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Into the JLAB

19 April 2015 in Innovation

UK retailer John Lewis has launched the latest iteration of JLAB, its start-up accelerator run together with technology investment fund L Marks. Under the initiative, JLAB will provide funding and office space to up to 10 start-ups, with one getting a contract to trial its solution in John Lewis stores, as well as up to £100,000 in additional investment.

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Brussels breaks down blocking

19 April 2015 in Innovation

As part of its Digital Single Market strategy, the European Commission is set to scrap geo-blocking across the EU to ensure that digital content can be consumed outside national borders. “Too many Europeans cannot use online services that are available in other EU countries, often without any justification, or they are re-routed to a local store with different prices,” says Brussels.

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Paint for lives

19 April 2015 in transport

Volvo has hit on a way to bring greater visibility to cycling in the shape of LifePaint, a reflective safety spray. No ordinary frame paint this, though, as LifePaint is invisible to the naked eye by daylight and only comes out at night, glowing brightly in the glare of car headlights. It’s transparent and does not affect the colour or surface sprayed, lasting for around one week after application.

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Diageo’s start-up liquidity

18 April 2015 in Innovation

Diageo is never going to be able to behave like the fabled entrepreneur in a garage, which is why the drinks giant leans on its Distill Ventures, Futures Team and Digital Technology Ventures units to tap into start-up spirit, says Steve Mullins. The latter, for example, works up innovation briefs with a committed $100,000 pilot budget for applicants coming up with the best solutions to a challenge. Diageo teams work with start-ups to develop plans for initiatives that might just get to move through to pilot-testing.

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Fintech finance afire

18 April 2015 in Finance

Global investment in fintech ventures tripled from $4.1 billion in 2013 to $12.2 billion in 2014, with Europe the fastest-growing region. In fact, fintech is so hot that investment increased at more than three times the rate of overall VC funding, according to a new report from Accenture.  “The massive investment in fintech shows that the digital revolution is well advanced in financial services, and it is both a threat and an opportunity for banks,” says Julian Skan, Accenture md overseeing the FinTech Innovation Lab London. “Fintech is empowering new competitors and start-ups to move into parts of the banking business.”

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Shop me digital

18 April 2015 in Innovation

UK retailer Sainsbury’s is creating close to 500 jobs in London and Coventry to boost its in-house digital and technology capabilities. The new digital hires will work on Sainsbury’s current digital platforms, such as the website and mobile shopping apps, and will also develop, test and launch new products in a new London-based Digital Lab opening in a few months’ time. Sainsbury’s says the lab will provide developers, digital designers, product owners, engineers and testers with a space to work and test new ways of shopping.

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Eyeing MPK 20

18 April 2015 in Branding

Be ready for a first look at Facebook’s new MPK 20 flagship building from Frank Gehry on the social network’s Silicon Valley campus, courtesy of Fast Company. The ‘hacker’ warehouse is actually one big (430,000-square-foot) construction and will be home to almost one-third of Facebook’s global team. And a park has been built atop MPK 20, replete with nine acres of grass, along with 400 trees and a half-mile walking circuit.

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Make wearables physical

17 April 2015 in technology

Wearable technologyUK stores are struggling to get in on wearables. A study by YouGov finds that almost two-thirds of wearable device owners bought their kit online, with Amazon the biggest purchase destination (31%). In addition, of those in market for such technology, 56% expect to purchase their device online. However, as wearables enter the mainstream and early adopters give way to a wider consumer market, there is opportunity for high street retailers able to properly showcase goods in-store, says YouGov.

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Latest News

Vodafone speeds to IPL

17 April 2015 in -e.mobile

Vodafone has launched a new advertising campaign in India with Ogilvy & Mather to promote its 3G network around Indian Premier League cricket. The Speed is Good campaign features four TV spots, Fairwell, Haircut, Baby and Library, and Vodafone is also staging in-ground promotions during matches, as well as an online contest.

Label it Boom

17 April 2015 in Music

Universal Music Australia is partnering with Australian YouTube partner network Boom Collective to launch new record label Boom Records. The move will enable Universal to lean on Boom’s roster of artists both for A&R and marketing, and engage with its sizeable 7.5 million-strong subs

WPP buys into mobile tech

16 April 2015 in -e.mobile

WPP has snapped up US-based Medialets, a mobile ad serving and mobile campaign ROI measurement company. Medialets roster of clients includes the likes of AmEx, HBO and Johnson & Johnson. WPP says the acquisition is part of strategy of investing in fast-growing sectors such as digital.

Universal banks on music

15 April 2015 in -e.online

Universal Music Group is rolling out a music-streaming service in Brazil carrying a monthly price tag of just BRL4.90 (a mere $1.60). The choice is restricted, with unlimited listening of only 500k Universal tracks and 50k, plus Universal playlists, which comes nowhere near the size of Spotify’s or Rdio’s catalogues. But the record company has chosen an unusual local partner in the shape of Bradesco, a leading Brazilian bank.

Returning retail

13 April 2015 in Research

Some 16% of UK consumers now do pretty much all of their shopping online, and the issue of free returns has become a key factor for shoppers. When it comes to choosing an online retailer, three quarters of consumers questioned for the Royal Mail’s Delivery Matters Returns Special report say they want free returns as standard, while a further one in three would be unlikely to use an online retailer again if they were charged to send unwanted items back.

Squeeze on tablets

8 April 2015 in Mobile

The sale of the first iPad in 2010 effectively launched the mainstream tablet market and created a whole new and viable consumer electronics device category, says John Curran*. But Accenture research shows that while there is still strong consumer demand for tablets, the pace of growth may be slowing. The percentage of consumers planning to buy a tablet has gone from 44% in 2014 to 38% this year**.

Wearables on a tear

8 April 2015 in technology

The global wearables market will reach 45.7 million units in 2015, with growth driven by an increased focus on smart devices, or those capable of running third-party apps, such as Apple Watch, Motorola’s Moto 360and Samsung’s Gear watches, according to IDC forecasts.

Tidal waves

7 April 2015 in Music

So, this is what Tidal, the new high-definition music service launched last week by Jay-Z along with a bunch of artist pals – such as Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Jack White, Alicia Keys and Rihanna et al – is all about. Cue a new track, Die With You, from Jay-Z’s wife Beyoncé – with video shot by said husband – a song getting an exclusive debut on Tidal.

Three and out

3 April 2015 in Music

UPC, Ireland’s second largest broadband ISP, has been ordered by a court to introduce a three strikes policy after losing a court case against record companies Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music. Under the regime, any subscriber found to be downloading pirated content will receive two warnings and, if those fail to deter illicit behaviour, will have their service terminated. Leading ISP Eircom already has a three strikes policy in operation.