Posts Tagged technology

One tech trend to rule them all

ai_robot_writing

I was going to write one of those “Top 10 tech trends for 2017” articles but you soon realise that they are all underpinned by one fundamental trend – the ever accelerating rise of artificial intelligence (AI).

As humans we generally abhor complexity. We want things to be easy, simple and straightforward. We want to do and experience more in less time and get frustrated when we have to overcome hurdles to achieve this.

Why should I have to dig around on the sofa to find the TV remote when I could just say “TV on”?

I want to get to my medical appointment on time, and I don’t want to leave the house only discover that I am stuck in a traffic jam and arrive an hour late. Why isn’t my watch giving me a heads-up when I should leave and as I get into the car, the car displays the route that guarantees I will get there on time?

While I am it, how about an automatic reservation of a parking slot just round the corner? In fact, why doesn’t the car just drive me there on it’s own? Hang on a sec, why am I even going to a medical appointment? Why aren’t my physiological metrics being continuously monitored and if something looks a bit off whack I’m getting some advice on how best to proceed?

All of this is of course possible today. Voice controlled assistants picked up their game in 2016 – Siri, Google Now, Cortana, Alexa – are starting on their path to ubiquity. However they’re still pretty dumb. In most cases, they are limited to taking and understanding simple requests and acting on them – “Countdown 10 minutes”, “Play Coldplay on Spotify”, “What will the weather be today?”, etc. etc.

They are a replacement user interface. They replace some touches and swipes in an app on your phone.

There is little by way of true delegation. Delegation is where we’re headed though and this is where our simple, hurdle-phobic souls may start to rejoice;

“Hi Siri, get all my family’s Christmas presents”.

I jest but as a delegated task it exposes some of the interesting challenges that need to be overcome.

The system needs to understand who is in your family, what does each of them like, what are you budgetary constraints, what makes a good Christmas present, what do they already have, can everything be delivered on time, is the family gathering somewhere, etc. etc. Endless questions each with strategies that they system could employ to get answers for and then figure out how to use.

For example, it could come back and ask you “How much would you like to spend overall?” or maybe it could look at your expenditure around Christmas for the last couple of years and take an educated guess. Maybe it could go and talk to members of your family, “Hey John, you seem to quite like fishing, anything you’ve been thinking of getting?”.

To successfully delegate a complex task, like getting all of your family’s Christmas presents, you would currently have to employ a personal shopper armed with the skills and experience to get the job done. You don’t want to have to micromanage your personal shopper; you might need to provide pointers and guidance but you would expect a human to learn and improve how attuned they are to your preferences. As AIs develop we’re increasingly going to be transferring human expertise – knowledge and skills – to these systems. In many cases these systems won’t be a single system entity but rather an ecosystem of collaborative systems embedded in our physical world and the cloud.

The economic and social ramifications are going to be immense.

Things are already well underway and few spheres of employment won’t be feeling the impact.

Uber self-driving cars have started transporting passengers in San Francisco.

IBM’s cognitive computer Watson is providing legal advice  and medical services. AIs are primarily found in a support role in such professions but we can expect even greater levels of delegation, particularly for more routine legal and medical proceedures.

Creative industries aren’t immune either with AI’s writing music and news articles.

What role does empathy and other human emotions play in all this? What are peoples’ needs and wants as our physical and digital worlds converge? The questions are endless and preparing for this future promises to be exciting and fascinating.

Never before has the technology required to develop AI applications been so accessible or available. With so many potential targets, the pace of startup activity is set to accelerate. For the digital titans like Google, Apple, Facebook and Uber having a top-tier AI engineering team has become table stakes. It’s going to be fascinating to see what emerges from the labs in 2017 as we progress from the challenges of connecting and communicating to those of coordinating and collaborating.

“Siri, please write me a blog post.”

Smart collar to translate dogs’ thoughts

WhatsYapp Innovation

Ever wondered what your dog is saying?

Well it looks like communicating with your dog will no longer be isolated to scenes from the movies.

Fetch is creating the appropriately named “What’sYapp” – a smart collar and messaging app that tells dog owners what their pet is thinking based on their sounds, movements, and activities. Fetch hopes that “What’sYapp” will help to strengthen pet and owner relationship. The app can helping owners improve their behaviors and routines for their pet’s well-being by better identifying when their pet is stressed, hungry, anxious, etc.

“What’sYapp” is one of 3 “Petnology” innovations from Fetch; the other 2 are called “CatQuest”, an interactive cat playground, and “PetPounds”, which rewards children for proper pet-care behavior.

The use of these motion-sensored wearables to translate the inner thoughts of dogs is not only exciting for pets and their owners but also for researchers in our industry. We see this new step as not only an exciting way to better understand the interesting relationship that consumers have with their pets, but also an exciting way to also get into the heads of other hard to understand segments – like children (see this very adorable footage of a toddler playing hide-n-go seek with a Go Pro strapped to his head).

We look forward to seeing Fetch’s moves to push forward the future of pet technology.

Can technology help people cope with death?

Angel Innovation

We’ve seen great movements towards designing new tools and technology to improve aging and the end of life experience for the generation of baby boomers­­; But how can technology and design aid those who are left behind after their loved one has already passed?

After the recent passing of my grandmother and uncle, I’ve observed the different ways different people grieve and cope with death.  One thing for sure is that death affects and changes you.

In the tech world, I have seen some interesting and borderline creepy innovations pop up surrounding the aftermath of death. For example, Eterni Me allows you to become virtually immortal, allowing loved ones to Skype an AI version of yourself built on your social media data that mimics your look and mannerisms.

