Weekly Roundup: June 22

Uncategorized June 23, 2014 6:36 am

*As always, originally published on R/GA FutureVision. Happy reading!

Discussion: Amazon’s New Smartphone

  • The Fire Phone joins Amazon’s growing arsenal of hardware products; similar to the Kindle and Fire TV, the Fire Phone will offer users further incentive to stay loyal to Amazon’s ecosystem and vast array of services: “instant access to over 33 million songs, apps, games, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, magazines, and books, plus exclusive features like Mayday, ASAP, Second Screen, X-Ray, free unlimited photo storage in the cloud, and more.”
  • The Fire Phone has impressive specs, but the two features that are being touted the most by the company and press are Dynamic Perspective and Firefly. Dynamic Perspective takes advantage of the phone’s four front-facing cameras to track a user’s head to create an immersive, 3D experience. Firefly allows users to scan over 100 million items– a bar code, pair of pants, or piece of art– to learn more information or immediately purchase it. Amazon had previously introduced this functionality into Dash and its mobile shopping app, but the integration directly into the phone as a separate button will make it even easier for users to shop on Amazon. With the multiple cameras and ability to shop directly from the phone… Fast Company asks, “Is Amazon’s New Fire The Ultimate Mom Phone?”
  • To sweeten the deal, Amazon will offer a free year of Amazon Prime to buyers; free, 2-day shipping gives Fire users even more reason to make purchases with the phone. But what’s interesting is the exclusion of a special data deal– unlimited video and music streaming are big selling points for Prime, but because buyers are locked into an AT&T plan that doesn’t offer unlimited data, they won’t be able to enjoy the full benefits of Prime on their phones. This is an even bigger issue considering T-Mobile announced Music Freedom this week, which will allow subscribers to listen to music on popular streaming services without it counting towards their monthly data allowance.
  • For a quick recap: read the NY Times interview with Jeff Bezos on why Amazon made a smartphone.

The Digital World Cup

  • According to research firm Ovum, the World Cup is being broadcast to nearly 6 billion screens and 4.7 billion connected devices, with 57% of viewers watching on either PCs, tablets, or smartphones. The growth of second-screen for game watching is evident in the streaming records that are being broken; the Brazil vs. Mexico game broke peak traffic records on Akamai’s content-delivery network, and WatchESPN and Univision are also experiencing their highest number of viewers ever. All ESPN digital platforms have seen triple digit growth from 2010, showing just how quickly mobile and digital platforms have revolutionized the viewing experience. And we’re still in the group stage; as stakes get higher, logic states that digital activity will continue to climb.
  • Google is capitalizing on the billions of viewers around the world searching online or mobile devices for World Cup scores; together with ESPN, searches related to World Cup matches will return the scores as well as video highlights. This second-screen experience is similar to the one Google rolled out with American Idol earlier this year, and is a great use of the second-screen because it takes advantage of viewers’ natural propensity to use search while watching TV.
  • Social media and “real-time” response are also alive and well during the World Cup; R/GA has teamed up with Google to create real-time infographics of popular World Cup searches, and this video sums up the amount of social media activity the World Cup is generating.

Retail Trends: The Death of the Mall

  • The growth of omnichannel retail, and the ability to shop anywhere thanks to e-commerce and mobile devices, has led to the decline in the importance of malls. According to stats quoted in the The Guardian, 15-50% of remaining malls will be closed in the next few decades. What once was a bastion of youth culture, the malls of suburbia are slowly fading. Urbanization, the struggling middle class, and the desire for a convenient, personalized shopping experience are all trends attributing to the death of malls and big box stores.
  • But it isn’t all doom-and-gloom for big box stores; Quartz takes a look at how retailers ranging from WalMart to Burberry are revamping their physical stores, lessening their physical footprint and incorporating technology in stores to better accommodate today’s shoppers.
  • The definition of a store is also changing; fashion trucks, airports, and hotel lobbies are among the “third spaces” that are growing in popularity with shoppers. Fashion trucks offer on-demand, flexible shopping spaces that can move based on demand, airports reach a captive audience, especially vacation shoppers who are already primed to spend money, and hotel lobbies give shoppers an idea of what products will look like in a more natural setting.
  • Bonus: This data visualization shows how Americans spend money in real-time. Also, a visualization of why the country is battling an obesity epidemic.

New and Notable Reports:

  • PSFK’ s new report “The Real World Web” dives into The Internet of Things. The report covers three major themes, Community Net, Empathy Tech, and Conscious Planet. In Community Net, learn how technology is connecting the growing network of people, sensors, and wearable tech. In Empathy Tech, learn how technology is learning consumer behavior, and in Conscious Planet, learn how connected ecosystems can learn and adapt to situations.
  • Sparks & Honey have released a report on Generation Z. In “Meet Generation Z: Forget Everything You Know About Millennials,” the trend spotters dive into what sets Generation Z apart. For example, while Millennials champion the sharing economy, Generation Z is helping drive the makers’ movement.
  • Google partnered with Ogilvy for “When the Path to Purchase Becomes the Path to Purpose,” in which the path to purchase is compared to how consumers pick content. According to the report, consumers want products that are relevant and fit their passions.
  • BuzzSumo analyzed 100 million articles to create a best-practices list to creating content that gets shared (or gasp! has the best chance to go viral).

Long Reads:

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