How COVID-19 is inspiring tech innovation

Our business vision is to invent the new normal. In the same way music ownership is transformed with streaming or how contactless has changed the way we pay — we create products and experiences for our clients that change people’s expectations for the better. In designing experiences at this level, we give our clients an edge over their competition: an unfair advantage.

At Rehab, we’ve been paying close attention to the steps tech companies have been taking to innovate amid the Covid-19 pandemic. From the implementation of new features that make life easier and more manageable for customers, to the launch of gimmicky tech that simply puts a smile on people’s faces, we cover off some of our top picks in this week’s Quick Fix.

Travis Scott to premiere new music in virtual Fortnite tour

As we’ve seen with Together at Home that broadcast around the globe last weekend, even though we can no longer attend physical concerts, for now, there’s still an appetite for show-stopping events from the comfort of our sofas, experienced digitally. But how can musicians make money from ticket sales to merch as they would with physical events… enter stage left Travis Scott x Fortnite.

Whilst the collab was probably in the works before we heard of social distancing, we believe it’s designed to democratise access to large scale music events typically reserved for those with the deepest pockets and reach new audiences. It also injects digital assets into the mainstream consciousness, getting consumers used to digital items that will never to be worn or physically held, but costs real money.

Gen Z and young millennials already express themselves with their digital doubles. From memojis, to insta feeds, to customizing gaming skins. The idea that our digital doubles have experiences dedicated just for them is the opportunity for brands to play. The rulebook of what’s possible in reality has been thrown out the window.

Essentially this is a major licensing deal, Travis merch and other big brands are appearing in the game — his Nike collab has made an appearance with reverse swoosh Air Jordan 1 & Air Jordan 6s that landed today and we’ve copped them.

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Instagram’s new feature to help ramp up sales for SMBs

Facebook is taking yet another step to help struggling small businesses. Last week, it announced that Instagram will make it easier for small businesses to feature gift cards, online food orders and fundraisers in their profiles or Stories. In the US and Canada, users will be able to tap on a gift card or food order to make a purchase through a company’s site, and can spread the word by resharing stickers in Stories to encourage friends and followers to show their support. Along with Facebook’s launch of gift cards last week, the company is making real headway in helping out businesses which are under pressure right now.

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Uber shifts focus to deliveries of goods instead of riders

Well-known ride-hailing service, Uber, is launching two new services as the pandemic depletes demand for its traditional taxi-ing business. While Uber Direct is to offer deliveries from essential shops such as pharmacies and pet shops, Uber Connect is a same-day courier service which will allow users of Uber to send items to one another. Not only is this a smart business move, as it keeps customers spending and workers on the road, but it also serves a valuable purpose in helping to keep people safe at home. We think that’s pretty smart.

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Google’s ‘Community Mobility Reports’ reveal travel habits from across the globe

The tech giant has published reports that provide information about people’s movement during the coronavirus pandemic, by collecting data from billions of Google user’s devices and tracking the places they’re visiting — from parks to pharmacies and beyond. While Google has revealed reports for 131 countries and territories which include Hong Kong, Singapore, the States and the UK, it has stressed that no personally identifiable information will be made available “at any point”. Take a look to see what nations are home to the most law-abiding citizens…

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Virtual catwalks and digital garments: How fashion is responding to the coronavirus

The pandemic is forcing many brands to engage and experiment with immersive technologies, and companies within the fashion industry are no exception to this trend. As spending on clothes has plummeted by 50%, head of fashion at the Fashion Innovation Industry, Matthew Drinkwater, said: “We’ve been inundated with requests on how to create virtual clothing, virtual catwalks and virtual showrooms. This is an opportunity to redefine business models and build a more sustainable, progressive future.” At a time when industry fragilities are most exposed, it’s interesting to see how some brands are taking the bull by the horns.

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IKEA reveals its famous mouthwatering meatball recipe

They’re the highlight of our furniture shopping trips. In fact, they’re the reason many of us go. That’s right, we’re talking about IKEA’s famous Swedish meatballs. The company has just done us the honour of releasing the recipe for its famous best-selling snack, making lockdown that little bit more bearable. Not only is the recipe only six steps long — it also includes the classic cream sauce that accompanies the dish. Country food manager at IKEA, Lorena Lourido, said: “Staying at home can be hard, but we want to help make everyone’s lives that little bit easier and more enjoyable. Bon appétit or, smaklig måltid, as we say in Sweden!”

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US Covid-19 data map launched by Facebook, with plans to expand

The creation of multiple symptom trackers around the world is admirable, but few are like to have the reach of Facebook’s, which has just been launched in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s Delphi epidemiological research centre. With plans to expand the tracker for use outside of the US, meaning any researcher could tap into the data set, Facebook is also collecting survey data on its own symptom map. The map visualises the percentage of the population with symptoms by county and hospital referral region, as well as displaying flu activity distinct from Covid-19. The opt-in survey asks Facebook users if they have experienced coughing, fever, shortness of breath or loss of smell to determine likelihood of the coronavirus, allowing relevant authorities to get a handle on suspected cases — and highlighting the power of data to help inform governments and health officials.

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