The concept of talking to “dead people” is a bit unnerving to say the least, however I recently came upon this start-up that allows your to connect with your loved one beyond in a more charming style similar to the movie, PS I Love You, and the viral tear-jerker Medium article, When I’m Gone.

Safe Beyond allows their users to record messages that will be sent to their loved ones posthumously, like a digital time capsule.  They can be sent on special dates and can also be geo-tagged so recipients can receive them at certain locations. As illustrated in their video (below), a father can record a digital message that will be sent to his daughter on her wedding day, knowing he will not be there to walk her down the aisle. In this way, the deceased can still be present with their loved ones.

Safe Beyond’s site opens with a quote from the late Steve Jobs’ well-known Stanford commencement speech on the truths of dying and living.

And I’ll leave you with that.

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there.

And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs

Export Your Memory to the Cloud – Courtesy of Google

Google Search Life

When I saw what Google was up to, my mouth dropped at how fascinatingly creepy life was headed.

Google recently filed a patent for glasses that would record and index your real life experiences, export them to the cloud, and allow you to search them later.

Yes, you could ask questions like “What movies did I watch last month?” Or “What paintings did I see when I was on vacation in Paris?” and voilà. There your answer would be. It’s Google for life itself.

For those of you familiar with the Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror series (my favorite tech dystopian TV show), this is literally one step in the direction of the 2011 Episode 3, Season 1, The Entire History of You, which because of it’s popularity, is now slated to come out as it’s own sci-fi thriller.

The episode follows a man whose implant allows him to capture his entire life, with the ability to play back and zoom into any moment in front of his eye or on a shared screen. The technology brings up various ethical, philosophical, and psychological issues, from privacy, machine/human boundaries, memories used as weapons, and the importance of memory’s malleable nature for our emotional and psychological well-being.

Despite the grim possible futures elaborated on in Black Mirror, there are many places where we can see how searchable memories can prove to be useful in the near and the more distant future.

Eye Witness Accounts
As we know now, eye-witness accounts are horribly unreliable, proven to be susceptible to false memory and misidentification, leading to almost 70% of wrongful convictions. What if during court, you could just rewind to the eye witness’s memory of the particular incident as opposed to relying on their testimony?

Security
If there was a building break-in, instead of asking every guard during the shift of the incident to recall if they have seen anyone who fits this certain profile, investigators could simply search the faces of everyone who had entered the building from 7pm-9pm and fit the particular description, making it easier and faster to identify potential suspects, as well as the criminals themselves.

Home Care
“Where did I last put my keys?” This new technology could aid the elderly or those suffering from memory problems from disease or injuries to be more autonomous in their daily life.

Education
A classmate could export and transfer his memory from a class or workshop to a fellow classmate who is out due to the flu. Recordings of lectures are already provided by many universities to their students to learn remotely. Curious students could also search and view memory clips of professionals in interested fields to get a real life glimpse into their day and life.

Market Research
Researchers are great at collecting and synthesizing data from different places (whether it’s from surveys, social media, or from face to face interviews) and then extracting meaningful insights to inform business strategies.  Imagine how much deeper and more quickly researchers could dive if they were able to sift through a wide variety of footage taken of consumers during digital ethnography, getting that qualitative richness and depth at big data speed and scale.  We’ve already seen existing technology being leveraged to speed up the research and innovation process, such as with mobile surveys, web cam interviews, and agile online tech tools like our own Idea Accelerator.

Google has been at the forefront of many exciting and innovative initiatives, from their self driving car to Google Glass to Project Loon. And like how Google Search online has completely transformed the way we work, think, and live (for good and for worse), it will also be fascinating to see how a Google Search for real life will transform not only the many industries in which we work but us as humans (for good and for worse).

Introducing Idea Accelerator

Idea accelerator GIF - repeat

To sign up for a demo of the Idea Accelerator, click below:

Sign up

We know that exploring and testing ideas and concepts globally can be time consuming and expensive.

That’s why, we created Idea Accelerator, an online platform that allows us to explore and iterate concepts, packaging designs and communications with consumers globally and in real time – so you can accelerate idea development and your innovation pipeline.

This proprietary approach enables us to recruit, quality and interact with respondents in multiple markets concurrently. Using Idea Accelerator we can moderate a detailed discussion with respondents in real time, exploring likes, dislikes and ways to improve and refine an idea or concept. Study participants can interact with visual, written or video ideas or concepts in detail via desktop, tablet or mobile and response data is tagged and captured for analysis and aggregation for each individual idea or concept.

About the Idea Accelerator:

  • Accelerates the innovation process (a multiple market concept study can be done in hours vs. weeks and months with traditional approaches)
  • Identifies specific elements that are working and not working in a idea and concept and why
  • Enables “in the moment” crafting of ideas and concepts with consumers
  • Allows for immediate idea and concept testing and retesting — can get ideas or concepts in front of consumers within the hour
  • Improves success rate in quantitative concept testing
  • Inexpensively enables exploring and testing ideas and concepts in early development
  • Removes the “test, pass, fail and replace” model currently often used to craft concepts
  • Reduces cost of failure

 

At antedote we use proprietary technology and multidiscipline thinking and enjoy partnering with our clients to move their products and services forward, taking ideas from concept through development and launch.

Proud to be part of the GRIT Top 50 Most Innovative Market Research Companies

GRIT50 Innovative Companies
Since 2010, GRIT has tracked which firms are perceived as the most innovative within the global market research industry. This year, we are excited to debut on the 2015 Top 50 List of Most Innovative Companies in Market Research.

