CES 2017 Day 3: Healthcare Tech Getting A Boost From IoT Connectivity

What We Saw At CES
Healthcare is getting a strong boost from the recent developments in connected devices and machine learning, allowing medical device manufacturers to create smarter gadgets that work wonders seamlessly. Qualcomm announced it is building an “internet of medical things” upon its 5G network during its keynote session earlier today, and here’s a round-up of the kind of connected healthcare devices that are already on show at CES.

TytoCare created a smart diagnostic tool that goes beyond simply taking your temperature. Equipped with a high-resolution camera, microphones and sensors, this device can check inside your mouth and throat and listen to your heart and lungs for diagnosis. Like other connected devices, TytoHome can transfer the healthcare data it collects to your doctor via a mobile app.

Convincing kids to take their medicines on time could be a taxing job, which is why French startup Meyko created a smart assistant toy for kids with asthma. To encourage kids to stay on schedule with their medication. the penguin-shaped doll is programmed to have “mood swings” that can only be cured by the child taking their medicine. As a connected toy, the Meyko doll will send notifications to parents via its app to report their daily medicine intake and offer advice to reduce exposure to asthma triggers.

Established medical device maker Omron came to CES this year with a smartwatch that doubles as a blood pressure monitor. Named Project Zero Heartvue, the wearable has a blood pressure cuff embedded in the watch’s wristband, making it the first wearable blood pressure monitor.

Beyond connected gadgets, healthcare tech is also showing up in unexpected places at this year’s CES. Both Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz are coming up with healthcare-themed initiatives, respectively, for their new concept cars, leveraging machine learning to gauge and improve the moods and wellbeings of the drivers. Then there is SimforHealth, a VR training tool for doctors and other healthcare practitioners by putting them through simulated scenarios.

What This Means For Healthcare Brands
All these incredible innovations we saw at CES shows the great potential connected devices and machine learning holds in transforming the healthcare industry. To create better experiences for patients and customers, it is up to healthcare brands to explore the huge potential connected IoT has in normalizing the healthcare devices and integrating them seamlessly into our daily life. The connectivity among healthcare devices will also unleash an unprecedented amount of personal health data, which healthcare brands will need to treat cautiously with respect to privacy and find an ethical way to leverage it for researches and extracting behavioral insights.


CES 2017 Day 3: Qualcomm Aims To Connect Everything With 5G

Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, took the stage at CES this morning to walk us through the ambitious plans the company has for developing and implementing 5G connectivity to power immersive experiences, connecting everything, and transforming industries such as transportation and healthcare. According to a study on the “5G Economy” the company conducted, 5G-related goods and services will generate over $12 trillion in value in 2035 and create over 22 million jobs worldwide.

Powering Immersive Experiences On 5G
In November. Qualcomm unveiled their newest processing chip called  Snapdragon 835, which the company now hopes will work with the 5G network it is building to enable a better and smoother immersive experiences on desktop and mobile devices. The higher data speeds enabled in 5G means faster downloads, which is essential in improving untethered VR experiences. Qualcomm is also working with other media partners to develop VR and AR experiences powered by its processor. The company previewed a Power Ranger-themed VR experience it developed with Lionsgate, as well as a shaper VR livestream of NBA matches that NextVR will be able to deliver over 5G connectivity.

 screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-31-38-pm-2Connecting Everything To Build A Smart Future
The enhanced connectivity provided by 5G networks will also enable us turn everyday objects into connected devices. And since the 5G connection will be strong enough to carry a city-wide worth of utility and infrastructure devices, it would bring to life the kind of smart cities that some technologists have envisioned where those connected devices communicate with each other to share data and offer the city dwellers perks of convenience and safety. 

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-41-16-pm-2Transforming Industries With Next-Level Connectivity
Perhaps most importantly, 5G networks, coupled with powerful processors capable of handling that accelerated connectivity, will transform various industries ranging from healthcare to transportation by enabling new tools such as autonomous drones and industrial IoT networks. For example, Qualcomm is working with healthcare companies such as UnitedHealthcare, Novartis, and Philips to create a healthcare network that securely connects medical and healthcare devices over 5G. The faster speed brought by 5G will also be instrumental in the development of connected cars and self-driving cars, according to Qualcomm, which in turn will bring major disruptions for the auto and transportation industries. 

