Your Egg Carton is Trying to Tell You Something: The Future of Things

This week, we told you about the tech malaise that Millennials are experiencing. Though they want the latest and greatest new devices, even those on their wishlists aren’t managing to impress them the way that technology used to. So what will be the tech that manages to break the spell and wake up their interest the way that their first smartphone was able to? For years tech insiders have been talking about the Internet of Things: a world where everyday objects can communicate with us, and each other, through the internet, creating a connected space where our belongings will be smarter, more efficient, and make our lives easier. Imagine your alarm clock telling your coffee pot to turn on, or your car texting you when it needs an oil change. Now, after years of being a concept that most had never heard of, and couldn’t imagine coming true if they did, the Internet of Things is becoming a reality. Previously static and inert household items are becoming fixed with sensors and turned into intelligent things that can let their owners know when they are empty, low, need attention, or adjust automatically according to commands and their ambient environment. Business Insider predicts that 9 billion devices will be connected by 2018. If the Internet of Things (or IoT) pans out, it could not only be the next movement to shake up Millennial’s malaise and capture their attention (and wallets) it could also change the way that the next generation—Plurals—views the world around them.

So how close are we to an IoT world? Here are three current projects that are making smart devices a part of our lives right now, and are at the forefront of growing the IoT from a niche concept to a mainstream reality: 

1. Quirky & GE’s Smart Devices 
Some major brands are starting to prepare for the Internet…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I can’t live without my smartphone. It's my navigation system, entertainment, knowledge device, and many other things.” –Female, 25, IL

Blue and black, or white and gold? Never has such a simple question gone so viral. If you haven’t yet heard of #TheDress, a picture of the controversial frock was posted on Tumblr yesterday afternoon by a user who wanted others to weigh in on what colors it is. Since then, it has caused the internet to go up in flames, and millions have passionately banded behind one of two sides, some see blue and black while some see white and gold. In less than 12 hours, the BuzzFeed article asking “What Colors Are This Dress?” received 25 million views. As we’ve said before, young social media users are culture creators, their collective social power can make the mundane into a trend—they’re certainly doing that and more with The Dress. (New York TimesWired)

The Millennial nostalgia series reboots don’t stop coming: Netflix is now bringing back Inspector Gadget and Danger Mouse. The site will be streaming five new kids’ shows in an effort to reach more young viewers, and the inclusion of these already-loved characters could potentially please their parents as well. Inspector Gadget, which originally aired from 1983 to 1986 and got a movie in 1999, will have 26 new computer animated episodes premiering exclusively on Netflix in March. Netflix has already announced reboots of Magic School BusCare Bears, and Popples, and hopes that the nostalgic content will lead to “co-viewing” and garner them fans from multiple generations. (Stream DailyUSA Today)

Shake Shack is amassing Millennial fans. The beloved New York-based fast casual burger establishment already epitomizes much of what young consumers are looking for in dining—fast casual, a modern look, friendly staff, and natural ingredients—and it’s gaining even more of a following thanks to a very strong social media game. Above having creative and well done ‘foodtography,’ the brand is constantly engaging with followers, reposting content, responding to their comments, and running contests like “Burger Beats,” which invites musicians to submit their music for a chance to have it played at Shake Shack locations around the world. (Digiday)

Telltale Games, the studio that created the popular The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones video games, has its own series in the making. Telltale is known for their TV-like “episodic” game design, and their first foray into original content will reportedly be a “super show,” described as a video game, TV show hybrid. Each episode will include a scripted portion as well as an interactive piece that is integrated with the show’s narrative. Telltale’s CEO calls the project "a very natural evolution of the interactive storytelling expertise we've pioneered." This unique style of entertainment could be on the rise, and film company Lionsgate has made “a significant investment” in the studio. (The Verge)

Target’s had somewhat of a tough 2015 so far, between backlash for body shaming and closing its Canadian stores, and they’re making some proactive moves to increase their appeal to young consumers. The chain will be upping spending on digital marketing efforts, and is “getting ready to reinvent its food offerings.” Food, health, and social responsibility remain important to younger consumers, so emphasizing efforts to expand their natural and organic products is likely a smart move. Target is also adding more brands that appeal to Millennials to their Made to Matter collection, including Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, KIND, and Ben & Jerry’s. (MediaPost)

Looking for a quick Millennial stat to get you up to speed before a strategy session? Searching Ypulse is the best place to start! Silver and Gold members have access to 10,000+ articles, 20,000+ curated Millennial news items, 2 billion peer-generated opinions from our mobile, social Q&A network, and thousands of statistics on Millennials drawn from our bi-weekly national survey of the generation. You search can begin and end with us. (Ypulse)

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