Next to the top 50, the GRIT report also digs deep into what top factors influence the perception of innovation by industry professionals, and have found, unsurprisingly, that Methodology, the Cutting Edge, and New Technology rank at the top. With the recent releases of our latest proprietary tech tools, such as Idea Accelerator, we are thrilled to be one of the newest agencies to join the Top 50 GRIT list. You can see the full report with thought provoking commentary by major industry players on what makes a company innovative here.

3 lessons marketers can learn from tech’s open source movement

Unlock Open Source

Open source practices may seem counter-intuitive at first glance. Why would you offer universal access to your product’s design or blueprint for others to build and improve upon?

In Silicon Valley, these open source practices are well established in software development with heavy hitters like Google, Microsoft, Netflix and Amazon having released millions of lines of code to the public and hosted hundreds of projects for the purpose of making greater advancements at faster speeds. It was actually through this development model that Android’s open operating system has gone on to become the world’s largest computing system.

Before you entirely dismiss this development model as one that is only viable for software development, I encourage you to consider the method to the “madness” (Tesla did as they took an unprecedented step of opening up all of their patents in an effort to grow the EV category at large). There are lessons that we, as marketers, can take from the open source movement, and apply to our innovation and product development processes.

Lesson 1: Make your consumers work for you
In the open source model, the users of the system are seen as co-developers, who all have access to the code and can build upon it and fix all the bugs in the software at a faster rate. What if you were to leverage consumers as co-creators of a product/concept brought in to offer feedback early in the development process?

Traditionally consumers are brought in closer to launch to screen ideas, concepts or prototypes that have already been almost completely fleshed out. At this stage, the consumer feedback solicited is often reactionary and limited to only the aspects of the product/service that can be optimized or tweaked versus an overhaul.

Consider the value of inviting consumers to feedback earlier in the process, where there is still flexibility to actually change and adapt the product based on insights from research. Instead of having a functional conversation with consumers about which features, characteristics, functionalities they like/dislike, brands can leverage initial ideas as stimulus to engage in deeper, more meaningful conversations to unearth consumers’ unrealized and unspoken needs, behaviors and motivations. These data points will better inform and guide development as they are grounded in actual needs and behaviors. More so, by bringing consumers into the development process, where they are encouraged to co-create, it starts establishing an emotional connection as they start to feel vested in the actual product and brand itself.

Lesson 2: Greater exposure for better optimization (and reduced risk)
With the open source model since the code is accessible by all users, it is continuously analyzed by a large community, which results in more secure and stable code. What if traditional NPD opened their process to include a bigger consumer community to constantly analyze, iterate and optimize an idea?

Currently consumer research does not live continuously along the traditional stage gate process, so there are a lot of assumptions (albeit informed) being made from idea creation to concept validation through to actual launch. By increasing the touchpoints for consumer feedback throughout the journey will help you optimize your idea, and also reduce the risk of launching a product that will not resonate or is not relevant to consumers.

Establishing this iterative and constant learning partnership with consumers can result in a great deal of value add for you as an organization. As it:

  • Leads to learnings that can help steer product development and design without slowing down the process
  • Provides data to help encourage internal buy in and alignment
  • Sparks ideas to launch entirely new initiatives to address the consumer and market needs that come out of this iterative research approach.


Lesson 3: Leverage barriers to identify future opportunities
Companies will often pivot to an open source model to crowd source solutions that they need addressed quickly or haven’t been able to solve internally or when they are limited in resources be it funding or audience instead of having to close down and letting everything they have built go to waste. What if you applied this approach to NPD for the ideas and prototypes that never made it or were deemed unfeasible to identify the parts that can be leveraged and built upon?

Even if an idea or prototype doesn’t perform as well as you may have hoped, by inviting consumer feedback along the product development journey allows a brand the ability to reposition the product. This helps you still leverage the technology and investment that have gone into the initial development by figuring out how to redirect resources and development based on consumer insights and market trends to lead to actual commercial opportunities.

At first glance, the open source movement may appear to be only applicable to the software development, however, there are practices that all marketers, no matter your vertical, can apply to the NPD process. By truly treating the consumer as a co-creator and inviting feedback from them along the journey from conception to launch will allow you to learn faster and make smarter decisions based in insight and data to get to end products that truly solve for unmet, unrealized and constantly evolving consumer and market needs.

To learn about antedote’s new platform, Idea Accelerator, that allows you to explore and iterate concepts early in the development journey with consumers globally and in real time, please click below:

Learn more

MRMW Awards 2015: Best New Technology Finalist

Best New Technology MRMW Award

We are thrilled to announce that Antedote has been shortlisted as a MRMW Award Nominee 2015 in the category: Best New Technology.

We look forward to joining the other nominees at the 2015 MRMW Award Dinner in New York on May 20th  for the final results!

To learn about antedote’s new platform, Idea Accelerator, that allows you to explore and iterate concepts, packaging designs and communications with consumers globally and in real time, please click below:

Learn more

New Wearables Restore a Lost Connection

sensorlumolift

Technology has a track record of disconnecting us from our bodies. From 9-5, we are hunched over and typing away at our computer desks; during lunch, we crane our necks to check messages on our smart phones; and even when we get home to relax, we stare into our iPads to watch Netflix. Unfortunately, the longer we live in the world of our screens, the longer we are absent from and unaware of the needs of our own bodies, reinforcing bad habits for our health and well being.

