Technology and Business Review: April 1, 2017

In Technology by Shelly KramerLeave a Comment

Technology and business newsAmazon continues its march toward domination, this time in the grocery industry, Publicis and Microsoft partner, doubling down on adding AI to agency service offerings, Microsoft and the Internet of Things (IoT). There’s more going on in the world of tech and business, and this weekly review features the things that got our attention. Here you go—

Amazon debuts AmazonFresh Pickup, drive-up groceries delivered to your trunk. Ever focused on world domination, Amazon is adding to its stable of retail concepts with the AmazonFresh concept, offering online ordering and drive-up pickup of your grocery order. Rolling out, of course, in the Seattle market in just a couple of locations, if you’re a Prime member and want to shop at these locations, you can order online, and have your groceries loaded into your car once you arrive for pickup.

But is this really such a big deal? I’m sure your market has some supermarkets that offer online ordering and drive-in pickup—I know we have that here in Kansas City. But what is interesting—and likely a big deal to the grocery industry—is to see Amazon continue to make inroads into other markets with a physical retail presence. I don’t personally order a ton of things from the Amazon Prime Market (where the online grocery offerings are), but it is convenient for those things I either can’t find at my local grocery store or that I don’t want to lug home—like dog food. I’m probably a bit of a freak, but I actually like going to the grocery store, so ordering online and driving by to pick up doesn’t really appeal all that much to me. Anyway, if you live in Seattle and want to check this out, you can. And if you don’t you’ll have to wait until Amazon brings its giant tentacles to your market.

Publicis, Microsoft Partner to Create Custom Experiences Via AI. Artificial intelligence can help companies grow their businesses and help marketers find new ways to make sense of data they acquire from customers to make better products and their brand messaging more targeted. AI will be key to leveraging data better to make more effective business decisions and help process all the data available timelier. All this is true. Add to that the fact that agencies are always looking to not only stay relevant to the brands they court as clients, but also to fight off the consultants who bring top level expertise to those brands that agencies don’t always possess.

That’s why the announcement of the partnership between Publicis Groupe makes sense. It’s a strategic alliance designed to bring data capabilities to the Publicis family of agencies. Check out the details in this article.

Blue Apron could deliver an IPO in 2017, but should it? These days it seems like you can order just about anything in a box, eliminating the need to shop, think, or put forth much effort. Clothes, makeup, food, you name it, and someone has an in-the-box solution. Like Blue Apron. Blue Apron’s are ingredients and instructions in a box that allow home cooks to quickly prepare a meal. And the company is reported to perhaps be considering a 2017 IPO filing based on a recent story from Reuters.  TechCrunch did a great job analyzing the reason behind Reuter’s report and offers an in-depth analysis on whether the start-up should go ahead with its planned IPO or wait. Interesting read here shared by Christopher Isak on Twitter.

Here’s How Microsoft is Helping Companies Build IoT Hardware. The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how we go about our everyday lives. IoT technology promises many new revenue streams for companies that are creative enough to realize the potential and think outside the box.

For the companies looking to leverage IoT technology, one of the biggest challenges they face in building connected devices is making proof-of-concept prototypes to determine if their products are ready for large-scale production—and all “the bigs”—as in gigantic tech companies, want a piece of this pie. Which explains Microsoft’s motivation in offering up its labs, machinery, and personnel to help and mentor companies along the way, working through design processes and other challenges. Smart move, Microsoft.

To find out more, check out this article shared by Evan Kristel from CIO.

How Stories Search makes Snapchat a real-time YouTube. With video all the rage, Snapchat is looking to shift its focus from an ephemeral video centric social network to a real-time database of what’s happening in the world at any given moment with the launch of the ability of users to search publicly posted Stories. With this move, Snap hopes to take some of the real-time video search spotlight away from YouTube and Twitter.

Surely a move on Snap’s part post IPO to address the noticeable slowdown in user growth after it removed the ability to auto advance through Stories and the rapid adoption of rival Facebooks’ Instagram Stories. The initial rollout is beginning with a few select cities of public posts, although everyone’s submissions are already being indexed in preparation for a wider rollout in the future. For now, Search collections will be ad free to drive engagement before attempting to monetize the feature. For now. That’s sure to change soon.

To learn more about this new initiative, check out this TechCrunch article shared by Tristan Bolton.

To see how the new search functionality works on Snapchat, watch this video:

Photo Credit: sourabhgupta3 Flickr via Compfight cc

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”

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