Geneva – Luxury watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier has launched a new augmented reality (AR) app to promote its latest collection.
The brand is embracing technology to enhance customers’ experience of its latest collection, Kalpa, heightening their sense of discovery while promoting its traditional craftsmanship. The app’s AR features are triggered by pointing a device’s camera at different images on Parmigiani’s supporting microsite, demonstrating the assembly method and blueprints of each Kalpa timepiece through a series of animations. Potential customers can delve into the inner workings of the watches, while video footage reveals how the watches are rigorously tested for durability.
Compared to other industries, the luxury personal goods market has been slow to embrace technologies such as AR and VR in the presentation of its products, but luxury brands are beginning to explore the opportunities they offer to achieve higher levels of engagement, personalisation and convenience for shoppers.
2. A shoe that makes performance training convenient
Grit concept shoe by Aarish Netarwala
Grit concept shoe by Aarish Netarwala
California – Having discovered that resistance athletes like to train in sand dune parks, designer Aarish Netarwala has developed Grit, a new concept shoe for adidas that replicates the properties of running on soft sand to ensure this training method is accessible to all.
With athletes relying on difficult sand training to strengthen their muscles for acceleration, balance and jumping, the 3D-printed trainers will be designed to ensure training is just as strenuous. The sole of the shoe features lattice structures designed to scatter energy when the foot strikes the ground, fatiguing the athlete's leg muscles faster. To support the wearer’s foot, a fabric knit sock is paired with the lattice sole, and although woven together, the two pieces are easily detachable and both can be recycled.
Despite the need for extensive testing and manufacturing before its launch as a commercial product, the design indicates the future direction of materials innovation to help improve performance. As Active Air recently demonstrated, shoes could also provide a solution to reverse air pollution in urban environments.
3. Google AdWords enhances product discovery
Global – As the desire for seamless retail grows, Google is responding with a number of new search features that remove friction from discovering products online and offline.
Despite global fears of a retail apocalypse, 80% of shoppers will still visit bricks-and-mortar stores when they have an item they want immediately (source: Google/Ipsos). Tapping into this, Google AdWords is expanding its location tools for affiliate partners to help consumers find nearby stores that sell particular products they might have recently searched for or seen through online ads. Its extension will also reach video campaigns on YouTube, helping brand manufacturers drive and measure foot traffic to nearby stores or dealers that sell their products.
Beyond availability of products in local stores, the company will roll out new local catalogue ads to all advertisers by the end of June 2018, helping shoppers to see more of what is available from a particular retailer. The inventory will be clear and easy to scroll through, with details such as in-store availability and pricing information accompanying each product.
For more on how to meet the demands of today’s online shoppers, see our macrotrend Subconscious Commerce.
Following the success of a pilot programme in New York, the company has worked with refugee charity Breaking Barriers to bring the initiative to the UK. With more than 120,000 refugees residing in the UK, WeWork hopes to provide refugees with job opportunities and personal growth through training and mentoring as they transfer into paid employment. Once inducted, these new members will be offered classes to enhance their English language skills and will have a chance to get to know other WeWork employees at monthly lunchtime meetings. In a further expansion of its training programme, the company will also offer coding and technology courses to aid their integration and growth at WeWork.
For more on how businesses are acting as forces for societal good, explore our Civic Brands macrotrend here.
5. China’s trust in autonomous vehicles is growing
Despite a recent fatality involving an autonomous vehicle, Chinese consumers have grown more confident in the concept of autonomous technology over the past year. In a study of more than 22,000 consumers in 17 countries worldwide, those in the Asia-Pacific region showed greater trust in driverless cars compared to any other major market.
As autonomous technology gains momentum in the automobile industry, The Future Laboratory co-founder Martin Raymond discusses how human interference could be the biggest challenge facing self-driving car manufacturers. Read his full opinion here.
6. Thought-starter: Can these alternatives save the energy drinks market?
Growing concern about the negative health impact of highly caffeinated, sugary energy drinks is prompting the development of less harmful alternatives.
The energy drinks industry is coming under repeat attack, with consumer groups, retailers and governments raising concerns about the negative health impact of its products, especially on children. High levels of caffeine and sugar in category leaders like Monster and Red Bull have been shown to contribute to heart problems and obesity.
Capitalising on this growing concern, challengers are entering the market with healthier alternatives. A major part of this shift positions ready-to-drink coffee-based products as potential substitutes. Coldbrew coffee brand Sandows recently launched a carbonated, canned version of its coffee drink designed to compete with sugar-laden sodas and energy drinks.
Some producers are going even further by cutting caffeine from their energy drinks entirely. Synapse is a new brand that uses acetylcholine in place of caffeine, a molecule that helps the brain to maintain focus. Synapse provides an additional energy boost by using agave nectar and citrulline malate instead of pure sugar.