In the past few years, researchers have been studying the impact of the physical self on mental and emotional states. You’ve probably heard about how body posture can boost confidence, helping you to perform better in an interview or to nail your next presentation. Or you’ve seen this map of emotions on the body, which is just another example of how emotions are connected to biological responses.

But what’s most interesting is that technology is stepping in to enable people to reconnect with their bodies, a separation which you can say it is responsible for in the first place.

Take, for example, the new wearable device Spire. When clipped to your bra strap or belt loop, it detects when you are tense, and sends notifications to your phone to remind you to step away and breathe. It tracks your breathing patterns and data for you over time, and then actually makes recommendations for how to make real-time changes to your habits. “You’ve been sitting for over an hour, perhaps you should stretch your legs”

There are similar apps out there (Lumolift, for example detects bad posture, and reminds you to sit up straight) that are also trying to take a hold of the tech-wellness space and restore the connection between the mind and the body. This combined with power poses is a recipe for physical health and mental success.

While I’m not sure yet which approach I’d personally take for reconnecting with my physical responses to stress from the many options out there, as a researcher I’m most interested in what the reception of these apps says about shifts in our mindset as a culture, and the fresh ground they are tapping into. There’s a return to the natural and to the balanced, and it’s not exactly tech-free. The shift shows just how deeply dependent on technology we are, that we need to use technology to connect with our most basic functions – like breathing and sitting without hunching over.

There’s still a lot to be explored when it comes to mind-body connection and the role of technology, and I’m excited to see what research will uncover next, and how it will be implemented into other consumer-facing devices.

antedote is an award-winning strategic insights and innovation consultancy based in San Francisco, and we have helped many of the world’s leading brands like Pepsico and Unilever to garner deeper insights about their consumers and identify opportunities to grow their brands. 

To learn about antedote’s new platform, Idea Accelerator, that allows you to explore and iterate concepts, packaging designs and communications with consumers globally and in real time, please click below:

Learn more

Virtual Reality takes you inside the mind of a schizophrenic

Viscira_VR_2

The internet is flooding with the buzz around virtual reality technology and the huge tech giants who are trying to dominate the space. Facebook bought Oculus Rift. Samsung launched Gear VR. Microsoft debuted HoloLens.

But in the midst of all the chatter, I had came across an innovative use of virtual reality that piqued my interest because it was used for purposes beyond gaming culture, beyond better ways to make shooting zombies more realistic.

What was refreshing about this project was that the virtual reality headset was used to help build empathy for a stigmatized group who is hard to understand.

In the Daily Dot article, Selena Larson describes her uneasy but eye-opening experience using the Oculus Rift in a simulation project called “Mindscape”. Viscira designed the simulation for a pharmaceutical company to help their potential clients understand how schizophrenia feels like. And unlike audio tests or videos, the immersive experience produces a deeper and longer impact on the user.

In the simulation, Larson walks into an elevator for a job interview and hears whispers inside her own head and from strangers, telling her “You will fail”. And even though she knew the entire experience was fake, she couldn’t help but feel completely uncomfortable, even after the headset was taken off.

With the recent hype around virtual reality, I look forward to seeing how the technology will be leveraged in industries like healthcare, pharma or research. Beyond gaming and entertainment, industries which most people associate with virtual reality, there are huge opportunities for virtual reality and other emerging technologies be used to solve tough industry challenges, gain deeper insights into people’s behaviors, and help us transform the way we think and live as humans.

 

antedote is a strategic insights and innovation consultancy based in San Francisco, and we have helped many of the world’s leading brands like Pepsico and Unilever to garner deeper insights about their consumers and identify opportunities to grow their brands. 

To learn about antedote’s latest innovation and insight tools, please click below for a free demo:

Learn more

Podo: In-the-Moment Capturing for Research

insights research camera

insights camera

Good-bye selfie stick!

Podo, the world’s first ‘stick and shoot’ app-controlled camera was released on Kickstarter, garnering much media attention from the likes of Tech Crunch, PSFK, GigaOm, and The New Web.

Podo is compact enough to slip into your pocket, and allows you take instant photos, videos, time lapses and double exposures by just sticking the small device on to any solid surface (wood, glass, cement, etc.) and then using the free app to snap (see the video below). Its popularity and need is evident by the campaign reaching its goal of $50,000 in just 16 hours.

Podo has already garnered several awards including “Top Startup” at the Plug and Play Accelerator and a “Global Brains Award” at the Global Brains Summit, but [President] Eddie Lee most looks forward to seeing how people use Podo. “I’m really curious to see what other people come up with, when cameras aren’t limited by the reach of our arms,” he says. “I think this will allow people to be creative and spontaneous.” – PSFK

In research, self-recording by consumers is usually limited to at-home environment where they can self- record using their laptop camera or to usually blurry, unusable footage with their mobile phone camera that can only capture as far as their arm goes.

Now with the availability of the Podo, researchers can expand the scenarios from which they can retrieve photos and footage from consumers. As we move as an industry towards real-time research, simple devices like Podo that encourage living in and capturing the moment will be tapped by researchers as a quick and easy tool to analyze human behavior in its entire context.

We are also excited to see what other creative uses other industries will make from the Podo.

Support Eddie Lee’s Kickstarter campaign here.

antedote is a strategic insights and innovation consultancy based in San Francisco, and we have helped many of the world’s leading brands like Pepsico and Unilever to garner deeper insights about their consumers and identify opportunities to grow their brands. 

To learn about antedote’s latest innovation and insight tools, please click below for a free demo:





Learn more



Binaural Audio Technology

The popular tech outlet Verge released a fascinating video demonstrating binaural recordings.

