Need to Know
22 : 01 : 19

Meteor showers as a service, Ikea imagines a nightclub for sleeping and why your brand should be investing in food safety testing.

Shinola's first hotel is a shoppable space

Shinola, Detroit
Shinola, Detroit
Shinola, Detroit

Detroit – The American lifestyle brand has opened the first Shinola Hotel in the city’s downtown shopping district, combining elements of hospitality and retail on a grand scale.

The hotel, which is spread across two restored buildings and three new annexes, taps into local history to reflect the brand’s heritage. Conceived as a ‘living room’ for the city, its 129 guest rooms and 16,000 square feet of retail, dining and bar space have been created with both Detroiters and visitors in mind. The joint venture between Shinola and real estate firm Bedrock aspires to be a new hub for Detroit, which has been hailed as the Comeback City.

In addition to outfitting the hotel with custom Shinola products, including blankets, candles and wall clocks imitating the brand’s signature watches, its on-site retail space brings together both global and Detroit-based brands, including Le Labo and Good Neighbor. As we explore in our microtrend Furniture as a Service and In-Situ Showrooms, the retail sector is increasingly looking to hospitality as a new brand touchpoint.

Squad targets loneliness with screensharing app

Squad Squad

San Francisco – The new app combines screensharing and video chat so that friends can turn solitary screen time into shared social experiences.

Launched in January 2019, Squad is the first iOS app that lets up to six users broadcast their screens with each other simultaneously. In this way, the app responds to the way younger consumers use platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube while side-by-side with friends, but the company says Squad’s mission is also to reduce loneliness by making social media truly social.

Users engaged with the app are able to socialise, while simultaneously using other social media platforms and dating apps, with the ability to show each other messages and photos, coordinate travel and food orders, as well as play games, watch videos and listen to music. To date, the company reports about 70% of the app’s users are teen girls aged 13-17 years, who are primarily screensharing while using Instagram. For more on the shifting use cases for social media, explore our listicle on the ways Generation Z are transforming Instagram.

Fake meteors could be the fireworks of the future

Japan – Space entertainment company Astro Live Experiences (ALE) is creating artificial meteor showers on demand.

Last week, the company sent seven micro-satellites into space in the first test of a service that will provide on-demand shooting stars to paying customers. The satellite mimics meteors by releasing small particles that burn brightly in the atmosphere, before falling towards the ground and disintegrating. According to the company, the particles are non-toxic, making them a more sustainable alternative to fireworks.

With the aim of eventually selling the experience to music festivals, cities and theme parks, ALE has scheduled its first celestial show over Hiroshima in early 2020.

A number of start-ups are experimenting with the night sky as a canvas for new technologies. Russian company Start Rocket wants to use it to display ads, while a Chinese company has proposed an artificial moon to illuminate the streets of Chengdu.

ALE, Japan

Ikea positions sleep as the new clubbing

The Nightclub by Mother London for Ikea UK

UK – As part of a nationwide campaign to promote better sleep habits, Ikea has partnered with Dr Guy Meadows, the co-founder of The Sleep School.

The campaign encourages consumers to place as much value on their sleep routines as their waking hours. Finding that 63% of people feel unhappy with the amount of sleep they get, the partnership with Dr Meadows will include training for its workers on the science of sleep, which will enable them to better help customers in store. It will also offer insight direct to consumers with the Ikea Sleep Hub, a new online resource.

To promote the initiative, Ikea teamed with creative agency Mother to reimagine sleep as an event to be celebrated akin to a group night out. In the video, a group of friends arrive at a nightclub in their pyjamas, a fast food truck dishes out cereal and the dancefloor is filled with Ikea beds.

As the commodification of sleep continues, the market for sleep technology is also booming. Read our interview with sleep doctor Meeta Singh to discover how bedtime routines will evolve in the future.

Stat: Brands are investing in food safety testing

As consumers become more aware of food safety, the market for food safety testing is projected to see huge growth, according to a new report by MarketsandMarkets. The market, which includes testing for pathogens, pesticides, GMOs and allergens, is expected to grow from $17bn (£13.2bn, €15bn) in 2018 to $24.6bn (£19.1bn, €21.6bn) by 2023.

This growth has been attributed to the rising demand for convenience and packaged food products and an increase in outbreaks of contamination in the food industry. With more people aware of foodborne illnesses, triggered by high-profile events such as 2018's E. coli outbreak, brands are creating intelligent food storage systems that allow them to safely track the edibility of food while reducing waste.

Thought-starter: Are air taxis the future of urban mobility?

Remo Gerber, chief commercial officer of Lilium, on democratising air travel and the solutions that flying taxis will offer major metropolises and coastal towns.

With the world’s first electric vertical take-off and landing jet, mobility company Lilium wants to make urban air travel a sustainable alternative to cars and taxis. ‘The idea was to create an aircraft that is clean, CO2-neutral, quiet, affordable, but – most importantly – that can take off and land vertically in various places,’ says Remo Gerber.

The aircraft will be supported by an app that people can use to book a flight, for example, from downtown in a city to somewhere in the suburbs. ‘Consumers use taxis as part of their day-to-day experiences – some more, some less – but we see Lilium’s aircraft as something that many people would be able to use,’ says Gerber, who compares the ratio between fare and distance travelled to ride-sharing services offered by Lyft and Uber.

Gerber ultimately see’s Lilium’s aircraft, which can fit on a rooftop, as an opportunity for convenient, high-speed connectivity in the cities of tomorrow. ‘It could take you from central London to anywhere in southern England within about 40 minutes,’ Gerber explains.

Read the full Q&A here.

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