News 26.09.2018

Need to Know

A dumb phone connects to the web, Alexa gains intuition and a campaign that reimagines the banner ad.

Thinkk Studio is reclaiming Made in Thailand

Made in Thailand, Thinkk Studio, Bangkok
Made in Thailand, Thinkk Studio, Bangkok
Made in Thailand, Thinkk Studio, Bangkok

Bangkok – The design studio has unveiled a collection of homeware that puts a modernist spin on Thai craftsmanship.

Showcased at Maison & Objet 2018, the Made in Thailand collection includes a contemporary range of tables, vases and kitchen accessories. The line is an amalgamation of research and experimentation with local Thai manufacturers, combining the country's traditional craft processes with a design aesthetic more often associated with Scandinavia than South East Asia.

Using local materials such as bamboo and rattan wicker, Thinkk Studio aims to ‘present an unorthodox overview of Thai designing and manufacturing’ in order to better represent the region on the international design stage.

With connotations of Asian manufacturing often aligned with disposability and mass manufacturing, a growing number of designers are working to change opinions. Like the Made in China label, Thinkk Studio is reinventing what it means for a product to be made in Thailand.

LDF 2018: Punkt adds 4G capacity to its minimalist phone

Punkt MP02 Punkt MP02
Punkt's MP02 phone is a minimalist device that can't hold social media apps but offers 4G roaming Punkt's MP02 phone is a minimalist device that can't hold social media apps but offers 4G roaming

London – Punkt has launched the MP02, the latest iteration of its simple, streamlined mobile phone at London Design Festival.

Building on its original MP01 phone, which only connects to 2G networks in order to counteract the impact of distracting apps and web browsing, Punkt has responded to customer feedback by offering 4G LTE connectivity to help improve international roaming. Through this new capability, users can get online but only by sharing the phone's data connection with a tablet or laptop, positioning the internet as a tool and something that users 'dip into', rather than live their life by.

While the MP02 remains a minimalist device that can't hold social media apps, it still offers a series of tools, such as notes, a calculator, and the ability to share a 4G hotspot with others. The phone also has an extended battery life of 12 days.

The size of a credit card, the Light Phone offers a similarly stripped-back experience, with the aim of being used as little as possible. Its sequel product – also 4G-enabled – was recently funded on IndieGogo, with its creators reportedly exploring features like music playlists and maps.

Alexa will soon guess what you’re thinking

Seattle – At a recent event, Amazon announced that its Alexa voice devices will soon emulate human curiosity and intuition.

The new feature, Alexa Hunches, will observe interactions between Alexa device owners and other connected smart home devices, making suggestions when a regular pattern is found. ‘Alexa can have hunches about smart devices that you typically leave on or off, whether that’s leaving a porch light on or locking the back door,’ says Daniel Rausch, vice president of Amazon’s Smart Home business.

The feature will be activated later this year, and it will take a few weeks for each Alexa device to learn its owner’s habits, taking into account environmental factors such as the time of day, weather and changing seasons. Ultimately, Amazon says that Alexa Hunches will be able suggest the user’s favourite music and recommend regularly purchased items.

The announcement hints at an increasingly subconscious future, whereby smart devices are able to predict and manage what we want before we realise it.

Amazon Alexa

This campaign parodies our aversion to banner ads

The Extraordinary Tale of an Ordinary Man, Boursorama Banque, Buzzman, France

France – French bank Boursorama has created a dramatic trailer for a new campaign titled The Man Who Clicked on a Banner Ad.

The short film plays on consumers’ aversion to banner ads, using bold techniques deployed by Hollywood film trailers to build tension. Following a man through his morning routine, a bold voiceover asks viewers to discover ‘the man who saw what no one else wanted to see’ and ‘who dared to confront what the whole world was running from’, before revealing that he is the titular man who clicked on a banner ad.

The campaign is in fact promoting a new, real-life offer by Boursorama, giving consumers who click on its latest banner ad a welcome bonus of £116 ($153, €130) if they sign up for a bank account. According to the bank, the film was created in response to the fact that the use of ad blockers continues to boom, despite these ads offering benefits for those that dare to click.

By tapping into and attempting to change the digital habits of its customers, Boursorama's campaign demonstrates Mimicry Marketing.

Stat: Employees are open to being monitored by tech

In partnership with The Future Laboratory, employee benefits company Unum has released a new report titled The Future Workforce, focused on the emerging workforce trends of the next five years and how employers need to adapt to ensure they attract and retain top talent.

At a time when artificial intelligence (AI) increasingly plays a role in the workplace, the report found 43% of UK workers to believe AI will benefit their jobs, while almost half (49%) are interested in using tech, such as activity-tracking wearables and time management apps, to improve their own workplace performance.

To read more about how technology will be used in the workplace in 2030, read our Far Future scenario.

Thought-starter: Do auction houses need a rebrand?

As attitudes to luxury and acquisition evolve, foresight writer Holly Friend lists the auction houses diversifying to retain relevance and attract a new breed of young, moneyed consumers.

Billed as the first street culture sale, earlier this year Artcurial brought a new generation of luxurians to its Paris auction house in the hope of snapping up rare Supreme goods. In a reference to the Wu-Tang Clan song, the sale was entitled C.R.E.A.M: Cash Rules Everything Around Me, and attracted an array of French, Chinese and American youth, many of whom The New York Times reported had never attended an auction.

In July 2018, British auction house Sotheby’s also demonstrated a willingness to diversify by entering a unique partnership with Danish audio brand Bang & Olufsen, launching an exclusive range of wireless speakers. According to Bang & Olufsen, the products can be compared with works of art: ‘To create each colour, the aluminium bodies were anodised and dyed one at a time – a process that required a day-long takeover of Bang & Olufsen’s anodising plant.’

This autumn, Christie’s New York will become the first auction house to acknowledge art created by artificial intelligence (AI), with the sale of Portrait of Edmond Belamy.

Read more about the next generation of auction houses here.

Supreme C.R.E.A.M (Cash Rules Everything Around Me), Artcurial, Photography by Maximilien Photography
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