In somewhat of a twist on the forward motion of the development of self-driving vehicles, there seems to be a movement in vehicles that use a driver, but via remote control. An electric, self-driving truck has been unveiled by a Swedish tech company with the intent of creating 200 of the remote-controlled vehicles. The 'T-Pod' is 23 feet long and has an operating weight of 20 tons, smaller than normal heavy trucks. It's controlled by an operator, but also has the ability to take advantage of a self-driving system, according to Einride, the company making the vehicles.
One of the major promises of the Internet of Things has to do with location. Identifying where a consumer is at any given moment and creating relevant messaging delivered in context has been a marketing goal since forever. Beacons started to help a little in stores over the last few years and, along with Wi-Fi location and the old GPS standby, knowing where a person is has somewhat improved.
Some consumers may have to be paid to use certain smart home devices. Just yesterday, a study came out showing that smart thermostats are gaining traction, with North American sales of the devices increasing 64% in a year. That puts the count of smart thermostats installed in homes at 8 million, as I wrote about here at the time.
The number of so-called smart homes continues to rise by just about any measure. However, a smart home may contain one smart device and or many, some working together, others not. Berg Insight defines a smart home system as one that requires that it has smartphone app or a web portal as a user interface, which makes sense, since the smartphone is the practical hub of the smart home for the foreseeable future.
Curiosity may be a hidden driver of the Internet of Things. Various studies have shown that familiarity with many IoT technologies or products is relatively low. A consumer obviously isn't likely to buy something they don't know about.
AI-powered personal assistant apps are spreading in certain parts of the market while others take a downward turn. While Apple's Siri is still the top-ranking personal app based on the number of monthly users, it has dropped 15%, losing 7 million monthly users from a year ago, based on a new report. Samsung is in a similar situation, losing nearly 2 million users of its S Voice over the same period.
Many business leaders are interested in tapping artificial intelligence for their company, but most are not yet using it in any form. One of the main challenges expected is how easily AI can be utilized in their business, based on a new study. While most business leaders are interested or even welcoming of AI into their business, the majority (69%) of companies are not using. An additional 17% are unsure, while only 13% of companies said they are currently using AI.
Virtual reality can't logically replace a trip, but it sure can provide some insight into what a trip might be like. Rather than the purchase of a physical thing, travel is generally about an experience. And that's where virtual and augmented reality come in.
The first robots many U.S. consumers come face to face with may be bringing them something. For Mother's Day, 1-800-Flowers.com used a delivery robot to bring flowers and other gifts to surprised mother, as one example. The robot, from Starship Technologies, also used audio, so music started playing as soon as the flower recipient opened the top of the robot to receive her flowers, as I wrote about here at the time.
Virtual reality is joining shopper marketing. A virtual supermarket was created for a major brand to measure the impact of various in-store marketing approaches. The pilot program was created by System1 Research for Hershey's chocolate to better understand how in-store signage and kiosks would impact consumer behavior relating to Hershey products. To go over what was learned, I caught up with Gabriel Aleixo, managing director, behavioral economics at System1 Research, part of System1 Group, the behavioral science and marketing company formerly known as Brainjuicer.