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-55-21-pm-2Key Takeaways For Brands
These innovations that Qualcomm is working to unleash with 5G network will usher in a new reality for consumers and brands, where new immersive formats become the norm, instant connectivity is expected everywhere, and AI-powered automation and data analysis running in the background quietly improves services and customer experiences. To get ready for that future, brands will need to start exploring immersive media formats such as VR and AR to build up their content catalogue, adopt a data-centric omnichannel approach in designing your customer experience to ensure that it stays consistent across platforms, and begin to think about how your brand may incorporate machine learning and AI automation into your products and services to deliver a better customer experience.

CES 2017 Day 2: Nissan To Put Cortana In Cars, Plus More Auto News

For the last keynote session of the day, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, along with several other Nissan executives, took the CES stage to reveal their new Nissan Intelligent Mobility initiative, demoed a new concept car with Cortana Integration, and filled us in on its plan for developing autonomous vehicles.

First up, Nissan introduced its Intelligent Mobility initiative dedicated to developing self-driving electric vehicles that aim for “zero emissions” and “zero fatalities.” Part of that initiative is a workaround solution called Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) for the first generation of self-driving cars, which connects the smart vehicles to a command center, where a human manager can help autonomous cars navigate road situations their software may not be able to handle. The SAM system will then learn how the human managers solve certain situations, apply those solutions for similar future scenarios, and broadcast them to other cars within the system.

Nissan-Intelligence-MobilityThe company went on to announce that it will equip the next generation of its best-selling electric model LEAF with the semi-autonomous ProPilot system, currently used in the Japanese-market Nissan Sirena. It also announced a partnership with Japanese ecommerce company DeNA to test driverless commercial vehicles as it hopes to launch a driverless mobility service in Tokyo by 2020.

The showiest part of the keynote was when Nissan demoed a concept car that held a decent back-and-forth conversation with its owner, thanks to an integration with Microsoft’s Cortana. Building on the partnership between Microsoft and Renault-Nissan Alliance, Nissan is aiming to bring AI-powered voice command into its vehicles for a safer, more intuitive driving experience.   

Nissan-CortanaBut Nissan isn’t the only carmaker that’s putting Cortana in their cars. Earlier today, BMW also announced that it will be integrating Microsoft’s voice assistant service into its new models. On a bigger picture, Ford officially became the first auto brand to bring in-car voice assistant to market as it enabled all existing vehicles running the Ford Sync 3 software to connect with Amazon’s Alexa with an over-the-air update.

The competitive race of developing autonomous cars is particularly palpable at this year’s CES, with all major carmakers and some tech companies like Harman and NVIDIA showcasing some sort of driverless concept models and announcing plans to accelerate their self-driving car developments. Hyundai started hosting test drive of its driverless concept car Ioniq for press earlier today, while Honda unveiled a futuristic-looking autonomous concept vehicle named NeuV that is designed for ride-sharing services. BWM announced today that it is working with Intel and Mobileyes to start testing a fleet of 40 self-driving vehicles on the roads in the United States and Europe.

As we’ve repeatedly noted, this wave of self-driving innovation is set to bring a seismic change to the auto and transportation industries. And the arrival of self-driving cars will free up a significant amount of time spent on driving into potential media time that brands should get ready to fight over. Judging by the announcements coming out of CES, voice-activated conversational interface is set to play a major role in the future of in-car media, and it is never too early for brands start preparing for that inevitable future, especially given the quickening pace of development in self-driving cars.


CES 2017 Day 2: Brands Start To Apply AR Tech Across Industries

What We Saw At CES
Yesterday, we rounded up some of the biggest announcement in augmented reality on the hardware front at CES. Today, three in-market example emerged that once again demonstrate the versatility and great potential AR technology holds for various industries. Let’s look at them one by one.

First, BMW debuted an app called BMW i Visualiser that uses AR to create virtual showrooms at local dealerships, allowing prospective car-buyers to check out some of its latest electric and hybrid cars in 360-degree views even when the dealership don’t have those models in stock. Users will also be able to personalize the virtual models to see what they would look like with a different set of tires or in a different color. Built upon Google’s AR platform Tango, the BMW app will be available in select BMW dealerships across the U.S., Europe, China, and Japan, and it will be available to download directly from Google Play later in the year to transport the showroom to wherever the customers may be.

