We have the tools today to make the change the world needs, says engineer, author and futurist, Peter Diamandis, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast.
Speaking from Summit LA19, an annual gathering of today’s brightest leaders, he explains why we must remember that our mindset matters more than ever before as we head into 2020.
“I think this is the most extraordinary time ever to be alive. I think that we are living in a time where if you want to make a difference in the world you can. You’re more empowered as individuals to take on the world’s biggest problems than heads of nations and kings and queens were just decades or centuries ago,” he explains.
During a time when we’re surrounded by negative news – something we pay 10x more attention to than anything positive – it’s easy to get dragged down. But it’s time to feel optimistic, he notes. We have a new decade ahead of us, which presents more opportunity than ever before.
“I’m more bullish than ever before. Yes, we have problems. Yes, we have environmental problems. Yes, we have political problems. Yes, we have all those things. But the fact the matter is, we also have the tools to challenge them and change them and make the world a better place. We’ve romanticize the past, but the past was pretty brutal, pretty brutal compared to today.”
During this conversation, Diamandis explains why there’s a crazy idea behind every breakthrough innovation, how the next decade will be a critical time to reinvent much of humanity, and the one thing you need to know to prepare for this future.
Last month, mobile phone network Three ‘switched on’ its 5G service in London through an immersive experience with fashion designer Henry Holland.
The “Living Room of the Future” initiative saw visitors able to try on mixed reality headsets from Magic Leap, to enter into a world consisting of everything from a mindfulness moment, to a gaming experience and the delivery of (virtual) House of Holland shoes by drone to your door.
5G is expected to ramp up in 2020 on a global level. Further cities in Switzerland, Spain, Germany and Italy have already begun adopting it. Meanwhile, in the US, although four cities have turned on the signal, the technology is tied up in a trade war, since China’s Huawei is the dominant 5G supplier. Regardless, the latest Ericsson Mobility Report predicts there will be more than 10 million 5G subscriptions globally by the end of this year, and that 5G population coverage is forecast to reach 45% by 2024.
In it simplest sense, 5G is just a faster version of 4G – about 20x the speed in fact. That coupled with almost no latency, means the new networks will nearly eliminate lag time. This is big news for mobile of course – opening up paths to purchase in even the busiest of crowds for everyday shoppers.
But its existence will also help power other tech advances, from machine learning to digital realities. Add in features like low energy consumption and higher reliability, and it brings an opportunity for the retail industry to enhance the consumer experience in the physical store with a number of seamless real-time functionalities, leading to increased engagement and conversions.
As a result, now is the ideal time for retailers to start planning how their stores and interfaces will look when 5G becomes widely available. Here are 5 ways we see it having an impact…
Connectivity in our physical stores, means devices that can constantly exchange data with each other – also known as those under the header of the Internet of Things (IoT). To do so, they need a fast, reliable network that doesn’t require too much power. 5G networks will achieve a 90% reduction in power consumption, guaranteeing up to 10 years of battery life for low power IoT devices. This means, for example, that more retailers will have access to smart shelves like the ones Amazon implemented in its Amazon Go stores. This technology uses dozens of sensors to provide real-time inventory visibility and update pricing according to demand.
Augmented and virtual realities use a lot of processing power and cellular data. With the increased capacity of 5G networks, retailers will be able to create richer, more detailed experiences when integrating their physical and digital worlds. This will make technologies that we’re already experimenting with, and seeing consumer adoption of, only more of a possibility. The result will mean shoppers are able to immediately check product materials or ingredients through the use of smart glasses or their smartphones, for instance. Those same apps will also guide customers to the products they want by projecting directions into their field of view in real-time as they navigate the store space.
Artificial intelligence will also thrive on IoT devices via 5G. That’s not to say the AI algorithms themselves will change, but that the higher network will enable more accurate real-time data to flow, ultimately facilitating smarter systems. In retail, for instance, managers will be able to delegate more operational and inventory decisions to automation. This means greater efficiencies as well as accuracies on things like forecasting inventory quantities so as to optimize stock levels, leaving sales associates to spend more time on customer care. Having stock in the right place at the right time will also decrease the risk of losing customers to competitors, as product availability will be more accurate.
With lower latency, retailers will also be able to respond to purchasing patterns and behaviors with immersive, tailored content in real-time. Implementing 5G in-store will allow for greater interactions and data collections between sales associates and customers. Real time data could be tracked to create personalized adverts or offers based on the preferences of individual customers, helping to increase the incentive to buy.
