News 15.10.2018

Need to Know

How hemp can sound-proof the home, Amazon becomes a Brandlord and BitTorrent makes a return.

This apartment is designed for Instagram shoots

Village Studio by Village Marketing, New York
Village Studio by Village Marketing, New York
Village Studio by Village Marketing, New York

New York – Village Marketing has opened a penthouse apartment to optimise influencers’ Instagram feeds.

The space, Village Studio, is located in New York’s SoHo and can be hired by influencers free of charge. The penthouse apartment was created purely as a studio for photo shoots or branded installations, and comes fully furnished, complete with a roof terrace. Its interiors mimic the aesthetics often seen on Pinterest and Instagram – including a colour palette of Millennial pink, white and gold.

According to Village Marketing, the agency behind the project, the biggest challenge influencers face is finding diverse backdrops to keep their content fresh. With many influencers struggling to make a profit from their online personas, the Village Studio offers a cost-effective way to optimise their feeds.

In response to the recent rise of Instagrammable museums and experiences, our foresight editor Daniela Walker questioned whether the quest for Insta-optimisation is nearing its conclusion.

Hemp can produce a sound-proofing material

Hemp husk sound panels by Aotta Hemp husk sound panels by Aotta
Hemp husk sound panels by Aotta Hemp husk sound panels by Aotta

Russia – Design studio Aotta has created sound-proofing panels made from hemp husks, a biodegradable resource that is typically left to waste.

When used in an interior space, Aotta says the material can absorb sound reflections and regulate humidity and temperature. The panels are designed to be installed in geometric shapes on internal walls, creating a decorative pattern with an unusual tactility.

The panels are part of Aotta’s research into eco-friendly materials for homes and furnishings. While hemp seeds are produced in large volumes for hemp oil and other edible products, the outer husks are typically thrown away. Putting them to use, Aotta reports that the panels are fully biodegradable and anti-fungal.

To discover more about the future of organic materials, download our Material Far Futures report, which is free for LS:N Global members.

Amazon integrates voice devices to prefab homes

California – The retailer is working with Plant Prefab to kit out sustainable, prefabricated houses with a range of its smart devices.

Plant Prefab, which manufactures single-occupancy and family homes, has received funding from the Amazon Alexa Fund, a recently established venture that enables the e-commerce giant to support projects that have potential to assimilate voice technology.

When the houses are complete, they will be integrated with smart Alexa devices, making them fully connected homes. ‘We’re thrilled to support [Plant Prefab] as they make sustainable, connected homes more accessible to customers and developers,’ says Paul Bernard, director of the Alexa Fund.

This marks Amazon’s first investment in a home construction company, and hints at a future where affordable housing is alive with technology, transforming Amazon into a Brandlord.

Plant Prefab

Google is bringing video games to Chrome

Project Stream Gameplay Capture by Google

Global – The mega-system wants to take on the PS4 and Xbox One, but isn’t releasing a physical games console.

Google announced in a blog post that it is developing the Project Stream platform, which will enable consumers to stream blockbuster video games in high definition using just their Chrome browser. Until now, streaming games online has posed a number of challenges, with Google noting that graphically rich games require ‘latency measured in milliseconds, with no graphic degradation’.

To demonstrate Project Stream’s capabilities, Google has worked with Ubisoft to trial the soon-to-be-released game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on the platform, offering a select number of spaces for gamers to play.

As eSports gain prominence, technology providers are introducing devices and platforms that rival the quality of premium consoles. This summer, Apple flaunted the gaming power of its new iPhone X.

Stat: In the era of Netflix, BitTorrent makes its comeback

According to Sandvine’s Global Internet Phenomena report, which delves into our digital habits, video now accounts for more than 58% of global downstream traffic on the internet. Although Netflix alone now comprises 15% of all internet downstream traffic, video piracy is on the rise.

The report states that the use of BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer file sharing site renowned for the distribution of copyrighted television and film content, is experiencing a surge in traffic once again, following a decline that began in 2015.

Cam Cullen, vice-president of solutions marketing at Sandvine, believes this is due to an increase in Netflix and alternative streaming sites, which LS:N Global has been tracking, restricting content behind subscriber walls. ‘More sources than ever are producing exclusive content available on a single streaming or broadcast service,’ says Cullen. ‘To get access to all of these services, it gets very expensive for a consumer, so they subscribe to one or two and pirate the rest.’

Thought-starter: Should beauty retail embrace technology?

Technology is elevating and personalising the in-store beauty experience, but is it enough? Robyn Novak, vice-president and creative managing director of FRCH, questions what’s missing.

Remember when a personalised beauty experience was defined simply by a department store assistant asking ‘Are you a warm or a cool?’ or ‘Which 1,2,3 (dry, normal, oily) regimen best meets your needs?’ The personal approach to beauty retail has taken quite a leap since then and, arguably, is still in the midst of its makeover.

When it comes to cosmetics, the in-store experience is on the brink of a dramatic shift led by technology. Exemplified by Shiseido’s acquisition of MATCHCo, a beauty app that allows customers to create customised foundation, and Giaran, an AI-driven beauty software company that creates interactive, personal beauty experiences, the future of beauty retail will be shaped by algorithms, with on-the-spot products made before our eyes, and for our skin only.

With the age of Algorithmic Beauty upon us, AI and data mining might make for a more robust foundation, and open-sell might be playful, but ultimately we have to question whether they deliver a personal experience.

To discover more, read the Opinion piece here.

Skin360 SkinScanner by Neutrogena, Las Vegas
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