News 01.02.2019

Need to Know

Uber enters the mindfulness market, Alibaba’s FinTech arm is the biggest in the world and Bose launches noise-cancelling technology for cars.

IAM Weekend wants to decolonise the internet

IAM Weekend 19: The Quantumness of Archipelagos

Barcelona – The theme for this year’s IAM Weekend is The Quantumness of Archipelagos, which sets out to understand the internet.

Over the course of the weekend, 400 creative thinkers will tackle the question: how can we decelerate, decolonise, and debrief the co-evolution of the internet(s), digital technologies, and societies? To aid this discussion, speakers including urbanist Tomas Diez and posthuman philosopher Dr Francesca Ferrando will address topics such as decelerating ecosystems, debriefing imaginations and browsing the ethics of design, foresight and AI.

‘The Quantumness of Archipelagos is a ‘what if?’ remix of ideas coming from philosophy, geography, queer theory, and quantum physics, shaped as an experimental thinking tool to deal with the complexity of our realities and a lens through which we can imagine alternatives, collectively,’ explains the co-founders of IAM, Lucy Black-Swan and Andres Colmenares.

LS:N Global will be reporting live from IAM Weekend 19, March 21st– 23rd. For more information on the speaker line-up and tickets, click here.

Grove Collaborative champions eco-conscious laundry

Grove Collaborative, US Grove Collaborative, US
Grove Collaborative, US Grove Collaborative, US

San Francisco –A subscription service for sustainable household and personal care products has launched its own line of laundry detergent, sold in a reusable glass bottle.

Grove Collaborative’s new plant-based detergent is designed to take pride of place in consumers’ homes, while reducing plastic waste. The ultra-concentrated liquid is sold in lightweight, recyclable pouches, and comes with a sleek, refillable glass dispenser. The dispenser itself uses an auto-dosing mechanism to prevent consumers from using too much product.

The start-up claims that this combination of responsible packaging and measured dispensing reduces up to 60% of plastic waste compared to standard detergents, which are typically sold in large, bulky plastic containers. Damaging laundry habits account for a significant proportion of clothing’s carbon footprint but, as we explore in our Conscious Aftercare microtrend, eco-conscious luxury brands are increasingly helping consumes to adopt better habits.

Uber is offering mindfulness on-the-go

UK – Through the partnership with mindfulness app Calm, riders can now access a series of guided meditations through the Uber app.

As a way to reintroduce relaxation and focus while on the move, the meditations and breathing exercises are available in various lengths, which match the most common lengths of Uber rides: three minutes, five minutes and 30 seconds, 12 minutes and 20 seconds, and 30 minutes.

According to Uber, some 54% of people use their ride to scroll through emails, social media and news. By providing free access to mindfulness services through its ride-hailing app, the brand is encouraging riders to use this time more consciously. ‘The short time you spend in an Uber is a perfect occasion to pause, slow your racing mind and regain balance,’ says Tamara Levitt, head of mindfulness at Calm.

Uber is finding creative ways to infiltrate the lucrative health and wellness market. Last year, the brand launched a service to transport elderly people to their hospital appointments.

Bose launches noise-cancelling technology for cars

QuietComfort by Bose

Global – The audio equipment brand is making its pioneering noise-cancelling technology available to vehicle manufacturers worldwide.

Building on Bose’s portfolio of sound management solutions, QuietComfort Road Noise Control (RNC) aims to efficiently minimise unwanted sound caused by driving over rough roads or grooved and uneven concrete. Using a vehicle’s existing sound system, the flexible electronic solution aims to deliver a quieter, more enjoyable driving experience for consumers.

Previously, the Bose automotive division has worked to reduce undesirable engine noise with its Engine Harmonic Cancellation technology, but eliminating external road noise has, until now, posed a greater challenge. QuietComfort Road Noise Control has particular benefits for electric vehicles that are, in the absence of a combustion engine, particularly susceptible to road noise.

Cars are not the only spaces where consumers are looking to reclaim peace and quiet. For more, read our Silent Homes microtrend.

Stat: Alipay dominates the global payments market

The Chinese mobile payment service is growing drastically, according to an announcement by Ant Financial, the financial arm of parent company Alibaba. Overseas markets such as India and Thailand have contributed to this growing user base, following Alipay’s partnerships with international smart payment services. According to the latest financial report, over 700 million of its users are in China, where an increasingly saturated market means Alipay has taken its services to Southeast Asia and Europe.

Ant Financial is the most valuable FinTech company in the world, with a valuation of $150bn (£114bn, €131bn). Following huge success in China, the e-commerce brand is doubling-down on its financial arm, looking to overseas markets to boost its loyal following.

Thought-starter: Should brands be allowed to advertise in space?

Vlad Sitnikov, project leader of StartRocket, discusses the start-up’s controversial plans to fill the sky with branded content via a constellation of networked satellites.

Russian company StartRocket is pioneering orbital display technology with a view to allowing brands to advertise in space. ‘Outer space is set to become accessible to humans, and we will inevitably transfer our habits and needs there – and one of our key needs is entertainment,’ says Vlad Sitnikov. ‘We want to develop not only advertising in space, but entertainment in the broadest sense.’

Sitnikov views densely populated cities as the key audience for this new kind of branded content. ‘For this new medium, we essentially need people to see these messages and be watching, so heavily populated area such as cities are ideal,’ he says. ‘That way, the messages will be shown to hundreds of people.’

As for how this affects the rights of civilians, Sitnikov says: ‘Our display and messages will only be visible for six minutes at a time. We don’t think it’s long enough to affect the needs and rights of the inhabitants.’

Read the full interview here.

StartRocket, Russia
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