For our first Sparks & Kindling of 2019 we decided to look at some of the trends likely to make an impact or at least be talked about in the coming year. As you’ll see, some are more likely/desirable than others!
It would not be January without the folks at CES making some modest claims about how their tech innovations will have a seismic effect on some aspect of our lives or other. Unsurprisingly, AI most certainly isn’t going away and voice control is still where the heat seems to be. Clearly what we really need is a cure from the common cold or else we’ll find the machines will simply not bid to our commands. More seriously any progress on making our increasingly fragile living environment more resilient can only be a good thing and Watergen’s capability of turning air into water was a worthy innovation winner last week
This is an entertaining jump back into the world of 1904 and the trends predicted for 1919 by the kids then. Some amazing parallels to the predictions for one hundred years later in 2019 emerge… written in some marvellously turn of the 20thCentury prose. We are treated to machines which do the thinking for school children (tablets?), air ships and flying machines (uber air taxis?), manned missions to Mars and republics in which every man (sic) has the same voice in government…OK so maybe they were too hopeful on that last one. An enjoyably diverting read
Nike have always been worth watching in the way they action innovation by harnessing technology. Their new flagship store in NYC attempts to make shopping IRL as convenient (and in some ways more convenient) as shopping online. The app-centric approach certainly speeds up and enhances the retail experience in some really great ways
At Where There’s Smoke towers we are not quite ‘no idea is a bad one’ but sometimes it is good to ask whether just because you can do a thing, should you? 8K TVs, internet connected toilets which track your every movement or Kodak’s bitcoin mining machines are questionable enough, but Hyundai really were outside the box’s box when they presented the Ultimate Utility Vehicle (a modest title) - their Mars Curiosity Rover meets we don't know what for first responders. We guess great if you like your cars with that bit more insect….although maybe a drone bringing the kit alongside the humans with legs would get the job done too