Wiser! #109: Consumer brands continue to roll out emerging tech to connect with their customers and differentiate in the market. Audi, Mastercard, Estée Lauder, Davos (yes, Davos) are all testing new ways for customer engagement.
w/Wiser! #109 - Friday 20th January 2023
Welcome to all the new subscribers to Wiser! I’m still in the UK visiting family and friends, so no premium article this week. Normal service will resume next week, which coincides with Wiser!’s second birthday. 🎉🎊🎂
Building on the new format that keeps the size of the email shorter without sacrificing a ton of content, I’m continuing this week with Wiser! Things. Basically, the longer form articles are all laid out on a webpage which allows me to keep the length of this email shorter. There’s enough of the story in the newsletter to give you the gist, but if you want more, there’s a “continue reading” link to the webpage.
The purpose is simple, to give you the maximum amount of insight and information with the top stories and news from the tech economy.
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US Gov delay rollout of AR army headsets because of issues for the wearers
A week after Microsoft announced that 10,000 augmented reality headsets would be distributed to the US Army, Congress put a halt to it. According to Bloomberg, instead of ordering more of the Hololens headsets from Microsoft, the US gov has instead approved only $40 million for Microsoft to develop a new version that fixes some of the user issues with the headsets.
App Economy slows for the first time as users switch to subscriptions from gaming apps
The app economy slowed for the first time in 2022, with consumer spending down 2% to $167 billion. This is according to the much anticipated annual review by data analytics firm Data.AI (who is better known as App Annie - why did they change the name, I loved that name?)
The report also showed that TikTok lost its No. 1 position on the "Top Charts by Downloads" to Instagram in 2022. Meta’s efforts to copy-cat TikTok’s feature set with Reels appears to be working.
What else is happening in BigTech?
- Google and Nvidia shared concerns with the FTC as to how Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal would give it an unfair advantage in cloud, subscription and mobile gaming.
- The UK is looking at amending the Online Safety Bill to add criminal liability for social media company execs if they fail to met ‘duty of care’ rules. Sending the bosses of social media companies based in the US or China is easier said than done. 🤔 Should tech bosses be sent to jail?
- Read this analysis of Amazon’s cash-flow statements to get an inside perspective on what makes Amazon tick.
- Tencent Holdings said on Monday that it had fired more than 100 employees for bribery and embezzlement last year, with over ten referred to the police.
- Online publishing platform Medium, originally created by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, has announced that it’s joining Mastodon by creating its own instance to support its authors and their publications. Access to the instance will be offered through a Medium membership to become the first paid instance to come to Mastodon. More on Mastodon.
- Elon Musk faces $1.5 billion in interest payments relating to his purchase of Twitter. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported Twitter is offering brands up to $250,000 in free ads as it battles to win back advertisers. Twitter has seen a 40% decline in revenue under Musk.
- TikTok discussed sharing details of its algorithm with US regulators.
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Audi is the first car manufacturer to provide a Virtual Reality experience for passengers
Audi showcased the VR tech in action. Passengers wearing a VR headset from HTC Vive experience their own in-car entertainment using the holoride technology, which can detect the car's driving movements in real-time and adapt the virtual content as needed.
McDonald’s use AI and AR in Metaverse themed ad campaign
McDonald’s new media campaign to celebrate the Lunar New Year uses AI, augmented reality, 3D AR filters and has a metaverse theme. This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has created a cool virtual experience around culture and heritage. In 2022, the company created “McDonald’s Hall of Zodiacs: 2022 Lunar New Year by Humberto Leon” gallery in AltspaceVR and in Spatial.
Davos goes Metaverse!
The 2023 World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting is currently taking place in Davos. This year's theme is “cooperation in a fragmented world." To address this divide, Metaverse technologies are being used to create virtual, three-dimensional worlds that offer a new way to see, understand, and imagine our world. Davos has built "The Global Collaboration Village" as the first global, purpose-driven Metaverse platform that aims to enhance public-private cooperation and drive impact at scale.