Different from mono, stereo, and surround sound, binaural audio is truly three dimensional and creates an immersive experience where the listener actually feels like she is physically in the scene that is taking place.

The Verge video takes you on a walk through Times Square, New York, and you can hear people bustling and talking past your left and right.

It also takes you to a virtual barbershop, where you can hear the barber snipping your hair behind you and on the sides. The feeling is oddly creepy when you turn around to see no one there.

Fascinated by the video, I was surprised to find out that binaural audio is actually a century old technology dating back to the late 1800’s. It’s recent hype however is largely due to its needed role in creating the ultimate immersive experience during the virtual reality battles (Facebook’s Oculus VR, Samsung’s Gear VR, Microsoft’s HoloLens).

At antedote, we thrive on leveraging technology to uncover new insights and drive innovation for our clients. As virtual reality becomes even more refined and more realistic, with moves to incorporate 3d audio, researchers can look forward to leveraging the technology to create truly immersive experiences for subjects in conceptual scenarios, without spending money or time creating physical prototypes.

So sit back, put on your headphones, and enjoy the video (above).

You will be amazed by how much you can trick your brain to feel like you are in a place that you are not.

antedote is a strategic insights and innovation consultancy based in San Francisco, and we have helped many of the world’s leading brands like Pepsico and Unilever to garner deeper insights about their consumers and identify opportunities to grow their brands. 

To learn about antedote’s latest award-winning innovation and insight tools, please click below for a free demo:

Learn more

Dieting in a world of technology and “holistic health”

trends

trends

For the first time in about 15 years, I’m on a diet.

This diet is loud, proud, and unashamed of what it us. Unlike the “cleanses” and “detoxes” I’ve undertaken in the past decade, this time I’m happy to call it what it is. Last night my friend offered me some pizza, and I just looked at him with disdain. “You know I’m on a diet”.

My open acceptance of my current diet was spurred on by an office weight loss challenge as part of DietBet, a website/app that runs “games”, challenging participants to lose a set percent of their body weight by a specific date. In our challenge, each player puts down $30 that they will lose 4% of their body weight in 4 weeks. All weigh-ins are private and digital, using code words of the day and pictures taken in mirrors to ensure that players aren’t cheating. By the final weigh-in, if you haven’t lost the weight, you get no money back – and those who have lost it get to split the pot.

How is DietBet getting away with encouraging dieting-out-loud, in this era of love-your-body and holistic wellness? They’re able to safely break the rules by tapping into some of the existing mega trends of the moment:

  • It’s completely curated by and for the person. There are no rules, no pace you have to follow, no regimented food lists or exercise plans. Each player has to decide how they want to play the game.
  • It’s also self-motivated. No one is checking in on you or pushing you (except the “Daily Carrot” emails); players have to push themselves to the finish line.
  • On the other hand, it leverages the power of social, encouraging folks to share their experiences and empower each other with motivation.
  • It challenges players to create stakes, betting real money on tangible results – raising the importance of the challenge for each player.
  • It also gamifies the challenge, with titles and prizes for inviting friends and weighing in.

By leveraging these trends, DietBet is making it okay to diet again, and, for me, it’s certainly taking some of the shame away from “diet”. At least now I can tell it like it is – to my friends, and to myself. Plus, I’m well on my way to my goal!

How can your category break some of its “rules” by tapping into current beliefs and trends?

Image credit: flickr user camknows (cc)

antedote is a strategic insights and innovation consultancy based in San Francisco, and we have helped many of the world’s leading brands like Pepsico and Unilever to garner deeper insights about their consumers and identify opportunities to grow their brands. 

To learn about antedote’s latest innovation and insight tools, please click below for a free demo:

Learn more

Hacking the Microwave: Innovation in the Kitchen

The microwave has stayed pretty much the same since it was first created over 40 years ago.

We came across this creative hack for a “better microwave” by Mark Rober who was tired of having to remove his frozen burrito from the microwave and cut it open just to check if was thoroughly heated, and if was not, to put it back in again.

Been there? We know we have, and so we were excited by his solution.

Check out the short video above as Rober shows how he uses infrared technology to innovate the way we microwave.

At antedote, we love tapping into existing technologies to create fresh solutions to challenges we have in the field, and enjoy following fellow innovators like Rober hack together clever but simple innovations for age old problems.

heat-wave-map-phone-136396120231102601

Innovation_Microwave

antedote is a strategic insights and innovation consultancy based in San Francisco, and we have helped many of the world’s leading brands like Pepsico and Unilever to garner deeper insights about their consumers and identify opportunities to grow their brands. 

To learn about antedote’s latest award-winning innovation and insight tool, please click below for a free demo:

Learn more

A Gastronomical Virtual Reality Experience

00ProjectNourished

Gastronomical Innovation

Project Nourished by Kokiri Labs is a fascinating project that attempts to re-create the full sensory experience of eating, sans the actual food. Intended to help people with allergies and dietary restrictions, the project is a curious exploration into how different technologies can be combined to simulate the eating experience.

By combining an Oculus Virtual Reality headset, food detection utensils, motion sensor, and aromatic diffusers, Kokiri Labs hopes to allow people with food related illnesses to eat to their heart’s content, without the negative consequences.

Innovation_Sensors

Allergic to seafood, but want to eat prawns? No problem!

Diabetic, but want to eat a strawberry pie? Why not!

Innovation_Food

The project was actually inspired by the Lost Boy’s imaginary feast scene in the heart warming 1990s movie, Hook (check out the clip below).

