Cool Things I’ve Seen This Week

A winner this week? Experience led retail. Bricks and mortar stores are having a resurgence with consumers wanting more than the anonymous online shop experience leaving people feeling slightly empty. Click and collect rates are soaring and savvy retail outlets are using technology to their advantage to increase footfall and dwell and some to just have some fun and let people ‘shop like a jedi’ (its pretty simple Leap Motion tech, but quite cool in this context).

Innovation comes in many forms and sometimes the best innovation comes from necessity. This project in Lagos is a fantastic example of just that. Africa has an energy problem and are waking up to the possibilities that renewable energy provides. This genius idea uses the kinetic energy generated by footballers on to power the floodlights. Projects such as these are the true innovations.

Microsoft have returned to the 90’s glory of buying/squashing things by acquiring a a school ready version of Minecraft. It will be ‘expanded upon’ and ‘integrated’ into the wider Minecraft family to deliver new features. Good to have them back.

Mixed week for Alphabet/Google/rich search folk. First it was announced that they made $31b in revenue from Android since they bought it back in 2005. At first look an average revenue of $3.1b a year looks good, but when you consider Apple made over $35b in Q4 of 2015 alone and the fact that Google pays Apple $1b per year to be their default search engine it kinda looks a little bleak.

Facebook world domination came under scrutiny this week with the Indian Government questioning the support for their Free Basics product that aims to ‘bring internet to the world’. They accused Facebook of deliberately misrepresenting the finding of a survey and users’ reactions to it. Ouch. In other news Facebook are looking to takeover the real time sports world that Twitter currently own with the launch of Sports Hub (just in time for the Superbowl). In my dystopian vision of the future the only two things that Facebook needs to win global domination are Sports and transaction facilitation. Stage one has begun, we are all doomed. 

Another big week for Uber. TfL gave them a pass to pretty much do what they want and their latest numbers show that due to their continued and unprecedented expansion they generated more cash in Q4 of 2015 than they did in the whole of 2014. So how does a company like Uber celebrate this? By announcing a tie-up with Airbus to allow you to Uber helicopters of course. I can’t even.

For those of you who a have a few minutes/hours and are interested in what Adobe think are the key digital trends for 2016, you can download a copy here. Spoiler Alert: Most of them are easily facilitated by Adobe’s vast array of products, who saw that one coming….? 

Stat of the week – 49% The increase in the amount of ads blocked by Google YOY (14-15)

And finally….

It must get a bit boring on the ISS so here is NASA astronaut Scott Kelly marking the 300th day onboard with a game of liquid table tennis. This sort of thing makes me love science.