Digital Trends: 05.01.22

Airbnb & Remote Collaboration

"If the office didn't exist, I like to ask, would we invent it? And if we invented it, what would it be invented for?" F*%#king excellent question from Airbnb CEO Brian Chesney. He has been in the news recently because Airbnb announced surprisingly positive business results, as well as a new live and work from anywhere policy. I wish more organizations would try to answer this question, instead of “does hybrid mean 2 or 3 days in the office?”One benefit of facetime (not FaceTime) is more creativity. Research now backs up what anyone who has spent even a minute on a Zoom-based brainstorm can tell you – videoconferencing doesn’t work for generating ideas (but isn’t bad for selecting them). Another study backed this up, and researchers recommend turning your cameras off if virtual is the only option.

Snap & Augmented Reality

It’s odd how Snap gets overshadowed by the other social platforms, as it has an amazing history of product innovations and usage continues to grow. The company recently announced a new (and natural) collaboration with Cameo, a new program that lets users place AR overlays over physical objects / locations, an acquisition for a company that lets you control virtual objects with your thoughts, and – for shits and giggles – a flying camera. I have a hard time sending a newsletter twice per month!

A big part of the Snap vision is leadership in consumer applications of augmented reality, especially in retail. The company recently launched a new feature for fashion brands (including Puma) to let users virtually try on merch. Here is a thorough report from the Foresight Factory on AR & the future of shopping that is worth a skim. Amazon is investing in this area, as is Meta – which recently authored a Sponsored Post / Propaganda on Vice from the perspective of someone wearing its AR glasses to Coachella for an entire weekend. I suspect they spent much of their time alone.

Navigating the Metaverse

If over half of all content about a topic is trying to define the topic, there’s a problem. And that’s where we are with the metaverse today. From a marketing perspective, it is interesting to see Spotify establishing a presence in Roblox (12.2 million users in NA, including my daughter). If you’re a retailer interested in how to get started in this space, my friend AJ has a new post that’s worth a read.A part of the metaverse milieu that has been in the news lately is NFTs (see ‘NFT Sales are Flatlining’ from the WSJ). Peter Yang makes the case that NFTs are the future of subscriptions for creators. Brands are starting to experiment with NFTs as a membership mechanism, including Starbucks who sees NFTs as a way to “create an expanded, shared-ownership model for loyalty, the offering of unique experiences, community building, storytelling, and customer engagement.” If that means free coffee, I’m in.

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