Although a seemingly far-fetched solution, we love how this idea taps into the latest technology and pushes for innovative ways of thinking to solve problems. We look forward to seeing how this project evolves and how other labs use emerging technologies like Virtual Reality to solve other existing challenges.

antedote is a strategic insights and innovation consultancy based in San Francisco, and we have helped many of the world’s leading brands like Pepsico and Unilever to garner deeper insights about their consumers and identify opportunities to grow their brands. To learn about antedote’s latest award-winning innovation and insight tool, please click below for a free demo:

Learn more

Top 10 Sites to Inspire Innovation

Inspiring Innovation

Inspiring Innovation

When caught in the daily grind, it is easy to get stuck in a rut. Where do you go to breathe fresh perspective into your work?

Here are our 10 top favorite sites that we turn to to get our creative juices flowing and inspire us to think outside the box. Enjoy!

(1) Notcot : Visually stunning, creative, innovative, compelling

(2) Zen Habits : Mentally clear through the clutter of the day

(3) MIT Technology Review : Understanding the ever-changing tech-driven world

(4) Seth Godin’s Blog : Thought-provoking words for marketers

(5) Fubiz : The best in contemporary creative culture

(6) Life-Edited : Moving towards efficiency

(7) Behance : Showcases the work of artists around the world

(8) Pinterest : Beautiful snapshot of our culture in all categories

(9) Imgur : The internet’s most popular visual stories

(10) Swiss-Miss : Curated quotes, products, and talks that will warm the heart

Big Hero 6 – Celebrating the Maker

Big_Hero_6_Innovation_Maker

I finally watched Disney’s latest animation hit based after the Marvel comic, Big Hero 6, which takes place in the amalgamous city “SanFransokyo” and stars a talented 14 year old robotocist, Hiro Hamada, and his budding friendship with his robot, Baymax.

Beyond the pride of seeing recognizable structures from the city I love and live in, I absolutely enjoyed and appreciated the beautiful storytelling of what can happen when passion, purpose, and an innovative mindset are used for the betterment of society.

Unlike other super heroes of past animated Disney movies (like Incredibles), this team is a quirky group of self-acclaimed “nerds” from the pseudo “SF Tech of Institute”.  They don’t have super powers like super strength or invisibility. Their super powers come from their intellect, curiosity, creativity, and their commitment to innovation.

True markers of a Maker.

Makers, the global movement of independent hackers, artists and inventors creating their own goods, are being recognized for pushing the barriers of innovation. Makers are stretching category definitions and changing consumers’ relationships with and expectations of products and services – from the taste and sensory experience through to the emotional connection and layers of engagement.

Last year, we talked about how channeling a Maker mindset and using their principles can spark innovation within your company. Check out our tips on How to Apply Maker’s Principles Within Your Organization.

It is refreshing to see these principles portrayed in the mainstream by the animated characters of Disney’s latest hit. From the first scenes, we are introduced to the team’s love for technology: Wasabi’s addiction to lasers, Go-Go’s passion for magnetic levitation, Honey Lemon’s experimentation with chemical reactions, and of course protagonist Hiro’s obsession for robotics.

We can be excited that the next generation of kids can look up to and admire the new modern day superheroes of our time. And they will not be the one donning capes and masks. They will be the inventors and the tinkerers, innovating a better future for society through their creativity and passion.

BIG HERO 6

antedote is a strategic insights and innovation consultancy based in San Francisco, and we have helped many of the world’s leading brands like Pepsico and Unilever to garner deeper insights about their consumers and identify opportunities to grow their brands. To learn about antedote’s latest award-winning innovation and insight tool, please click below for a free demo:

Learn more

Travel Innovation: Virtual Reality Takes Off

022-qantas-and-samsung-introduce-virtual-reality-experience-for-travellers

An industry first, Qantas Airways together with Samsung recently introduced a 360 degree Virtual Reality experience for their travelers. Now on select flights, First Class travelers will be able to be transport to any virtual world (imagine immersing yourself in your favorite blockbuster movie or exploring tourist sites of your final destination before you even land) during their long 14 hour flight from Australia to Los Angeles.

At antedote, we thrive on tapping into the newest technology to uncover new insights and drive innovation for our clients. That is why we love watching how different sectors integrate emerging technology and are following the evolution of this exciting new medium as it moves from gaming to travel.

As virtual reality becomes even more refined and more realistic, researchers can also look forward to leveraging the technology to create immersive experiences for subjects in conceptual scenarios, without spending money or time creating physical prototypes.

3-qantas-and-samsung-introduce-virtual-reality-experience-for-travellers

Kodak’s New Immersive Video

1423005185_kodak-pixpro-sp360-product-photos-01

Kodak recently introduced the Kodak Pixpro SP360, which can capture a 360 degree view of an event.

Although the gadget could still use some refinement, as researchers, we are excited for the possibilities that the Kodak Pixpro SP 360 will bring to the field. Other recording devices like the GoPro can only record one aspect of an action at a time, but with the palm-sized Kodak PixPro SP360, researchers can capture what a person is doing as well as their own reaction in the surrounding environment. Around the table group interviews would also be possible to record, documenting the entire group’s dynamic. In the future, immersive video will be a great tool for researchers to use to analyze human behavior in its entire context.

 

Can Sound Wash Your Clothes? Dolfi Laundry Innovation

Can sound wash your clothes?