Second, Gap unveiled an AR app named Dressing Room at Asus’ CES press event yesterday in conjunction with the gadget maker’s new AR-ready smartphone. The app, which is also developed with Google’s Tango platform, lets shoppers select a virtual mannequin close to their own body type and try on different sizes of Gap items for comparison. Shopper will be able to discover some details such as how a fabric may drape on the body or the differences in fit between sizes.

Last but not the least, New York Times is jumping into the world of AR with a branded app it developed to promote an upcoming movie from 20th Century Fox. The publisher’s branded content team worked with IBM to create a Pokemon Go-style mobile game to promote Hidden Figures, a movie that tells the real-life story of three female African-American mathematicians who contributed to NASA’s 1950s space race. Except instead of catching animated monsters in the real world, players will be directed to science-focused destinations in 10 U.S. cities, such as the NASA Langley Research Center and Kennedy Space Center as well as some major universities, to unlock special in-app content, including 3D renderings, written histories, and audio and video about historical leaders in the fields of science and math.

What This Means For Brands
As we noted in our Fast Forward analysis on Pokémon Go when the AR-enabled game first blew up this past summer, augmented reality has some potential use cases that could greatly enhances the user experience in retail, home improvement, fashion, and beauty, while the game did a good job introducing AR tech to the average consumers. Thus, it is encouraging to see at CES more examples of brands leveraging the reality-bending magic of augmented reality to better serve their customers. As AR technology continues to evolve and mature, we expect to see more in-market examples like the three listed above.

If you’d like to get some help to figure out how augmented reality can enhance your customer experience and drive new opportunities for your brand, or simply to try out the HoloLens demo we have to experience the transformative power of AR, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


CES 2017 Day 2: Carnival Cruise Showcases The Future Of Hospitality

For the first keynote address of today, Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold W. Donald took the stage to tell CES attendees how one of the biggest cruise companies in the world plans to digitize and transform its guest experience with a proprietary wearable device and an entire cloud-based computing system built to support it. Here are the three key components that the CEO highlighted in his presentation that explains how the company aims to provide a truly seamless, personalized, and dynamic cruise experience for its guests.

Ocean Medallion
Front and center in Carnival’s new guest experience is the Ocean Medallion, a small circular fob that guests can wear like a smartwatch or as a pendant. It is assigned and shipped to each guest at home before the cruise begins so that they may start planning and personalizing their trips. Once the guests aboard the cruise ship, the Medallion will work as an all-access authentication and payment chip, replacing the need for guests to carry their IDs, credit cards, and cruise cards.

According to Carnival, Medallion-ready ships will be equipped with thousands of NFC- and BLE-enabled sensors that communicate with each Medallion to allow the guests to use the fob to open room doors, order and pay for food and other purchases, find family and friends on board, and plan their activity agenda. The Medallions also powers on-board gaming, photo-taking, and various other features that require guest identification. All these add up to a truly seamless cruise experience that removes the hassle of using keys and cards, freeing guests to truly enjoy every precious minute of their cruise.

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-12-07-35-pmGuest-Centric O.C.E.A.N Approach
At the beginning of his keynote, Donald explained his company’s O.C.E.A.N approach, which it uses to create guest-centric cruise experiences that cater to the interests and preference of each individual customers. O.C.E.A.N stands for “One Cruise Experience Across Network,” which refers to the Experience Intelligence cloud computing system that Carnival has developed to power the Medallions and learn about their guests on an individual level from the data collected by the Medallions. As the system learns more about each guest with the data their Medallion collects, their guest profile will grow more robust, allowing Carnival to not only deliver a highly customized trip but also on future trips should the guests choose to return.

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-12-18-40-pmOriginal Content Merged With On-Ship Experience
On the marketing front, Carnival is doubling down on original content designed to showcase the feel-good experiences their cruises offer and inspire travel. The company already has three TV series in place and it is launching a brand new one called Good Spirits with A+E Network. Unlike its existing original series, the new mixology-themed show will also be incorporated as part of the guest experience on the new Medallion-ready cruise, with special cocktail lounges where guests will be able to sample and enjoy the drinks they’ve seen on the show.

