Best Of 2012: Technology

As 2012 quickly comes to an end, we're looking back at what stood out across various industries this year. Today, Camilla, one our Youth Advisory Board members, discusses some of the biggest achievements in the tech space.

Best Of 2012: Technolgoy

This year, we’ve been met by some incredible novel pieces of technology, and stellar improvements on already-existent technology. Incidentally, we’ve also been advertised (often successfully) a fair number of less-than-impressive techie goodies, but we won’t talk about that today. For me, at any rate, the best of this year’s technology spans two separate realms of possibility: the maybe-if-I-save-up variety, and the completely unpurchaseable but nonetheless faint-worthy innovations. In these categories, I’ve picked out a couple highlights.

So, without further ado:

Your world: Roku Streaming Stick

RokuDoesn’t ring a bell? That’s because this is the present you want, but didn’t even know how much you wanted it (but, now you know, you’re going to pretend you’ve always wanted one). Basically, it looks like a USB stick you plug into your TV. Unlike a USB stick though, this tiny object provides you with extensive access to online streaming episodes on Netflix and likeminded sites — and it’s (relatively) affordable. “Stream to your heart’s content,” their website proclaims.3D printing

Out of this world: 3D printing.

Obviously, this is not a viable Christmas present, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an ‘I always WISHED this existed’ sort of dream. It’s exactly what it sounds like: you print in three dimension. It's of incredible use to architects, and apparently also in constructing dental crowns. For those of you who don’t build buildings or teeth, the options seem limitless now but after a week of printing origami-like designs, I’m not sure this gift…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I want to work for myself so that I can have more flexibility and be my own boss. I have an online business.”
—Female, 16, FL

Fast fashion is only getting faster as Asos & Boohoo outpace industry front-runners, Zara and H&M, moving clothes from concept to sales floor in less than four weeks. These up and comers’ fast paced supply chains, coupled with millennial-minded tactics and strong social media presences, are driving a 30-35% expected sales growth for Asos and 50% for Boohoo. A major contributor to Boohoo’s profit margin is its army of celebrities, bloggers, and other influencers who promote its clothing across Instagram. Zara and H&M, meanwhile, saw slowing YOY sales growth; H&M has admitted its need to speed up and announced plans to change its supply chain accordingly. (QuartzThe Guardian)

A new Doritos bag will be loaded with the entire Guardians of the Galaxy 2 soundtrack, via a built-in cassette player. A limited number of the “Awesome Mix” soundtrack bags will be available on Amazon tomorrow, and influencers will be activated to take the bag to surprising locales and sing a song of their choice. Fans will also be invited to go to custom pop-up recording booths, record their track, and upload it to social media for a chance to win prizes. Thanks to social media posts and unboxing trends, packaging has the potential to become a spotlight stealer, and brands are thinking outside the box to make packaging as interesting as the product. (Creativity)

Apple wants to be Gen Z’s Starbucks. The brand is reimagining stores to encourage teen hang out sessions, rebranding the Genius Bar as the Genius Grove, and aptly adding some foliage to the space. The start of a series of educational sessions next month will also bring in photographers, artists, and musicians to teach lessons and in some cases, perform concerts. Apple’s head of retail says of the effort: “I’ll know we’ve done a really, really great job if the next generation, if Gen Z says, ‘Meet me at Apple. Did you see what’s going on at Apple today?’” Ypulse’s Experiencification trend explored the fact that more retailers are looking to turn stores into social spaces to attract young shoppers. (QuartzApple)

Coachella has become a profit powerhouse, with earnings of $94 million last year, and nearly half of all attendees are 18-34-years-old. Brands have been looking for any way to activate their spending power through the event—including influencer marketing, which reportedly earns an estimated $6.50 for every $1 spent. This year, American Express became the first official credit card of the prodigious festival, using influencers to spread their message on-site instead of signage and “overt product messaging.” One AMEX executive emphasizes, “You can’t deny the power and reach of influencers today.”(Forbes)

Mars’ new ad has gone viral with Gen Z, thanks to the power of online celebrities. The video, promoting popular U.K. candy bar Maltesers as it launches in the U.S, features social media and YouTube stars Caspar Lee, Andrew Huang, and Dytto and has earned almost 2.8 million views in the last few weeks. The campaign encourages positivity in the face of typical “teen crises” as the influencers are shown turning #FML moments into “Fun Maltesers Life” moments. The spot is part of a larger effort, which will include distribution across social media channels, custom content creation with BuzzFeed, and a tour featuring an experiential photo-op, game play zone, and 10 million free samples. (MediaPost)

Quote of the Day: “I don't drink on a typical night, but my choice when I do have a drink is often red wine.”

—Female, 34, FL

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