Need to Know
17 : 12 : 18

Headphones that double as hearing aids, America’s first biometric airport terminal, and a digital club for footballers and their fans.

Senja creates beauty products from Finnish forests

Senja Cosmetics, Finland. Branding by Werklig
Senja Cosmetics, Finland, branding by Werklig
Senja Cosmetics, Finland, branding by Werklig
Senja Cosmetics, Finland

Finland – The cosmetics company has launched an all-natural skincare line, with ingredients harvested from the cleanest country in the world.

The range of vegan products, which includes a cleansing oil and day and night cream, have been created with local Finnish ingredients. During the Nordic summer months when the sun never sets, plants store up additional nutrients in order to survive during the long winter. As a result, native berries and herbs are packed with antioxidants and vitamins, something Senja is embracing with its skincare products.

‘The treasures of Finnish forests have not been used in cosmetics enough,' says Senja Parkkinen, the brand's CEO and founder. ‘I wanted to develop the most natural yet highly effective skincare products, and Finnish wild berries and herbs proved to be the perfect ingredients.’

Locally sourced ingredients are allowing beauty brands to celebrate both local cultures and historical beauty practices, something also seen in Japan, with the emergence of J-Beauty brands that contain seaweed, sake and yuzu.

These hearing aids double as headphones

HeX earbuds by Elen Parry HeX earbuds by Elen Parry
HeX earbuds by Elen Parry HeX earbuds by Elen Parry

Manchester – An MSc student at Manchester Metropolitan University has designed a prototype for 3D-printed earbuds that work as both hearing aids and regular headphones.

The aim of the dual-purpose earbuds, which can be used by users who don’t have hearing loss, is to remove the stigma of disability by creating a product with more universal appeal. Using an E1 processing chip, HeX earbuds are able to distinguish between background noise and sounds users want to hear, such as music or speech. The product also has the potential to protect against future hearing loss, enabling users to decrease the volume of sounds around them.

‘It’s been an interest of mine for a while to try to remove stigma through desirable design,’ says designer Elen Parry. ‘Medical devices tend to stay the same over time – they’re designed by engineers, who don’t necessarily think about user experience.’ In our Implicit Inclusivity design direction, we consider how product designers are recognising the needs of design-conscious consumers with disabilities.

The first biometric airport terminal opens in the US

Atlanta – A terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the first in the US to fully implement facial recognition technology at every stage of the passenger experience.

Developed and installed by Delta Air Lines and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), facial scans of passengers will be used for check-in and bag drop-off, as well as for identification at security checkpoints and flight boarding. To use the technology, passengers will enter their passport number online and have their picture taken at the airport. Delta plans to expand the full terminal experience to its hub in Detroit in 2019.

While the goal is to save time and create a smoother experience for passengers, the technology carries concerns about discriminatory practices and data security. Photos of international passengers, for instance, can be stored in CBP’s system for up to 75 years. If used responsibly, however, this wealth of passenger data could soon be used to transform the airport retail experience.


Otro is a digital community to connect footballers and fans

Otro Otro
Otro Otro

London – Otro is a platform for football players to share exclusive and unfiltered content with their fans.

The app gives fans access to original content by some of the world’s biggest football stars, such as Lionel Messi, David Beckham and Neymar Jr. Otro’s short-form content includes interviews, live Q&As and challenges set by the players, which gives fans the chance to win meet and greets.

Costing £3.99 ($5, €4.44) a month, the premium service is offering a subscription model that has been likened to Spotify. ‘We’ve specifically designed Otro to be a community where members and players engage directly. These players are the founding members of Otro and they are now inviting their fans to join their other club,’ says CEO Jeremy Dale.

While the market for luxury sports fans is booming, Otro offers a more affordable way for fans to connect with the life of their favourite players off the pitch.

Stat: Rewards schemes notably boost physical activity

A landmark study of more than 400,000 people from the UK, the US and South Africa shows that financial rewards significantly increase physical activity. The research, carried out by RAND Europe, examined the effect of two reward schemes offered by private health insurer Vitality.

The first of the two schemes rewarded individuals for tracking and reaching different targets for physical activity. The second, Active Rewards with Apple Watch, enabled customers to reduce their monthly repayments for the smartwatch if they reached a weekly activity quota. Results showed that, on average, participants on the Apple Watch scheme logged 4.8 extra days of activity per month.

The study proves how people can be incentivised to lead more active, healthy lives, with particularly significant implications for workplace wellness schemes. We explore how fitness brands are using rewards to help consumers push their limits in our microtrend, Perspiration Power.

Thought-starter: Who are the Subconscious Shoppers?

Three technology-driven US consumers invite us into their homes to explain how their relationship with AI-driven devices is evolving.

Researching brands, products and services online before you buy has become the norm for how most people make purchasing decisions. In fact, a third of UK consumers who own AI assistants plan to use them to help them with their Christmas shopping in 2018 (source: SAP). But as we head into 2019 we are gearing up for another Moment of Truth – the Subconscious Moment of Truth – a decision that we don’t even know that we are making any more.

This year, we explored Subconscious Commerce, a macrotrend that examined how consumers are relinquishing purchasing decisions to artificial intelligence, and with that in mind, we interviewed three consumers in the US – Tiffanie, who lives in Austin, Texas; Tucker, who is based in North Carolina; and Joe from Dallas – an early adopter who uses a smart assistant daily. We asked them about the barriers to using AI assistants, how their relationship with them is changing and where they predict it will go in the far future.

Meet the Subconscious Shoppers here.

Past Barriers: The Privacy Bump
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