Need to Know
15 : 11 : 18

Scooter start-ups offer journey data to Los Angeles, China unveils first AI news presenter and Singles Day smashes its sales record.

Heist is disrupting the shapewear market

The Outer Body, Heist, UK, photography by Gary Morrisroe
The Outer Body, Heist, UK, photography by Gary Morrisroe
The Outer Body, Heist, UK, photography by Gary Morrisroe

UK – Heist, a brand known for its inclusive range of hosiery, is using a performance fabric to advance the shapewear sector.

The Outer Body is a shaping bodysuit that removes the struggle, sweat and squeeze that many women experience when wearing traditional shapewear. In a bid to enhance both comfort and shape, the product takes cues from the body’s natural support system of connective tissue, known as the fascia. The resulting product is made with a laser-perforated fabric never before used in underwear, which is breathable and lightweight, only applying pressure to the areas where the body needs it.

The product was developed by Heist’s vice president of innovation Fiona Fairhurst, a performance-wear innovator who is renowned for designing the Olympic-medal winning Speedo Fastskin swimsuits. ‘We wanted to give women freedom by giving them something better – bodywear that’s designed to move with the body, not against it,’ Fairhurst explains.

By creating underwear focused on efficacy and comfort over the male gaze, Heist is also championing the concept of Bare-it-all Branding.

Biomega’s new EV reimagines urban mobility

SIN by Biomega, Demark SIN by Biomega, Demark
SIN by Biomega, Demark SIN by Biomega, Demark

Denmark – Danish bicycle brand Biomega has launched its first four-wheel electric vehicle (EV), named SIN.

The concept car, which will be ready for market by the early 2020s, has been developed as an affordable and sustainable solution to modern urban mobility. Designed using minimal components and lightweight materials, SIN can easily manoeuvre in tight spaces and applies Biomega’s principles of social innovation and modular design thinking to the automotive industry.

‘We’ve been focused on urban mobility since the 1990s,’ says Biomega founder Jens Martin Skibsted. ‘We feel that we are in an extremely strong position to design an EV that represents the frontier of new mobility.’ According to Skibsted, SIN is also the next step in Bioemega’s ‘ongoing battle against the combustion car’.

Automotive innovation is set to transform the way we use and design our future cities. For more, subscribers can explore how AVs will impact urban design.

Scooter start-ups offer Los Angeles real-time journey data

Los Angeles – The city will soon have access to a huge consumer dataset generated by the hundreds of electric scooters roaming its streets.

An agreement between Lime and Spin, companies that allow consumers to rent electric scooters using an app, and software technology company Remix, will make journey data available to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

City officials will be able to see where the scooters are picked up, the routes taken and when they are used. It's anticipated this data will be used to inform the city’s transportation system in order to better serve those moving around Los Angeles without a car, including where to place bike lanes, docking stations and charging equipment.

Around the world, cities are realising that data collected by challenger apps like Uber and Citymapper can benefit their outdated transport systems. In 2017, travel planning app Citymapper partnered with Transport for London to launch a dynamic bus service that reacted to consumer demand.

Spin Scooter, US

World’s first AI newsreaders debut in China

The first English AI anchor at the World Internet Conference, Xinhua, China

China – Xinhua, China’s state-run media outlet, presented its new digital anchors at the World Internet Conference.

Developed with the latest AI technology, the two anchors are digital composites created from footage of human hosts, which learn from live broadcasting videos by themselves. Both were created in collaboration with local search engine company Sougou, with one broadcasting in English and the other in Mandarin. Xinhua says the anchors can work 24-hours-a-day, reducing news production costs and improving efficiency.

The technology still has limitations, however, including restricted facial expressions and overtly synthesised voices. Yet, with CGI and machine learning improving, it may soon become harder to distinguish real and computer-generated hosts. As a result, some commentators have raised questions about how CGI software might be used in the future. Earlier this year, at IAM Weekend 18, CGI artist Alan Warburton explored similar concerns with his work Goodbye Uncanny Valley.

Stat: Alibaba's Singles Day triumphs over US shopping events

On Sunday, Alibaba smashed its Singles Day sales record. The shopping event, now in its 10th year, racked up $30.8bn (£23.8bn, €27.3) in sales in just 24 hours, marking a 27% year-on-year increase from 2017.

The Chinese event far exceeded the spending of consumers during any US shopping holiday. To put this in perspective, CNBC estimated that Amazon’s Prime Day in July 2018 generated around $4bn (£3bn, €3.5bn) in sales. In addition, Singles Day surpassed the transaction volume of last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday events combined.

According to CNBC, the growth can be linked to the e-commerce giant’s expansion into physical retail. To commemorate the shopping holiday, earlier this week Alibaba launched a satellite into space, which broadcast sentimental messages to customers through its Taobao app.

Thought-starter: Are tech companies doing enough for our wellbeing?

At Web Summit 2018, loneliness emerged as the next wellness frontier, while technology companies showed how they are working to better protect global citizens’ futures.

According to a recent study from the British Red Cross, more than 9m adults in the UK always or often feel lonely. While technology is often blamed for fuelling social isolation, several exhibitors at Web Summit showed online platforms that facilitate more meaningful interactions between strangers.

‘We believe that a mobile application is the best way to bring people together offline and create social contacts,’ said Elena Köstler, founder of SAM Application, which was developed to help people re-engage in social activities on a one-to-one basis. ‘This is how we want to remedy loneliness.’

Also palpable at this year’s event was the technology industry’s acceptance that it must lead the change in helping to create safer global societies for tomorrow’s citizens.

Microsoft president Brad Smith stressed the need for the technology industry to step up and drive both digital peace and trust in technology in the age of cyber-threats. He pointed to Microsoft’s new civic-focused campaign, Demand Digital Peace, which asks internet users to find their voice and fight back against governments’ use of cyber-warfare.

Discover LS:N Global's top themes from Web Summit 2018 here.

The Human Cost of Cyberattacks by Microsoft
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