The Britton Digital Update—Week of February 20, 2017

Five minutes to get you up to speed on this week’s digital, business, social media, entertainment, and marketing news

Over the past week, a social media movement surfaced that attempted to break up the political posts in your news feed by having baseball fans share their excitement for the start of spring training by posting photos of their favorite players. While the Digital Update focuses on digital technology and marketing instead of politics, maybe it needs to start with one of those feel-good stories to break up the negativity that seems to be surrounding us on the news and social media. (Of course a Cubs fan like me isn’t experiencing any of this, as I am very hopeful again this season.)

This comes from King’s College Hospital in the UK, where employees are using cutting-edge virtual-reality technology to help kids prepare for an MRI. If you’ve never had an MRI, just being loaded into the tube can be scary, especially for children. King’s College Hospital is using a panoramic 360-degree video in virtual reality to show “children all the way through the events that will happen on the day, from arriving at the hospital to entering the scanner.” The kids can get accustomed to the loud noises, small spaces, and the need to keep still. This way, kids (or apprehensive adults) can get the anxiety relief they need to have these important tests. The app can be found on Google Play, and an iOS version is in the works. Doesn’t this give you the feel-good tingles? Hugs all around.

While you were dodging negativity online, we were reading the latest headlines of the week so you didn’t have to. Here’s the latest in digital, business, social media, entertainment, and marketing news!

Apple Ready as Samsung Falls

If you didn’t believe that it has been a rough year for Samsung before, there’s no denying it now. Between Galaxy Note 7 phones catching fire and washing machines exploding, Samsung’s reputation has taken a big-time hit. From its recent status as a top-10 most respected brand, Samsung has fallen all the way to 49 on the 2017 Reputation Quotient Ratings report. That is just one spot ahead of the United States Postal Service.

Apple ranks fifth in that same poll and seems poised to take advantage of Samsung’s missteps. Apple not only gained market share when sales of the Note 7 ended, but the company also could finally be adding innovation back to the iPhone. Recent rumors making the rounds speculate we might see an upgraded OLED display and wireless charging for the next iPhone, in addition to a facial-recognition feature that could be used to unlock our phones. Samsung isn’t going down without a fight, however. It is reportedly releasing the Galaxy S8 phone (it is rumored to have an iris scanner) at the end of April.

The Power Struggle

While Apple looks at including wireless charging as a possible feature in the next iPhone, another top brand—the Walt Disney Company—may have taken a big step forward when it comes to true wireless charging. Apple’s technology would likely use a pad that the iPhone would need to sit on to charge. However, scientists from Disney Research have successfully created an electromagnetic field to charge devices scattered throughout a room, without a cord or pad. The simulations proved that power could transfer through the air without sending electricity that would be damaging to humans. This could change not only the way devices charge but also how future homes and buildings are constructed.

“99 Luftballons”?

Project Loon is a venture that has been in the works for more than four years at Google (which is the eighth-most reputable brand, in case you’re keeping track). The goal of this project is to beam internet coverage into remote areas of the world where service is currently lacking. Giant hot-air balloons would float above areas that are missing the infrastructure for internet connectivity and relay an internet from satellites to the land below. Previously, one of the issues with the project was that it needed “99 Luftballons”—and then some. Actually it needed closer to 300–400 balloons, since a balloon would fly off, and another nearby balloon would take its place. Now Google has figured out a way to keep balloons in one location, afloat for months at a time. This allows the same project to be conducted with 10 or 20 balloons, instead of 300. This significantly lowers the cost, making the project much closer to becoming a reality.

Can you imagine living in a part of the world where you couldn’t take selfies or watch cat videos because there was no internet?

Stories Time

While Snap Inc. headed all around the world this past week to make the case for investors to notice its upcoming IPO, Facebook seemed determined to siphon away potential growth by copying Snapchat in as many places as it could. Back in the fall, Facebook added a Stories feature to its sister app, Instagram, and that slowed down Snapchat’s growth. The move was so successful that Stories features for Facebook are being tested in Ireland. And this week, Facebook announced that a similar Stories feature would be added to its WhatsApp messaging platform. WhatsApp is much bigger outside than inside the United States, so this move is seen as more of a global play for Snapchat users. The move coincided with the eighth anniversary of WhatsApp’s release.

I, for one, am relieved. How many times have you started each day wishing for another platform to share stories that will disappear after 24 hours? Unfortunately, this is probably far from over.

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:

If you liked this, check out our previous Digital Update posts or the Digital Update on Flipboard.

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Photos: BMDG

Dave Goode

Dave Goode

My name is Dave B. Goode (yes, it is my real name). If it sounds like a radio name, it is—well, it was. I had a 22-year radio-broadcasting career as a brand manager and morning-show host. I’m an amateur photographer. I love to cook. I am obsessed with social media. I have come to the realization that Chia Pet seeds do not work on a human head and that it is OK to be bald.

Meet Dave Goode