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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The Newsfeed

“I saw some heartbreaking stories in the internet, and decided to look up some international charities and donate to them.”—Male, 20, WA

Magazine covers aren’t dying in the age of digital—even when publications go out of print. Digital-only covers are “captur[ing] the print magazine's tangible essence” while building hype for media brands on social media (especially Instagram). PorterComplexNylonGQ and more publications have taken on the trend, featuring celebrities like Chance the Rapper to Sophie Turner. For magazines looking for a comeback with young consumers, digital-only covers can “translate their own brand for the web." (Fashionista)

Following “a series of scandals,” YouTube is taking major steps to overhaul its video review process and ad placement policies. The new guidelines “kick tens of thousands of video makers out” of the ad program by requiring anyone who generates ad revenue to produce 4,000 hours of content and gain 1,000 subscribers in one year, upping the ante from the previous requirement of 10,000 lifetime views. YouTube is also promising to manually review every video in its top tier of advertising (Google Preferred), and they’ve hired 10,000 new employees in the last year to get the job done. (recode)

Some Millennial parents are applying their minimalist tendencies to their kids’ toy chests to battle play clutter with “toy limitation.” It’s not a new concept—some schools of thought that have “advocate[d] simple, open-ended toys” include Montessori, Waldorf, and RIE—and today’s advocates say limiting toys can improve focus and happiness. A report from the University of Toledo concluded that toddlers “played ‘better’” when given fewer toys, meaning they played with each toy for longer and in more creative ways. However, some parents worry that they’re “denying [their children’s] self-expression” when they limit toys, and so the debate continues. (Slate)

Tostitos is giving fans their very own personalized Super Bowl ads to invite friends to their game parties. The platform takes a user's name, address, and other invite info and spins it into a video perfect for Customization Nation. Each ad features a different combination of Super Bowl clichés, including a “talking baby, puppies, sassy older women, [and] a celebrity pitchman.” Considering Ypulse data shows 64% of 13-34-year-olds watched some or all of the 2017 Super Bowl with friends and family, it’s a safe bet at least some will be sending out invites, possibly with some Tostitos product placement this year. (Adweek)

Facebook’s new feature lets Groups co-view each other’s content. “Watch Party” allows Group admins to show any Facebook video to members simultaneously, and to comment on a “dedicated reel” for a “shared viewing experience.” The feature is another step towards the platform’s new goal to “encourage meaningful social interactions,” and their new focus on Groups. The push for social viewing could possibly be integrated into other aspects of Facebook and its properties, like group chats. (TechCrunch)

“I plan to go to a free barre class at a local studio that is offering them as part of a New Year's promotion.”—Female, 33, MA

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