Need to Know
23 : 03 : 18

23.03.2018 Technology : Wellness : Travel

Terra Hale uses human energy to power electricity in gyms, Google advances games that reflect real-world environments, EU offers free travel to teens.

1. Samsung develops a tv that is capable of camouflage

QLED TV by Samsung, US QLED TV by Samsung, US
QLED TV by Samsung, US QLED TV by Samsung, US
QLED TV by Samsung, US QLED TV by Samsung, US

US – With the launch of its new QLED TV, Samsung is rethinking the way in which electrical devices are integrated into the domestic space.

The tv includes an integrated ambient mode setting that enables users either to upload a photograph of the wall behind from their smartphone or to choose an image from Samsung’s portfolio. In addition, the screen displays information such as news headlines, traffic reports and weather updates throughout the day even while consumers are not actively watching it.

‘Our 2018 line-up of televisions are our most innovative and sophisticated yet, designed for today’s consumers who are mindful of the aesthetics of their space,’ says Jonghee Han, president of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics.

Whereas these kind of big-ticket devices would once have been displayed as the focal point of a room, Samsung is tapping into a growing desire for electrical items that sit unobtrusively in the space. For more on how consumers’ relationship with technology is evolving, see our Awakening Tech macrotrend.

2. Google opens up Maps to game developers

Google Maps API

US – Google has open-sourced its Maps API, enabling developers to create games that reflect real-world environments. In acknowledgement of the growing number of augmented reality games, the brand is allowing game studios to take advantage of its real-time updates and abundant location data to identify the best sites for their games.

‘This means that [developers] can focus on building rich, immersive game play without the overhead of scaffolding a global-scale game world,’ explains the brand in a press release.

In 2015, we identified a growing interest in geo-location campaigns, which use placemaking to evoke a sense of excitement in the consumer. In opening up its geo-location technology to the gaming community, Google is helping to position itself as a facilitator in the evolution of augmented reality.

The move follows the introduction of Google Poly, an open-source library of 3D objects, which can be used by designers working in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) environments.

3. EU encourages cultural education with free travel pass

Europe – The European Commission is offering young adults a free Interrail pass this summer, making it more accessible for teenagers to travel around Europe.

The initiative permits free train travel across 30 countries for anyone turning 18 this year, in an effort to further cultural education. ‘Education is not only about what we learn in the classroom, but about what we discover about the cultures and traditions of our fellow Europeans,’ explains Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

As Generation Z are increasingly travelling independently, brands are learning how to cater for their parent-free experiences.

Instravel - A Photogenic Mass Tourism Experience by Oliver KMIA Instravel - A Photogenic Mass Tourism Experience by Oliver KMIA

4. Eco-friendly gym promotes sustainable exercise

Terra Hale, London Terra Hale, London
Terra Hale, London Terra Hale, London
Terra Hale, London Terra Hale, London

London – The Terra Hale gym group embeds sustainability into every aspect of its gyms, including harnessing the energy expended during workouts to power electricity.

At its newest location in Shepherd’s Bush, opening on 9 April, its spin studio uses the kinetic energy generated through pedalling and feeds back excess energy into the electricity grid. All other aspects of the gym are built with the environment in mind, with recycled materials used throughout the space, from the yoga mats to the door handles. The wooden rowing machines are water-powered, using human energy and water as resistance. There is also a strict policy against single-use plastic water bottles, with Terra Hale-branded metal bottles available for sale.

While lots of boutique gyms focus their proposition on new services, Terra Hale shows how to apply Whole-system Thinking into its everyday activity and make long-term contributions to both society and the planet.

5. Japanese brands are outpacing K-beauty

Japanese beauty (J-beauty) sales in China increased faster than Korean beauty (K-beauty) sales in 2017, according to a new report by research group L2. The declining appeal of K-beauty has partially been attributed to a fall in Chinese tourism to South Korea thanks to political volatility in the region.

In contrast, sales of J-beauty brands grew in the Chinese market in the same period. Sang Wing, general secretary of the China Beauty Expo, suggests this can be attributed to the quality of Japanese beauty products. ‘Many companies spend decades [developing] one product. This has created the ingenuity quality sign for Japanese products.’

For recent J-beauty innovations featured at Cosmoprof 2018, read our show debrief.

6. Thought-starter: How Reebok is pioneering the fashion sector

Sportswear behemoths Nike and adidas have typically dominated the category, but creative researcher Rachael Stott examines how Reebok’s in-house innovation collective is pushing their offering.

The Reebok Innovation Collective is a 40-person-strong research and development team with a product focus on technology. The collective’s editorial platform is designed to provide insight into the scientific and technological developments happening behind the scenes at Reebok, through a series of videos, imagery and external collaborations.

Many of the products showcased are conceptual rather than consumer-facing, and demonstrate the brand’s pursuit of progression, as well as potential future applications of new material and production technologies.

In order to establish the brand as an innovation and science pioneer beyond apparel, Reebok commissioned three creatives from around the world to create a conceptual lifestyle product that exploited Flexweave’s properties.

For more on how Reebok is evolving into more than just a sneaker brand, read our brand debrief here.

Flexweave by Joe Doucet for Reebok, US Flexweave by Joe Doucet for Reebok, US