With the Dolfi, it is possible! German entrepreneur Lena Solis introduced the “next gen washing device” that uses ultrasonic technology to clean your clothes.  This portable soap-sized gadget blasts off the dirt from your clothes sans washing machine within only 30 minutes. Perfect for traveling or getting stains off a delicates that you would not want to destroy in the washer, Dolfi is set to change the way we clean our clothes.

The Dolfi is a fantastic example of leveraging technology pervasive in certain verticals (ultrasound is frequently used in medicine for sonography or surgical equipment cleaning) to solve a problem in an unrelated vertical (in this case, household laundry).

At antedote, we stay abreast of creative mash-ups like these because we believe in the power of tapping into existing technologies in new ways to drive innovation for our clients.

Leveraging Social Media to Find Missing Children

amberalert-Facebook-social-media

I love watching organizations from different sectors form solid partnerships for the betterment of society.

Most recently, Facebook joined the list of channels supporting AMBER (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) and became the first social media platform to partner directly with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

AMBER alerts have been received by communities through radio, television, billboards, and texts. Now if a child goes missing in your area, you will receive a geo-targeted alert notification in your Facebook Newsfeed with the child’s photo and relevant info.

Facebook’s trust & safety manager, Emily Vacher, comments on what inspired the partnership:

We’ve noticed over the last couple of years that when kids go missing, people started posting about this on their Facebook pages to share information within their own communities. And we saw a lot of successes out of this. Kids have actually been brought home because of the information people shared on Facebook.

This is a great example of how observing existing human behavior and leveraging existing technology can achieve a greater goal.

I hope to see more partnerships like this recent one form in the near future. As more organizations and companies recognize and invest in the power of social media and the newest forms of technology, we can create a better world together.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Innovations of CES 2015

It’s that crazy time in January where herds of technophiles truck to Las Vegas to check out the latest innovations at the biggest tech show of the year. Here is our list of the Good, the Bad, and the downright Ugly gadgets at CES 2015.

The Good

3040411-slide-s-1-withings-swiss-made-fitness-tracker

Withings Activité Popo: a fashionable smart watch that you actually would want to wear.

intel.web.720.405
Curie: Intel’s magic button that is super small and packed with sensors and Bluetooth. Will the marriage of fashion + tech finally take off?

roost-smart-batteries-for-detectors-600x486
Roost Battery: this battery turns any device into a connected one, like your smoke alarm.

nixie
Nixie: the evolution of the selfie stick is apparently the wearable drone. Now you can properly document your rock-climbing adventures for Facebook.

The Bad 

Information sent from a Parrot Pot is shown on a tablet during the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas
Parrot Pot: the way overly connected potted plant.

CES 2015
Baby Glgl: $100 smart baby bottle to tell you… how much you’re feeding your baby.

The Ugly

belty
Belty, the bulky smart belt that tightens and loosens to match your waistline needs. Thanksgiving dinners- no problem!

rocketskates1
Rocketskates: go 10 miles per hour with these anything but discreet skates.

Pizza Hut Innovation: The “Subconscious Menu”

PIZZAHUTPIC

Pizza Hut’s Menu Innovation

It’s always fun to see new technology being used in new and unexpected places. One fascinating area where the latest eye-tracking technology is being experimented with is at the pizza joint.  Pizza Hut recently joined Swedish Company Tobii Technology in launching a new menu innovation called the “Subconscious Menu”. The technology syncs with the consumers’ eyes, and based on where their eyes had rested the longest on a tablet screen that displays the chain’s 20 most popular ingredients, it creates your “perfect pizza” in 2.5 seconds, without the consumer ever having to say a word. Pizza Hut claims that they currently have an astounding success rate of 98%.

As eye-tracking becomes more refined and gets more traction in marketing, we are excited for the infinite possibilities that will emerge when leveraging new technology in research to discover more insights into human behavior.

Tech and Fashion Innovation

snakeskin

Wearables have been getting a lot of attention lately – from the Google Glass to Apple Watch to Jawbone and FitBit. Intel will soon be joining these brands in offering a wearable bracelet. While the actual functionalities have yet to be disclosed, Intel has partnered with the luxe boutique, Opening Ceremony, which is known for its carefully curated unique merchandise from up and coming designers. The result is a beautiful, snakeskin bracelet that doesn’t have the traditional tech semiotics of a wearable.

This is a great move on Intel’s part, knowing that the cold, non-stylish appearance of wearables in the marketplace is a huge barrier to accessibility. And Intel is not alone in their approach. It seems to be the route that a few tech companies are taking with FitBit and Tory Burch, and Google Glass and DVF, or even if you look at the design of the new Apple watch, which is less traditional techy looking and more stylish in appearance.

It’s interesting to see how tech and fashion is positioning wearables at the intersection of form and function. It’s definitely a hook that will appeal to a certain segment of the population. Consumer insights will play a significant role in unpacking more hooks, particularly the more implicit and emotional thoughts, feelings, associations and ultimately motivations consumers have surrounding wearables to encourage mainstream adoption. The partnerships between fashion names and tech demonstrate how quickly wearables will soon be a more integral part of everyday life. This is great news for researchers as we have more tools to gather data and connect with consumers in real time/in the moment situations, which can only result in deeper insights.

Mind Control is now a reality

Philips-Accenture-proof-of-concept-ALS-patienten-2

Mind control is now a reality.  Forget voice commands and eye gestures, now there’s a way to change the channel of your TV, answer a call, or turn off the lights simply through brain commands.  Philips, Accenture, and Emotiv Insight Brainware have partnered to create software that easily lets you control the various devices in your home, using real time sensors that pick up the wearers’ feelings, thoughts and expressions.  This is a breakthrough for those suffering from mobility issues and neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS. Imagine the endless possibilities and convenience in a world where this is available to a wider audience, where anyone can control their gadget of choice without lifting a finger, no matter where they are.

