IBM has announced 16 winners in the latest round of its Smarter Cities Challenge programme, with the selected metros now set to receive smart city consulting services from IBM. That means helping out in areas such as jobs creation, transportation, and public safety, to healthcare, revenue, social services and public works. After working closely with city leadership, IBM team then recommends innovative and tailored ways to address issues, providing road maps on how the city can improve.
LoveLive has rolled out its LPlayer video-platform offering publishers original news-driven music programming, with AOL, Bauer Media, CBSi, and Condé Nast Entertainment’s The Scene already on board. The HD content includes a mix of exclusive live performances from leading artists, backstage interviews, along with fan- and artist-driven formats. LPlayer is white-labelled to each publisher and supported by brand partnerships and video ads.
Forget Silicon Valley’s style deficit, Google is getting into the business of identifying fashion trends. For one thing, according to trending Google apparel searches, tulle skirts are growing in popularity just in time for spring fashion, up 34% in the 12 months to January 2015. The trend originated on the West Coast but the tulle skirt is making its way across the US, with the most popular colours being the classics – black and white.
Mobile phone maker HTC has cut a deal with Mama & Company to give it “official smartphone” status across the latter’s nine UK venues, including The Forum in London and Manchester’s The Ritz, along with a number of festivals, such as The Great Escape and Lovebox. The brand will be integrated into the content, with HTC activations demonstrating how its products are part of the music experience.
Vevo is rolling out Vevo BE, a music and brand partnerships operation aimed at creating new music video content around live performances and behind-the-scenes action, with brand integration at its centre. The new branded entertainment unit will likely feature Tori Kelly, Halsey and Magic, though Vevo has yet to name any brands on the Vevo BE roster.
Digital interactions are set to influence 64% of every dollar spent in retail stores by the end of 2015, equal to $2.2 trillion, according to Deloitte Digital’s Navigating the New Digital Divide research. This percentage has spiked markedly from 14% of spend in brick-and-mortar stores in 2012, the first year Deloitte Digital conducted its study.
Online radio outfit Pandora is acquiring Next Big Sound. The deal is just the latest involving music companies grabbing number crunchers. Last year, Spotify acquired The Echo Nest, while in January this year Apple purchased NBS rival Semetric.
Not along after getting out of the music-retail business, Starbucks has announced that it will collaborate with Spotify on a next-generation ‘music ecosystem’ and will promote Spotify Premium in its coffee shops. Later this year, Starbucks US, Canadian and UK employees will receive Premium subs so that can shape in-store music programming. The playlists generated will then be loaded onto the Starbucks mobile app so customers can stream tracks via their mobile devices.