An Unfair Advantage: April 2021

April 2021

This month our team have curated a roundup of insights, stories and Unfair Advantages; the big news has been NFTs, healthcare and technology, and interesting moves by big tech brands.

So sit back, have a read and enjoy some of the stories that we found interesting this month.

There's no stopping augmented reality fashion

It was only a matter of time before the world of NFTs and augmented reality combined. This experience utilises Snapchat's full-body tracking tool and allows users to overlay their digital jacket on their real life selves alongside NFT powered exclusivity.

Make no mistake, this type of experience will be the new battleground for brands as they fight for attention online and move towards digital drop culture.

One from us

Big tech is moving into healthcare - here's why it matters

This ones from us. Google recently acquired Fitbit and we have a feeling some other, major acquisitions and partnerships will be on the way as major brands like Nike, Peleton, and lululemon all focus on branded fitness experiences, rather than just their product.

Rob Bennett writes about why big tech - Apple, Google et al - is focused on healthcare and what this means for the future.

Fitbit & Diabetes UK join forces

The healthcare and technology thing we just mentioned? Here's just one example. Fitbit has teamed up with Diabetes UK to empower people to get moving via a one million step challenge. This is just one of the many ways that we are gamifying our lives, quantifying ourselves, and ultimately harnessing the power of wearable technology to improve our own physical health.

Spotify move into hardware... yes, really

As the automotive industry plays catch up with the incredible experiences provided by the consumer electronics industry it's no wonder that innovation and experimentation is happening in this space.

Will Spotify's 'Car Thing' find the audience it needs? We'll see. But this is a very interesting experiment and we - and you - should keep a close eye on how it goes.

Google Earth is now a time machine

Google Earth has launched a time-lapse feature that lets users wind back the clock and see how the world has changed over several decades. 37 years back, to be exact.

Interesting? Yes. But it also serves as a stark reminder that our digital lives, in both the physical and digital sense, will be ever available to future generations to experience in some way.

Monkey brain

We're not sure how we feel about this, but ethics aside, it's incredibly interesting. This monkey is playing a game with nothing but it's brainwaves. The impact this type of technology will have on peoples lives is incredible. Will we all soon be buying nueromancer inspired upgrades to our bodies? Only time will tell.

Another one from us

Technology for good? Here's how we're helping stop the spread of misinformation

The rise in fake news and misinformation has caused all sorts of problems, but in a pandemic, it's deadly. We partnered with The University of Nottingham to develop a digital intervention to provide impartial information to people worried about the COVID-19 vaccine. Anonymous data is analysed to help improve communication and spot trends earlier than ever before. Have a read of Design Weeks write up to learn more.

Crypto horses – really?

People all around the world are buying, and breeding, digital horses to race online using a platform called Zed Run – 11,000 of them to date. Mind. Blown. Could this be the future of online sports? Could this inspire the next evolution of Pokemon Go? It's another really nice example of how NFT technology is being used to create demand for digital assets and we think these type of platforms are going to totally dominate entertainment experiences in the future.

Amazon launches a... salon

When Amazon moves, the world watches closely. But even we were surprised at this. Based just down the road from our London office, the Amazon Salon combines everything from augmented reality to QR code tech and most interestingly, 'point and learn' technology. You literally point at a product on the shelf and are provided with branded content and product information. This technology will have major implications for future retail experiences - we can't wait to see more.

Epic Games have recently raised $1billion to build the metaverse

What's the metaverse? An interconnected social experience that includes Fortnight, RocketLeague, and all manner of other user, or brand, created digital experiences and content. The Internet changed the world forever, but the metaverse will be a whole other level, providing full immersion and interaction with no limits to peoples creativity.

And finally...

Back to the future... of advertising

Technology company Mirrias has developed a tool that identifies potential advertising space in historic tv shows then... puts an ad there. Context and relevance is obviously a key selling point to brands, so it's doubtful we'll see an iPhone ad on the side of a western saloon, but there is a lot of potential for this sort of technology. Oh, and it's already been used in several mainstream shows.