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-12-46-15-pmTakeaway For Travel And Hospitality Brands
Altogether, Carnival Cruise’s guest-centric approach offers a good look at the future of travel and hospitality, where wearable tech and cloud computing will work together in the background to deliver a seamless, effortless, and highly personalized experience for each guest, guiding them through each stage of their travel. Once a user profile is established, it will continue to grow and learn new things about the guest each time they return, offering an incentive to establish long-term customer loyalty. As AI and wearable tech continue to advance, their capability to transform the travel and hospitality industries is just starting to emerge, and brands would be smart to start exploring the vast potential they hold and try incorporating them into your guest experiences.


CES 2017 Day 2: L’Oreal Debuts Smart Hairbrush, Plus More In Beauty Tech

Welcome to the Lab’s coverage of the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, the biggest annual tech trade show that sets the consumer tech trends for the coming year. As with previous years, the Lab has a team on the ground in Las Vegas scouting the show floors to bring you the most noteworthy discoveries and announcements that marketers need to know.

What We Saw At CES
As we noted when Apple first started working with fashion brands on the Apple Watch, tech and fashion are two industries that are starting to realize the great benefits to be obtained by working together and converging some of the products. This year at CES, we are glad to see this trend continue to develop and crossover into beauty.

On Wednesday, L’Oreal surprised the crowd with a connected hairbrush dubbed Hair Coach. The beauty conglomerate worked with wearable brand Withings to create this sensor-laden brush that can sync up with your phone. With each brush, it will collect data and analyze your hair types and brushing patterns to recommend the right haircare products and grooming techniques.

Besides L’Oreal, two more beauty-related products caught our eyes so far at CES. Bioreline is an organic cosmetic company based in France, and they come to Vegas this year with VisioDerm, a thermometer-shaped gadget designed to quickly and expertly detects skin imbalances so as to assist beauty consultations and product recommendation.

Then there is HiMirror Plus, a smart mirror that promises to scan your face and generate an honest report of your facial skin conditions, detailing possible issues such as wrinkles, red spots, and pores so that users can know what to focus on in their beauty regime. 

In addition, Samsung breaks away from making smartphones and VR headsets to introduce an experimental beauty product called S-Skin, a handheld gadget that scans and evaluates your skin conditions through a combination of cameras, light sensors, and conductivity sensors.

What This Means For Beauty Brands
Increasingly we are seeing beauty brands incorporating digital technologies into their products and services. On the mobile AR front, L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius app and the BeautyU app from Covergirl are good examples of how beauty brands can leverage the advanced capabilities of smartphones to provide extra utility throughout the consumer journey. In addition, the Hair Coach from L’Oreal demonstrates the value of hyper-personal data to the beauty industry. By gathering data on individual user’s beauty regimen and interests, brands can generate insights on their personal preferences and better understand their customers.  

The Lab has extensive experience working with beauty clients to create and implement digitally enhanced retail experiences. The recently-opened NYX Cosmetics store at Union Square is a proud showcase of our team’s work in this space and elevated NYX as one of the most innovative digital beauty brands of 2016 named by WWD. If you’d like to learn more about how your brand can develop and implement digital-driven solutions to modernize your beauty retail experience, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


CES 2017 Day 1: NVIDIA Applies AI Computing To Gaming, Smart Home, And Self-Driving Cars

NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took the stage at the 50th CES to deliver an opening keynote address that showcased the remarkable advances NVIDIA has made in visual and AI computing, as well as how the chip-making company aims to apply them to a wide range of domains, including gaming, connected TV, smart home, and self-driving cars. Here are the three most important products Huang introduced during his keynote:

GeForce Now for On-Demand Gaming
Competitive gaming has grown into a huge global media phenomenon that attracts huge numbers of viewers worldwide. In fact, Huang called it “the biggest sports event in the world,” citing that there are now 100 million MOBA game players and over 325 million eSports spectators.

With that much consumer attention to capitalize on, NVIDIA is opening up its video game streaming service GeForce Now, previously only available via its own Shield gaming console, and bringing it to PC and Mac to reach more potential players. Using NVIDIA cloud computing powers, PC and Mac devices will be able to run the type of graphically intensive video games it can’t handle locally. The service is set to launch in March and will be priced in a tiered, on-demand manner starting at $25 for 20 hours of play.


For brands, this expansion of GeForce reinforces the growing prominence of the gaming and eSports industry. In the past few years, the competitive gaming industry has quickly grown into a media opportunity that brands should not ignore. Some early-adopting brands, such as Coca-Cola and Snickers, have been sponsoring eSports events to reach its young, male-skewing audience. As media companies race to capture the vast eSports audience, brands, especially those seeking global recognition, should consider leveraging the massive reach of eSports events via sponsorships and ads.

