSweeney, founder and CEO of women’s streetwear brand Married To The Mob, who highlighted sexism in the industry, and what brands can do to instigate change.

The problem, according to McSweeney is that women in the streetwear industry are hyper-sexualised. ‘t’s always been like this, but it’s like women are props,’ she tells LS:N.

‘People are surprised that women know about sneakers despite the fact that they have more buying power than men because not only do they buy for themselves, they also buy for their whole family and household. People are still in the dark ages when it comes to this stuff.

Fuelled by visually-led social media platforms like Instagram, McSweeney believes that sexism has increased since she founded Married to the Mob in 2004. ‘What’s going to get a lot of likes? A picture of Kim Kardashian or Kylie Jenner. What’s not going to get a lot of likes? Posting a photo of someone like Aleali May or me,’ she explains.

Read the full interview here.

Married to the Mob by Leah McSweeney Married to the Mob by Leah McSweeney