India – A new advertising campaign shows how Samsung’s voice assistant could help families cope with the impact of degenerative illnesses.
The ad emulates the real-life story of a mother, Sonal, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND), and who agreed to let Samsung preserve her voice so she could continue to communicate with her daughter as the disease began to affect her ability to move and speak. The brand customised its AI-enabled Bixby technology with the voice of Sonal, and embedded this in a Samsung smartphone for the family to use.
In the campaign film, the young daughter interacts with her mother through the AI voice assistant, despite her mother’s notable absence. ‘At Samsung, we are focused on transforming people’s lives with innovative technologies. The endeavour is to solve real-life problems of consumers through meaningful innovations,’ says Ranijivit Singh, chief marketing officer for Samsung India.
While the hands-free functionality of voice assistants has positioned these devices as tools for disabled consumers, Samsung is imagining how its technology could be used to support families and continue legacies in the far future.
Denmark is opening a centre to address climate change
Lemvig – Due to open in 2020, the Climatorium is a purpose-built space designed to raise awareness and create solutions to tackle climate change.
The building, designed by Copenhagen-based architects 3XN, will function as a forum for knowledge, education and innovation around climate change. Its location in the coastal city of Lemvig was chosen because the city is facing an increased risk of flooding from rising sea levels.
The Climatorium aims to become a world power in creating climate solutions, providing meeting and common space for researchers tackling this global issue. It also aims to attract tourists, who can visit a rotating programme of exhibitions, events and concert, as well as a permanent café, turning the building from an educational centre into a destination in its own right.
Countries – especially those in the Arctic region – are investing in physical spaces that address climate change. Earlier this year we spoke to architecture practice Snøhetta about the need for eco-conscious design in extreme environments.
From designer seeds to Sweetgreen salads
US – The menu at the fast-casual salad chain will soon include a squash created by seed-to-table food brand Row 7.
As we previously explored in our microtrend Cultivating Flavour, chef Dan Barber has been working to change how the food industry approaches the propagation of fruit and vegetables. His company, Row 7, is breeding food with a focus on flavour over hardiness and yield.
The seven month-old company has now made its first move into the commercial space by working with Sweetgreen to create the Koginut, a squash that has the sweet flavour of a butternut with the texture of a Japanese kabocha varietal. Sweetgreen has bought more than 100,000 seeds and has been planting them across the US, testing at scale to see how they perform in different climates and soils.
When it lands at the chain in October, the Koginut will have its own bowl built entirely around the squash’s flavour.
Row 7 seed company, US
Opendesk launches an augmented retail experience
Opendesk AR app
Global – Opendesk has introduced an augmented reality (AR) feature that enables customers to ‘try before they buy’.
The made-to-order furniture brand, which operates without any showrooms or stock, is providing a platform for customers to see products in their home before they are purchased. The feature, created with Hanover-based AR/VR innovators VRTX Labs, is powered by Apple’s ARKit 2, and runs natively in Safari on iOS12, without the need for a third party application.
‘For Opendesk it's particularly useful, because everything we do is made on-demand,’ says Joni Steiner, the brand’s CEO and co-founder. ‘AR becomes the way to try before it's made for you. We can now provide a showroom experience while still holding no inventory.’
Through systems such as ARKit, brands are making their mainstream entrance to the augmented reality arena. The introduction of augmented reality is particularly significant for Opendesk as it allows the customers to experience a furniture piece without the need to visit a showroom.
Stat: South Africa’s quest for retail convenience
Nielsen’s latest report highlights how the demand for convenience isn’t only prevalent in developed countries but also in emerging markets such as South Africa. The research found that 40% of consumers would like products that make their life easier and 36% say they would welcome more products that are convenient to use.
This desire for convenience also translated to e-commerce opportunities. Some 43% of respondents said they would be encouraged to buy online if retailers could provide a precise delivery window (at 30 minute intervals) to fit their schedule, while 41% said a website that provides real-time detailed progress on the status of their order. In terms of customisation, 36% said that they would like to see online retailers who would allow them to make special product requests to suit their needs.
See our Convenience Culture markets for more on how on-demand culture is changing consumer expectations.
Thought-starter: How will malls remain relevant in a digital future?
In the face of stiff competition from digital sales and the Millennial penchant for small boutiques, malls must deploy new retail strategies to keep shoppers engaged.
There is untapped potential for shopping malls to cater not just for teenagers or adults, but also for the full spectrum of spending generations. With a wealth of attractions, displays and retail formats, malls are ideal for family outings or senior shopping.The Starfield mall in Goyang, South Korea has transformed the second floor into a children’s amusement park that has several rooms all aimed at stimulating different areas of a child’s development.
In an era of Total Retail, like many free-standing stores, malls are also combining physical and online platforms. A recent survey by YouGov found that deploying services such as click-and-collect can increase in-person sales. Independent click-and-collect services such as Doddle in the UK are opening locations beyond commuter train stations, situating themselves inside malls so that customers can return online purchases from any stores in one place and then continue shopping.