NVIDIA Spot for A Google Assistant-Powered Smart Home
One of the most evident trends we have identified at this year’s CES is how quickly voice assistants led by Amazon’s Alexa have taken over the smart home space as the de-facto interface that facilitates users interactions on those IoT home devices. Now NVIDIA is adding to this trend by introducing Spot, a small connected mic that you can attach to the wall and bring Google Assistant into every corner of your home. NVIDIA Spot, which is set to launch later this year, connects to its new Shield console over Wi-Fi and transfer the voice command back to it for processing. With a few of them strategically placed throughout the house, summoning Google Assistant at home would become a truly ambient experience that seemingly operates without the confines of a hardware device, akin to the way Ironman talks to his digital butler Jarvis in the movies.


With voice-activated assistants quickly conquering the home space and bringing AI-powered voice-activation to mainstream consumers. This means it is time for brands to start exploring how incorporating conversational interfaces may help improve the customer experience, for they offer a way in for those brands to reach consumers at home and connect with them in a more intimate, relaxed context. Therefore, brand marketers, especially those in the CPG, food, and lifestyle categories, need to pay close attention to the developments in the smart home space and start exploring possible partnerships.

Xavier and AI Co-Pilot Show NVIDIA’s Self-Driving Ambitions
At the beginning of his keynote, Huang noted that “GPU-powered deep learning is driving the ability for computers to perceive the world.” Later he added that “AI is the solution to the self-driving cars” when introducing Xavier, NVIDIA’s AI computer for self-driving cars. In addition to this powerful compact processing unit that will power its autonomous car being developed in partnership with Audi, NVIDIA also demoed an interesting “AI Co-pilot” mode, which uses computer vision, machine learning, and natural language processing to turn the self-driving AI software into an all-seeing, all-sensing co-pilot that can alert the drivers of the road conditions they may have missed or not in eyesight via spoken suggestions.

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-10-24-46-pmThis wave of self-driving innovation is set to bring a seismic change to the auto and transportation industries. And that shakeup is coming at a quicker pace with each announcement like the ones NVIDIA just made. For auto brands, it represents great challenges to adapt to, but also enormous opportunities to redefine the future of driving. For every other brand, the eventual arrival of self-driving cars will free up a significant amount of time spent on driving and transform cars into the next battleground for consumer attention, something that brand marketers need to keep an eye out for.

CES 2017 Day 1: What’s New In VR & AR

Welcome to the Lab’s coverage of the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, the biggest annual tech trade show that sets the consumer tech trends for the coming year. As with previous years, the Lab has a team on the ground in Las Vegas scouting the show floors to bring you the most noteworthy discoveries and announcements that marketers need to know.

What We Saw At CES
Though the exhibition floors won’t officially open until tomorrow, there have already been a number of high-profile announcements coming out in the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality arena.

On the headset front, Lenovo unveiled its first VR headset, a light prototype device that works with Microsoft’s Windows Holographic platform, whereas ODG debuted two sleek AR glasses powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 chip. HTC didn’t update its Vive VR headset, but it did introduce a series of add-ons to enhance its flagship headset, including an add-on that can power a wireless VR experience, a Deluxe Audio Strap that provides a better headphone solution for the Vive, as well as a Vive Tracker that can turn any physical object into a VR controller.

Then there is the HoloLamp, a lamp-shaped projector that brings 3D animated objects to life in the real world with no headset or glasses required. Similarly, Merge VR created a holographic toy called the Holo Cube, which lets users interact with holograms through its headset.

As with last year, 360-degree and VR-ready cameras are also getting some major updates. Ricoh’s new 360-degree camera can live stream for 24 hours, whereas China’s Insta360 created a camera accessory that can clip onto any Android smartphone and turn it into a 360-degree camera. To bring more interactivity to the existing headsets, uSens developed $100 hand-tracking module for VR and AR headsets that simply clips onto a headset and tracks hand movements down to the finger level.

