News 16.03.2023

Need to Know

Introducing Spotify’s first AI DJ, canned matcha-based energy drinks land on supermarket shelves, and European parents want AI lessons in schools.

Introducing Spotify’s first AI DJ

Spotify AI DJ, US

US – On 22 February Spotify officially introduced its own artificial intelligence DJ generating playlists and radio-inspired transitions to its premium subscribers in the US and Canada. Inspired by the success of Discover Weekly, a playlist that feeds users’ recommendations based on their listening activity, and the annual Spotify Wrapped, the AI DJ will curate tunes and offer recommendations based on the user's data.

As well as announcing the next song, the AI DJ will share personalised anecdotes, such as ‘Up next, I went back for some of your old summertime favourites', or timely topics related to the playing song. The company’s personalisation technology, an AI text-to-speech engine, OpenAI, recorded sessions with the head of cultural partnerships, Xavier X Jernigan, to capture his tone of voice and emotions, and a writers' room made this possible.

In Connective Audio, we previously highlighted how consumers turn to aural online spaces to compensate for the lack of in-person interactions in a hyper-connected world. As Spotify’s AI DJ knows so much about each user, it hints at a new socialising experience generated by machine learning.

Strategic opportunity

Consumers have high standards of personalisation that go way beyond having an email addressed to their first name in a CRM campaign. How can you use machine learning and customer data to boost personalisation?

Canned matcha-based energy drinks land in supermarkets

PerfectTed, UK PerfectTed, UK
PerfectTed, UK PerfectTed, UK

UK – Matcha-based energy beverages are about to become widely accessible in the UK as PerfectTed canned matcha drinks land in supermarkets across the UK.

PerfectTed has created Europe’s first matcha energy drinks in a can, containing 80mg caffeine per serving, equivalent to a small cup of coffee, but delivering a slower and steadier energy release. The drink is made with ceremonial-grade antioxidant-rich Japanese matcha green tea, sparkling water and a touch of natural fruit juice to keep it sugar-free and 100% natural.

While this may sound like a beverage fit for a niche organic store, the brand hopes to make matcha a readily available caffeine alternative. After partnering with high street chains Joe & The Juice and Blank Street Coffee, PerfectTed has just been launched in Tesco supermarkets as part of its iconic Meal Deal.

We have been reporting on Generation Z waking up the energy category and seeking health-forward alternatives. The mainstream launch of PerfectTed’s natural functional drinks signals a wider shift and high-potential market.

Strategic opportunity

Consumers, especially younger audiences, have higher expectations, from on-the-go snacks to drinks. They seek approachable products that deliver on health, functionality and flavour, but which are also readily available to fit into busy lifestyles

Ashaya creates recycled sunglasses from waste crisp bags

India – Pune-based social enterprise Ashaya has launched Without, the first pair of sunglasses made entirely from recycled packets of crisps. Witnessing massive amounts of discarded crisp bags and chocolate wrappers in landfill, the founder and CEO of Ashaya, Anish Malpani, wondered how to recycle that specific waste material.

Crisp packets are made of multi-layered plastic (MLP), a ‘composite waste that is considered economically and technically impossible to recycle’, according to Malpani. That's why it took over two years for the start-up to find a way to use chemistry, engineering and mechanics to extract materials from the waste and convert them into high-quality products.

Ashaya has hired its own waste-pickers, owning its entire supply chain from trash to market. Buying a pair of Without is also about having an impact, as 10% of sales go towards keeping the kids of waste-pickers in school.

As discussed in our Re-usable Packaging market report, growing concern about plastic usage ignites innovative ideas and technologies such as Ashaya giving a new life to crisp bags.

Without by Ashaya, India

Strategic opportunity

There is potential to combine scientific innovation, sustainability and social justice, as tomorrow's consumers will demand all three. Investment in chemistry research is crucial to turn landfills into raw material supermarkets

Stat: European parents want AI lessons in schools

LEGO’s Laundrette of Dreams by Yinka Ilori. Photography by Mark Cocksedge, UK LEGO’s Laundrette of Dreams by Yinka Ilori. Photography by Mark Cocksedge, UK

Europe – A new report entitled The Future of Education 2023 by Vienna-based online tutoring platform GoStudent has found that only 6% of children are being taught about artificial intelligence (AI) at school. Over 12,000 parents and children across Europe (including the UK, Germany, Spain and Austria) participated in the survey. The research demonstrated that European education systems lack the right tools to help children navigate the changing technology landscape.

GoStudent found that 81% of children in the UK value integrating technology into their curriculum. Most parents agree with this statement, with 81% wanting their children to learn digital skills at school, but only 25% claim to know how to operate and use AI.

In our Education in 2030 report, we previously explored how hyper-connected living and longer lifespans are making people question the relevance of traditional schooling. Mastering AI will be a necessity for a new generation of pupils who will use it in and out of the classroom.

Strategic opportunity

The market for digital upskilling will grow steadily as keeping up with technological advances is necessary for all demographics. Businesses specialising in education and training should invest in in-house experts and build ambitious curriculums

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