Ready Player Me to create interoperable avatars
Ready Player Me is working with Unstoppable Domains to create digital identities that work across multiple platforms and games. What does that mean? Today, you might use your Google or Facebook account to log into multiple accounts across the Internet. You have a single, certified digital identity that removes the pain, repetition, and hassle of signing up for a new service.
What else is happening in Metaverse?
- Mastercard released a new AR experience to see Miami's Design District.
- The Seoul Metropolitan Government has officially launched its metaverse platform “Metaverse Seoul”, allowing users to visit the capital virtually and handle administrative tasks remotely.
- Pearson, the world’s largest publisher, announced a partnership with XR Bootcamp, to prototype VR language learning games.
- Apple indefinitely postponed its lightweight AR glasses, according to Bloomberg.
📚 Pearson’s plans for NFTs in the second hand book market.
Brand Strategies for the Metaverse is a unique collection of over 250 consumer brands and their strategies in the emerging technologies of Web3 and the Metaverse. From A to Z, the brands include:
Adidas, AIA Insurance, Alfa Romeo, Asics, Aston Martin, Atari, Audi, Bacardi, Bentley, Bose, Boss, Budweiser, Burberry, Cadbury, Campbell Soup, Carrefour, Champion, Chevrolet, Chipolte, Coca-Cola, DBS Bank, Decathlon, Dior, Disney, Dolce&Gabbana, eBay, Emirates, Evian, Ferrari, Ford, Gap, Gibson, Glenfiddich, Gucci, Heineken, Hennessy, HTC, Hyundai, JBL, Johnnie Walker, Kellogg's, Kia, Kraft Heinz, L'Oreal, Lacoste, Lamborghini, Lavazza, ...
Is this use of AI and Deepfake tech the future for CVs and job interviews?
Bartosz Pampuch, the ex-VP of Comarch, posted this on LinkedIn this week. It's a video of a 3D avatar he created to demo how an interactive resume could be used for a virtual interview process. The clue is in the "ex" above, because Pampuch had found himself on the job market, and he created this novel approach to find himself a new role.
New AI smartphone app will be able to decipher Japanese cursive manuscripts
A new AI app will allow the cursive forms to be "translated" into contemporary characters, allowing others to read text. This has huge implications for all historical and religious texts all over the globe. If the tech is successful, it is reasonable it could also be modified to interpret the authenticity of signatures.
Estée Lauder use AI and AR to assist the visually impaired put their make-up on
Estée Lauder has launched a new app in the UK that helps visually impaired users apply makeup. There are more than 2 million people living with visual impairment in the UK and this is the first use of technology to help them navigate the tricky job of applying make-up. The voice-enabled Makeup Assistant uses augmented reality and AI to analyse the makeup on a user’s face. The app gives audio feedback on which areas need to be touched up or blended.
Estée Lauder are not the first brand to introduce initiatives to help people with disabilities. Unilever, P&G and L'Oréal have also used tech to assist those in need of support.
What else is happening in Technology & Innovation?
- Getty Images is suing Stable Diffusion for scraping its content. Getty Images claims Stability AI ‘unlawfully’ scraped millions of images from its site. It’s a significant escalation in the developing legal battles between generative AI firms and content creators.
- VirtualSpeech has incorporated ChatGPT into a VR simulations to help with the training of "soft skills", like listening and empathy.
- CNET are in a bit of bother for over-relying on ChatGPT to write its copy.
- The best of AI at CES2023
- What happens when Tesla Autopilot crashes.
Wiser! is a weekly newsletter that makes sense of what's happening and what's coming next in the tech economy. From disruptive technologies, like blockchain, crypto and artificial intelligence, to emerging trends, like Web3 and the Metaverse. Plus there's a big focus on BigTech and the impact of social media.
The purpose of Wiser! is simple, to help you stay interesting, informed and one step ahead of your competition. Using easy and engaging language, I make sense of it all so that you don't have too.
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