Check out the video below! We look forward to seeing this concept unfold.

When technology meets functional and social needs

Jibo

More than a decade ago, I was deeply engrossed in the movie Bicentennial Man (RIP the great Robin Williams). I remember watching the bewildered faces of the two children as their father brings home a life-size family droid who would live with them and help them with tasks around the house.

I recall doubling over in laughter as one of the daughters tells the droid to jump out the window of the second floor of their house. Unable to detect her sarcasm and her ill-intentions, Robin William’s character does exactly as he is told, and well… jumps out the window. On the other hand, the younger daughter empathizes with the droid, and took it on as a playmate and trusted companion.

It’s 2014, and that sci-fi fantasy of the “family robot” is becoming much more of reality, and we see more and more research into designing social technology that plays to our emotions, like the younger daughter of Bicentennial Man.

Like many people, I’m excited to see the latest innovations in robotics. For instance, the launch of Jibo on Indiegogo a few weeks ago. Jibo can see, speak, hear, learn, and do a variety of tasks to help you around the house. He can order your favorite take-out dish for you, he can tell you fantastical stories, and he can even follow you around the room and snap your photo using facial recognition.

What I most love about Jibo is however, that it doesn’t try to look like a human. As seen in its promo video, Jibo has no arms or legs, but the smooth, sleek feel of Eve from Wall-E. He swivels around and has cute animations, which convey emotions and empathy. It is remarkable to see what animation studios like Pixar do in the 2D world, in the 3D world: bringing to life otherwise inanimate objects.

One of my favorite TED talks, by MIT Media Lab’s Guy Hoffman, called “Robots with Soul” explores this idea of robots that are well…less “robotic.”  With his studies in animation and acting, he set on making robots exhibit the more fluid movements of no-verbal communication that humans have. He developed a speaker that bobs his “head” to the beat of the music he is playing to give the illusion that he is enjoying the music being played. And in his studies, although the people know the robots are machines, they look at, interact with, and speak about the robots as if they were other people. “He definitely enjoys this jam.”

Even TED Senior Fellow Aparna Rao explores how you can evoke emotions from non-sentient objects. In her art pieces, inanimate objects without faces react to their surroundings, in an often humorous and entertaining way. In one of her pieces, art on the wall starts to swivel around slowly then quickly, until it senses that someone has entered the room, then they go back to the original places. The timing and movements of the pieces give the illusion that the art is being “mischievous” when no one is looking.

Human emotions are extremely complicated and are always communicated non-verbally. Paul Ekman, a professor at UCSF, and affectionately called the “best human lie detector in the world” pioneered the research into human emotions and found that humans across the world use certain combinations of facial muscles to convey emotions. These muscles will always move, (it would take years of practice to suppress and control these muscles), and it would take an expert, like Ekman, to discern these non-verbal cues with the naked eye.  I would love to see robots who not only personify human behavior, but who would be able to detect subtle emotions by picking up on these “micro-isms” and respond appropriately given the situation. “Are you feeling okay, Sabrina? How about I text your friend Lea if she is free to go out to the movies tonight? I think it would be great for you to get out of the house and hang out with friends.”

Technology have long been designed to move/act based on the service they were providing. And they had that unnatural “robotic” feel that reminded us that we are interacting with a machine.  It is fascinating now to see robots, like Jibo, take a step beyond meeting mere functional needs to becoming social entities that can play to our emotions, interact with us in a more natural way, and be perceived as more of a valued companion that meets real social needs. For more on Jibo, check out the video below.

Digital Innovation

It has been a busy start to the year here at Antedote, we have been out delivering innovation and insight projects across the US, Europe and Asia so the blog has taken a bit of a back seat. However with a week back in the office before I am off on a month long research project I wanted to write a post about Digital Innovation.

One of the benefits of living and working in the technology and innovation hub that is San Francisco is that we experience new business models and ideas before they are rolled out across the rest of the US and the world. We have started to help leading brands connect with some of these new technologies/ start-ups, for example through delivering new activation experiences.

Here are some of the disruptive innovations that we have seen and been using recently:

Good Eggs

This startup aims to bring the famers market to your door through partnering with local producers. Now a number of us here in the Antedote offices are frequent shoppers at Whole Foods and local farmers markets but we have found ourselves moving over to Good Eggs to do a good amount of our weekly shopping. The reason? Fantastically fresh, high quality foods for a lot less than it costs to shop and Whole Foods.

Google Shopping Express

We are among some of the first people to use this new same-day deliver shopping service aimed at disrupting Amazon’s position at the top of the internet shopping podium. So far the experience has been a bit mixed, most of the brands that you can order from are the big store brands – Target, Walgreens, Office Depot and Staples. These are stores that most of us can get to pretty easily and actually don’t need same day delivery from. Personally I would like to see Google incorporate some smaller providers, ones that it takes time to find and shop at.

Lyft

The next generation on from Uber and Flywheel is Lyft, we are seeing more and more of the pink moustaches hanging from the front of cars in and around the city. Lyft is a ride-sharing service, basically normal people driving others where they want to go. We having quite got round to giving this a shot yet but it is definitely on the list to try. Given that Lyft does not require commercial licenses and insurance, it may well disrupt the taxi/ limousine market on cost alone. Great service would be a bonus!

These are just some of the new disruptive technologies we are seeing everyday, we will write another post soon.