The Super-hiway’s myriad of byways

The information super hi-way develops a myriad of by-ways

Sophisticated communications are becoming one of the main beacons of successful innovations – as was evidenced by five separate stories about new products and services published on a single day in a heavyweight US daily.

Images under your very nose Fashion houses are showing off their latest wares closer and closer to their customers.

In a fashion world in which the hackneyed routine of the cat walk is in the process of being disrupted, one fashion house is currently using the internet, video and film (soon in 3D), to present its designers and creaters, its models and stars showing off its latest styles. But it envisages a future even beyond virtual presentation eg by OculusRift, in which the model for example will be seen in your own living room showing off the latest apparel that has captured your eye.

Ads sneeking in everywhere More and more aspects of our lives are being used as triggers to provide us with related information.

Messaging apps, Facebook, Snapchat and their ilk, reluctant to risk adherents switching off through the inclusion of out-and-out advertising, are allowing advertisers to experiment with devious ways of intruding their messages into chat forums – such as overlays, insertions (like branded emojis), virtual characters and clickthroughs (to videos, offers and contests, even bookings), and ‘chatbots’ (robot conversationalists). These are based on their intimate knowledge of users’ likes and dislikes and on their particular moment-to-moment situations (like showing the name of a local curry house that offers Singha Beer to two mates planning a Friday night out).

Brands building ‘relationships’ In an increasingly crowded commercial world, brands are seeking to forge ‘relationships’ with their clients.

In the world of marketing, one way forward is illustrated by the CEO of a luxury brand which is aiming to build relationships with its clients by relating to them and engaging them based on their personal tastes; and bringing them into its world – in which its own and its sponsored activities and events epitomise the brand and the lifestyle that promotes its products.

Data mines getting personal Data sources are becoming more tractable and more adapted to their users.

A new service coming out of public offices in the US enables the acres of data that have recently been made public to be searched by key words and by types of analysis (such as New York: economy/demographics/education), transforming data into stories along with colourful graphics and short sentences. The site makes assumptions about its users and programs those assumptions into its software.

Deliveries out of thin air The first delivery service of healthcare supplies by pre-programmed drones launches.

A specially designed fleet of drones, created by a Silicon Valley startup, will shortly start to deliver urgent supplies of blood and pharmaceuticals in an African country. Similar projects have been touted in other countries, but have been hampered by walls of regulation and conflicting rules. Rwanda has a poor infrastructure but its simple decision-making regime has enabled it to be the first country to set up such a service. Using SIM card instructed route plans and GPS controlled guidance, a small staff will deliver 50-150 medicines a day to 21 hospitals and clinics, using paper parachutes to deliver their cargo.

From the International New York Times, 4 April, 2016

John Whatmore, April, 2016


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