The implementation of 5G will also revolutionize logistics by improving efficiency in fulfilment tasks and increasing the speed of transportation. Greater connectivity and improved reliability will help communications between brands, couriers and consumers. The full capacity of 5G will eventually also enable the roll out of automation in transport and warehouses, thanks to improved processing of the vast amounts of data required in real-time.
How are you thinking about retail innovation?The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.
NY-based label Rag & Bone explored the relationship between AI and humankind with a fashion week dinner featuring an artificial intelligence system as a special guest.
Titled “A Last Supper” the dinner, which accompanied the launch of the label’s fall 2019 collection in New York this week, saw guests sitting around a U-shaped table while having their conversations and actions filmed and analysed by a number of cameras. This was then fed in real-time into an AI system, referred to as “Distinguished Guest.”
Towards the end of the night, words and phrases used by guests were transformed into a piece of work displayed on a screen in front of their eyes, in the voice of musician Thom Yorke which was recorded prior to the event.
Guests, which included celebrities such as actors Emma Roberts and Justin Theroux, were further immersed in the experience with a dance performance choreographed by Damien Jalet, while the food menu was developed by chef Ignacio Mattos.
How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.
Walmart-owned member’s-only retailer, Sam’s Club, is set to open a new retail concept where it will be trialling innovative technologies including mandatory mobile checkout and AR-enabled packaging.
The space, which will be based in Dallas, Texas, will be the retailer’s innovation epicenter and act as part technology lab, part store.
The retailer’s mobile app will act as the central hub for the experience, with existing Scan & Go technology acting as the only way to shop the space, called Sam’s Club Now. Additional technologies will then be added and refined gradually.
Customers using Scan & Go can scan items to add them to the app’s shopping cart and upon leaving the store, a member of staff will scan for a QR code to complete the purchase.
They can also scan selected packaging to bring up more information on particular items, such as provenance, via augmented reality.
Navigating the store will also become more seamless, as customers can search via voice for a particular item, and a map will lead them to the correct shopfloor location. The retailer forecasts that in the future this will be updated with beacon technology, which will allow members to receive a personalized map upon entering the store that will show them an optimized route for their shopping journey.
Additional features include a one-hour pickup of items ordered via the app, as well as electronic shelf labels that instantly update prices. In the future, the store also aims to optimize inventory and layout of shopping space by integrating 700 cameras in the club.
An integral part of the new retail format, however, will be its focus on retail staff. Associates are now known as Member Hosts, which is meant to better describe their new focus on improving customer service. “Eliminating friction doesn’t mean replacing exceptional member service with a digital experience,” said John Furner, Sam’s Club president and CEO. “We know our members expect both.”
How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so.TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.
Prada has released a ‘futuristic fairytale’ film series celebrating its nylon backpack first launched in 1984, by referencing a series of next generation technologies.
Nylon Farm, as the four-part project is called, features a flock of cyborg sheep, in a nod to Philip K Dick’s sci-fi novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Alternate reality technology and an automated manufacturing system is at play to harvest the synthetic fleece, but the ideals of such artificial intelligence is seemingly disrupted by a level of human emotion that comes into the scene.
“It may all seem perfect, but something in this place has gone beyond the normal production processes. A series of strange anomalies have interrupted the regularity of the Farm and required the launch of an investigation. Will following protocol be enough in this story?” reads the write-up.
While Vogue refers to it as an example of Miuccia Prada directing an episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, the intention from Prada is to symbolize the brand’s technological innovation on the one hand, but also its ability to respect the brand’s history, on the other.
The nylon that has become a signature of the house was originally sourced from factories making parachutes for the military. It’s this quest for newness from Miuccia that is so referenced.
The four episodes were filmed at the brand’s industrial headquarters in Tuscany, the first one of which launched this weekend past. The following three will be released on June 1, 4 and 9 across the brand’s social media.
When the models at Alexander McQueen came down the catwalk wearing plexiglass visors in a vision of the brand’s “beautiful future” theme, it was instantly a shoe-in for one of our favourite campaigns of the season.
Lo and behold, a film by David Sims has been released to accompany the print ads from earlier this month (shown below). Featuring Finnish model Suvi Koponen on loop removing the metallic visor, it’s a psychedelic, surreal and dramatic two-minute spot.
As phrased by Fashionologie: “Surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colour, dressed in overblown shapes, and stood on a set that looks like it was borrowed from Superman, Suvi embodies an extra-terrestrial beauty that is befitting of the visuals and the collection’s design.”