The Britton Digital Update—Week of December 12, 2016
Five minutes to get you up to speed on this week’s digital, business, social media, entertainment, and marketing news
Can you believe it? Here we are just days away from Christmas and New Year’s Eve! Next week we will take a look back at some of the biggest stories of 2016, but this week our theme is looking ahead. Whether for next year or beyond, this week’s biggest news stories have to do with the future, for jobs, shopping, parenting, driving, and even Starbucks! There’s no need to jump in the DeLorean. We’ve already scoured the internet for the latest future news so you don’t have to!
Future Job: Emoji Whisperer
Imagine trying to convince a past version of yourself that you could make a living off emojis. Yes, even the last-week version of you would be skeptical. But several people and companies—artists, emoji keyboard makers, etc.—have found a way. So could the hot job of the future be emoji whisperer?
A London company has advertised to fill a position called an emoji translator, in what is believed to be the first job posting of its kind. “The role will involve explaining cross-cultural misunderstandings in the use of the mini pictures, and compiling a monthly trends report,” according to the BBC. The position came about because of the growing use of emojis in everyday language and the potential for different interpretations in cultural usage. The position sounds like it is a freelance opportunity, but it could be your ticket into the sharing economy. Only time will tell if this one fully explodes into a new LinkedIn job category.
Future Retail: Panasonic’s Smart Shopping Basket
In last week’s Britton Digital Update, we shared the news about Amazon Go, which is Amazon’s beta test of an automated convenience store where you are tracked by cameras and charged for the items you walk out of the store with. Panasonic is echoing Amazon’s desire to bring more technology and less Xanax to the grocery-shopping experience. This week, it unveiled its plans for a smart shopping experience. Panasonic’s system uses electronic tags that register as you place the items in a basket at checkout. The system also automatically bags your groceries for you.
According to the Verge, “Panasonic executives say their version of the automated grocery store could more strongly appeal to markets where cash is still king.” This could be a smart move since not everyone is keen on paying with credit cards or via digital app. While Panasonic says the move is an attempt to improve the checkout experience—not one to eliminate jobs—the teenage grocery-store bagger is probably not too excited to be switched to outdoor cart-snatching duty.
Future Parenting: Facebook’s Parents Portal
Our parents grew up without computers and had to learn to raise children without a computer to aid them. But we are now tasked with parenting kids who are growing up with social media being mainstream. This brings a different set of dangers to protect our kids from, such as online bullying, predators, and privacy. Also, kids (and most adults, for that matter) don’t understand the online trail they leave that can follow them around for job applications, auto insurance, and more.
Because of this, Facebook, as part of its Parents Portal resource page, is giving parents the tools necessary to keep both kids and information safe with tips and step-by-step videos in 55 different languages. One of my favorite tips: Set the ground rules early. It goes without saying that kids don’t really want to be on Facebook since their parents are there. Of course, parents trying to figure out Snapchat is a whole different problem.
Future Driving: Autonomous-Car Communication
It’s no secret that we are moving closer to a world of autonomous vehicles. However, with so many companies, like Google, Uber, Toyota, and Tesla, racing toward the goal of a self-driving vehicle, there needs to be some standards. Two noteworthy events happened this week to take steps to set those standards. First, the governor of Michigan signed a bill into law that allows automakers to test autonomous cars on the state’s roads without drivers, steering wheels, or pedals. In addition, the US Department of Transportation proposed a rule this week that would require light-duty vehicles to possess vehicle-to-vehicle communications. Basically, this would make vehicles “share a common language around established standards so that they work across automakers and industry partners,” according to TechCrunch. That communication would inform driver-assist functions within the car to help with safety.
I’m sure the biggest question around autonomous vehicles will continue to be in regard to cybersecurity. Can vehicle companies keep hackers out? Or will hackers alter driver-assist functions to put our lives at risk?
Future Starbucks: Virtual Barista
Many years ago we all thought Starbucks had lost its beans when it wanted to convince all of us that we would buy a $5 cup of coffee. We bought it. And now we may be buying a $10 cup of Starbucks Reserve. What else does the coffee giant have up its sleeve? Expanding its massive digital footprint.
Starbucks already has an extremely successful mobile app, with more than 12 million people taking part in Starbucks Rewards and 8 million people utilizing mobile pay. Now it will take online ordering a step further with My Starbucks Barista. It’s a virtual barista chatbot that utilizes artificial intelligence and allows people to order through messaging or voice command in the app. Expect to see it through the iOS app in early 2017. It is also interesting to note that Starbucks is seeing incredible success with one-to-one personalization through email marketing. According to its press release, “Starbucks hyper-personalized email reward offerings—with more than 400,000 variations—have more than doubled customer response rates over previous segmented email campaigns.” Translation: Personalization works and has customers engaged and spending more.
For the rest of the news this past week, here’s a compilation of the best news stories that we don’t have time to expound upon but that you should probably take notice of: