Russian Subways Take Squats As Payment

In a clever campaign in anticipation of the 2014 Olympics, Russian subways have begun accepting squats – yes, like squats at the gym – as a genuine form of payment. The machine, which presumably uses a Kinect, can tell if you’re cheating and requires 30 proper squats before letting you through. It’s another example of innovative, out-of-home interactive experiences engaging with different populations, even if it’s for a government-sponsored program, and plays into the larger health and fitness trend of keeping people fit. 

Russia Announces Mobile Photography Ban For 2014 Winter Olympics

The Sochi Winter Olympics, coming this January, are reportedly coming with a ban on any mobile photography by journalists.  In fact, the ban extends to all non-professional equipment, ruling out the possibility for reporting via Instagram, Vine, Whatsapp, Frontback, and any other media-creating platform presently shaking up what it means to broadcast information and media online.  This attempt at placing tight controls on the flow of news out of Russia during the games is not new – London tried to ban social media during its turn hosting the Olympics in 2012 – but the question remains, how effective can it be? Will journalists and news outlets be willing to risk their credentials to reach consumers faster, more effectively, and more intimately than ever before during one of the world’s testing grounds for media coverage?

Retail Emotion Recognition Rolls Out In Russia

Emotion recognition analytics technology in the retail arena has been a touchy topic in America due to privacy concerns, but major Russian cosmetics chain Ulybka Radugi is rolling out a system by Synqera to offer customers specially tailored discounts and promotions.  At the point of payment, sensors read the customer’s facial expressions and run them through Synqera’s software, targeting shoppers with text messages offering discounts or ads as soon as they leave the store.  Synqera is set to expand to North America through their recently-opened New York office, and has focused their pitch to American companies on pulling customers away from online retailers and the well-documented habit of showrooming.  The FTC is open to this form of innovation, and it seems very likely it will be rolling into American retailers soon.