Need to Know
25 : 09 : 19

Lampshades made from leaves, the world’s first 5G music lesson and why cash remains an important consideration for retail sales.

Jewellery that uses sunlight to reflect emotions

The Rayy

Switzerland – The Rayy is a new fine jewellery label that uses science and sunlight to create personal, emotive keepsakes.

While its collection of rings are simple in design, their surfaces have been meticulously finished to feature hidden messages that are only revealed when the designs catch the light. Crafted in solid gold, they were developed by Rayform, a company that combines materials and light ‘to tell branded stories’, in collaboration with the scientists at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

While Rayform’s technology is typically used as a method of authenticating goods such as watches or secure documents, in this instance it has been re-applied to create jewellery that can be personalised with consumers’ own messages. Tapping into the increasingly conscious mindset of modern luxury consumers, the rings are made with responsibly sourced gold and can be set with laboratory-grown diamonds.

As computational technology advances and physical goods become programmable, brands’ ability to craft products that interact with their surrounding environment will become increasingly prevalent.

A lighting collection made from vegetables

Veggie Lights by Studio Nir Meiri
Veggie Lights by Studio Nir Meiri
Veggie Lights by Studio Nir Meiri Veggie Lights by Studio Nir Meiri

London – A product design studio has collaborated with India-based designer Vaidehi Thakkar on a collection of lamps with shades made from red cabbage.

In a unique use of the vegetable, Veggie Lights is a sustainable lighting collection designed by Studio Nir Meiri, with materials developed by Thakkar. The process of transforming red cabbage leaves into a malleable new material begins with separating the leaves and soaking them in water-based adhesives, before treating them so that they obtain anti-fungal properties. The treated leaves are then moulded into shape and left to dry.

‘I think that unconsciously we want to be surrounded by nature, which is why we appreciate design that mimics nature,’ explains Nir Meiri. ‘Vegetables are an endless source of colours, geometrics and compositions, and this is what design is all about.’

As we explore in our Vegan Home Market, consumers are turning to animal-free homewares and services to ensure every aspect of their plant-based lifestyles are aligned with their ethics.

5G enables the world’s first multi-location music lesson

World's First 5G Music Lesson with Jamie Cullum

UK – Using 5G connectivity, the world’s first low-latency, live streamed music lesson has brought together musicians in London, Birmingham and Bristol.

Led by multi-instrumentalist Jamie Cullum and featuring six amateur musicians, the session was hosted by UK charity Music for All. Each artist was connected using a combination of the public 5G network from EE, the 5GUK testbed at King’s College London, and the Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol. Described as enabling an Internet of Skills, Music for All tapped into the potential of 5G to make the delay between a note being played in London and that sound being heard in Bristol or Birmingham as short as 10 milliseconds.

‘This landmark event demonstrates how 5G technology innovation carried out in our labs at the University of Bristol can revolutionise skills development and cultural experiences,’ explains professor Dimitra Simeonidou, director of the Smart Internet Lab. ‘This initiative will give us an insight into exciting digital futures.’

As 5G infrastructure spreads, low-latency connectivity is becoming more accessible worldwide, democratising access to services and boosting on-demand leisure and experiences. For more, read our Cloud Gaming microtrend.

Stat: Cash remains an important payment option

Cash payments continue to fall behind debit and credit card spending in the UK, according to the British Retail Consortium’s latest Payment Survey. While cash payments accounted for more than half of all transactions in 2013, this fell below 40% in 2018. The value of those cash transactions also decreased during the same period, from 28% to 20%.

Although cash payments have steadily declined, the British Retail Consortium emphasises that cash remains an important payment option in retail sales, especially for many vulnerable individuals who may not have access to digital payment services. In this increasingly cashless landscape, there is a need and an opportunity for brands to create more inclusive financial products and services.

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