Besides standalone devices, we are also seeing a lot more VR/AR-ready smartphones and PCs at this year’s CES. The ZenFone AR from Asus is the first phone to support both Google’s mobile AR platform Tango and Google’s Daydream VR platform. Asus also debuted a compact VR-ready desktop PC that will retail for just $799. In addition, Lenovo unveiled two new Legion gaming laptops ahead of CES that are VR-ready.

All these latest products from CES demonstrates that VR and AR technology are quickly advancing and becoming more and more attainable for mainstream consumers. As the hardware continues to develop, alternate reality, particularly VR and 360-degree content, is a medium that brand marketers can capitalize on to attract consumer attention with innovative storytelling.

How We Can Help
Our dedicated team of VR experts is here to guide marketers through the distribution landscape. We work closely with brands to develop sustainable VR content strategies to promote branded VR and 360 video content across various apps and platforms. With our proprietary technology stack powered by a combination of best-in-class VR partners and backed by the media fire-power of IPG Mediabrands, we offer customized solutions for distributing and measuring branded VR content that truly enhance brand messaging and contribute to the campaign objectives.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Lab can help you tap into the immersive power of VR content to engage with customers, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

CES 2017 Day 1: LG’s Robot Butler, Plus Highlights From The Smart Home Space

Welcome to the Lab’s coverage of the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, the biggest annual tech trade show that sets the consumer tech trends for the coming year. As with previous years, the Lab has a team on the ground in Las Vegas scouting the show floors to bring you the most noteworthy discoveries and announcements that marketers need to know.

What We Saw At CES
It would be an understatement to say that this year’s CES is seeing a surge in smart home devices. We touched upon the ongoing diversifications of smart home products in our first CES newsletter, but there are so many cool little gadgets that aim to make your home life a little easier that we couldn’t include them all. So here are some more highlights from the smart home space at CES.

On Wednesday, LG unveiled Hub Robot, a smart home device intended to compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home. Instead of being more like a cylinder speaker, this R2D2-shaped home assistant robot can not only tell you the weather but also start your vacuum cleaner and turn on your oven, provided that you have connected home appliances that can talk to the Hub Robot over Wi-Fi. LG says it is looking to release this product in select countries within 2017.

In contrast, other new smart home devices on display at CES tend to be a bit more focused in terms of functions. In the bedroom, Sensorwake Oria aims to enhance the quality of sleep with a connected fragrance dispenser. For the bathroom, Moen’s new shower system allows you to pre-heat the water and configure other aspects of your shower experience with a mobile app.

Then in the kitchen, Hello Egg from startup RnD64 is an egg-shaped AI assistant designed to help you plan your meals and grocery shopping meals. As for the refrigerators, there are FridgeCam by Smarter and the NeOse smell recorder that uses camera and smell sensors, respectively, to help you track the freshness of your food and detect expired and spoiled items. In addition, LG also introduced a smart fridge that you can talk to thanks to its integration with Amazon’s Alexa, which is quickly taking over the smart home space and becoming something akin to an operating system for the IoT home devices.

What This Means For Brands
The diversification of home IoT devices showcases the rapid growth and vast value in the smart home space. Revenue in the connected home market is expected to surpass $10,400 million in 2017, with its household penetration rate estimated to hit 32%. As they continue to gain momentum in the consumer market and adopt voice-based interfaces such as Alexa to facilitate user interactions, smart home devices hold great potential for brands because they offer a way in for those brands to reach consumers at home and connect with them in a more intimate, relaxed context. Therefore, brand marketers, especially those in the CPG, food, and lifestyle categories, need to pay close attention to the developments in the smart home space and start exploring possible partnerships.


Instagram Adds Curated Stories Feed To Explore Tab

What Happened
Instagram continues to push its Snapchat-inspired Stories feature as it adds a curated Stories feed to the Explore tab of its apps. Now users can flip through a stream of Stories suggested based on their interests. Previously, users would only see Stories from people they follow. Instagram says more than 100 million people visit Explore every day to discover photos and videos from people they don’t yet follow.

Why Brands Should Care
Since its launch in August, Instagram Stories has been a moderate success with users as the feature is viewed by one-third of Instagram’s 300 million daily users. While there’s no word on how Instagram plans to monetize the feature, it is only a matter of time before Instagram starts adding ads in between Stories like the way Snapchat inserts video ads in between snaps. Moreover, this introduction of a curated Stories feed opens up the opportunity for brands to surface their Stories to a wider audience.


Source: Instagram Blog