This week's pattern recognition from PSFK 

New trends and ideas emerging on the pages of

SX was confusing. I spoke to a bunch of people and they all seemed to give me different opinions about what was going on. Somebody said that we were going to witness greater evolution in technology over the next 5 years than we will see for the next 100, but another complained that there was nothing new to see anymore. someone else told me that it's all about software and nothing about the hardware, another said VR was about to go mainstream. 

While the annual gathering in Austin might not be great place to look for news on the future, SX remains good for learning (through the panels) and connecting. The lines to the panel discussions reminded me that many people take lifelong learning seriously - and the density of creative pioneers shows that it is a vital event on the creative industries agenda. I wondered if it could eclipse Cannes Lions, then again: someone told me that it never could, and then someone told me deals only get made at CES, and then someone told me to just relax, listen to the band and try the bbq.

So I did, and then came home and looked through the pages of PSFK to see what's going on - and this is what I found:


Contextual Personalization

I noted a number services that use context to provide a more personalized experience, check how Spotify has developed Climatune that lets music fans find out how the weather affects what music they listen to. A new autonomous concept car by Peugeot can predict your mood and adjust the driving mode, seat setting and even the ambient lighting and hi-fi system accordingly. Fitness wearable Ruawalk uses music to help wearers time their steps and keep walking at the right pace in order to get all the fitness and wellness benefits they want. And Sears is piloting a program called the Digital Tire Journey that allows customers to take advantage of IBM Watson to purchase tires. This last example was a little flat and boring when I tried it out in my opinion: I prefer it when the brand takes data and creates more useful experiences. For example, some Pirelli tires will carry a small chip inside to gather information from the road that will let the driver know when to replace them. Now that's progress.

New ways to interact with brands: bank by emoji, order food from the farm by chat.


Subliminal Coaching

PSFK highlighted how algorithms are providing prompts, recommendations or cues that help us make better decisions for ourselves or reach goals (facilitate self improvement). Rather than doing things for us, this AI guides us to make our own decisions. Check the AI stylist, or the system that helps creative brainstorming,  the above mentioned wearable that uses music to time your steps, and these vibrating shoes help you make your dance moves better.


Embracing The Lonely

A few stories connected with supporting lonely people. The UK retailer Marks & Spencer have opened Frazzled Cafes that will offer judgement-free spaces for people to share their mental health concerns. Hugging Face is an AI app developed to provide lonely people with an outlet for communication and companionship. A device helps lone marathon runners receive messages from loved ones during their race. And I mentioned this last time but it's still worth a reminder: Happy to Chat badges provide a lifeline for lonely people on the London Tube. Also note, this jacket lights up brightly to help you find people around you with similar interests. 


Content Extension

There's something going on where brands are adding content to evolve the product experience: Airbnb are now offering music experience packages, and Uber is looking to be your content provider during your ride. Not all of this works: watch an ad and get an Uber ride for free - sure someone might watch but if they're avoiding paying for their ride, they're less likely to want to pay for the advertised product too. Well, I guess alternatively, we could all sit at this bus-stop that offers swings, books, a rooftop garden, parking for bikes, phone chargers and artwork to keep commuters inspired.


One-Touch Transactions

Finally, we saw how Connective and ID technologies eliminate the things you need to carry with you or barriers you must overcome in order to complete a transaction. You can pay for drinks using only a finger and Pizza Hut have created a pair of sneakers that make ordering easier. Or donate to homeless people based on proximity.


That's a good overview of the patterns we saw in the data on PSFK over the last few weeks. I hope it helps.



Piers Fawkes
Founder, Editor-In-Chief

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