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PetSmart takes on Amazon with launch of same-day delivery and subscriptions

PetSmart takes on Amazon with launch of same-day delivery and subscriptions | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- PetSmart is rolling out a revamped website designed to make it easier to order the regular pet staples that shoppers need, like food, over-the-counter medicines, grooming supplies, litter and bedding, toys, treats, and more.
- Shoppers can subscribe to frequent orders through a new “auto-ship” option that lets you have items delivered on a schedule in exchange for a 5 percent discount, opt for a same-day delivery option for a $7.99 fee, get free shipping, and check in-store availability.
- Pet grooming and boarding services can also now be booked online and customers can opt to receive text message about deals, creating a wholistic service for the PetSmart customer.

Implications for Verizon:
Brands must think with omnichannel approaches to maintain a competitive advantage. Verizon has the opportunity to offer services such as same day delivery or a subscription model for phones because of the urgency and need to be refreshed.
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Snapchat’s Spectacles go on sale via Minion-like vending machines

Snapchat’s Spectacles go on sale via Minion-like vending machines | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- Snapchat’s new Spectacles are now available to purchase via pop-up vending machines called Snapbots, which let you virtually try them on before you buy via an integrated AR display.
- Snapbot accepts both debit and credit cards and will process the $129 purchase in approximately 10 seconds, distributing a paper receipt.
- The bots can be found using a locator tool on Snapchat’s website and will only stay in one place for about a day as they rotate to new spots on an ongoing basis.

Implications for Verizon:
Brands are finding new, buzz-worthy ways to sell their products that are both practical and fun. Verizon has the opportunity to explore pop-up retail experiences for new or exclusive products such as the Google Pixel phone that will surprise and delight consumers.
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Amazon Is Opening Grocery Stores So You Don’t Have to Shop in Them

Amazon Is Opening Grocery Stores So You Don’t Have to Shop in Them | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- Amazon is opening a string of physical groceries called Project Como, and the first store is planned for Seattle, the company’s home city.
- Shoppers will purchase perishable goods in-store, but can also order items with longer shelf-life via in-store touch screens and smartphones for same-day delivery or ahead of time for curbside pick up.
- While Amazon is an e-commerce company, establishing physical outposts such as bookstores and grocery stores support the online business and serve as distribution centers.

Implications for Verizon:
Platforms are expanding their offerings to appeal to needs that users turn to other brands for. Verizon has the opportunity to eliminate competitors and create internal platforms for things such as user-to-user hardware resell. 
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Play-Doh crosses over into digital

Play-Doh crosses over into digital | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- Play-Doh now offers the $40 Touch Shape to Life Studio exclusively at Apple stores, which includes cans of Play-doh, tools, cutters, and stamps. 
- Once done, the creations get placed on the star-shaped plastic studio platform and after a photo is captured with an iPad or iPhone, the Play-Doh touch app creates a digital version of the sculpture and incorporates it into game play.
- The app recognizes the stamp’s shape and color and customizes the experience based on what it sees, offering up different experiences based on different combinations.

Implications for Verizon: 
Traditionally analog brands are integrating technology into their products in a playful and organic way. Verizon could create a supplementary game or app that teaches children how to use their smart home technology. 
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Facebook Recommendations Is Here to Tell You What to Do IRL

Facebook Recommendations Is Here to Tell You What to Do IRL | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters: 
- Facebook wants to become a more transactional place by helping people decide what to do in the real world- now if you send recommendations to someone, Facebook will compile them into a map for all your friends to see. 
- The new Events tool will suggest upcoming activities based on what’s popular with your friends or what you’ve done before and will let you order food, book appointments, buy tickets, and get quotes from businesses through services like Eventbrite and Ticketmaster.
- While the tools are reminiscent of pre-existing services, Facebook taps your social network letting you make, or receive, suggestions without leaving Facebook.

Implications for Verizon:
Social media platforms are integrating into users' lives outside of the digital space. Verizon can look for ways to help their customers daily lives and habits such as through the smart home by providing content like recommendations to save energy. 
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Retail Store Offers Food Hall-Like Space For Online Brands

Retail Store Offers Food Hall-Like Space For Online Brands | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters: 
- ‘bio‘ is a 10,000 sq.ft. retail concept coming to New York’s Soho neighborhood in 2017 that will contain over 30 individual retail experiences from online brands.
- Visitors will be able to browse fashion, jewelry, beauty and home accessory products in a hybrid retail showroom environment that also has a social area and cafe by the owners of the restaurant Jack’s Wife Freda. 
- bio recognizes that not all businesses have the resources to support their own storefront and also plans to provide merchandising and customer service support to each of the tenants. 

Implications for Verizon:
Reimagined retail spaces help provide access for retailers and consumers. Verizon has the opportunity to experiment with other businesses in their physical retail spaces such as kiosks or pop-ups from brands like Oculus or Nest. 
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Amazon launches “Family Vault,” a way for families to share Prime Photos’ free storage

Amazon launches “Family Vault,” a way for families to share Prime Photos’ free storage | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- Amazon is extending its Prime members’ families free, unlimited photo storage with “Family Vault,” a service that allows them to combine photos and take advantage of free photo storage, as well as another 5 GB for videos and other files. 
- The intention is to make it easier for families or close friends to combine their photos and videos in a single destination, so everyone in the group can see them on their own devices.
- To catch up with competitors, Amazon is also rolling out new search technology such as using keywords to search what images contain, sorting by “people” view as well as with filters like location or date.

Implications for Verizon:
Brands must evaluate the competitive landscape and adjust their business accordingly in order to stay relevant or gain market share. Verizon can look at what others in the telecommunications industry are doing in business transformation, marketing, etc. and evaluate as they plan their own.
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'School of Guac': Chipotle courts millennials with a Snapchat show - Digiday

'School of Guac': Chipotle courts millennials with a Snapchat show - Digiday | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- Chipotle is rolling out a weekly show on Snapchat called “School of Guac” at 3 p.m. on Tuesdays to build appointment viewing for the Snapchat Generation.
- Each minute-long episode is an after-school special meets variety show meets satirical news program about pop culture, burrito culture, and snap culture that wants to appeal to broad interests.
- The chain has also experimented with Snapchat recently via a sponsored lens and plans to track the series success- if it works, they may attempt to do the same on Instagram Stories.

Implications for Verizon:
Brands are creating ways to ensure that consumers will interact with them on a routine or scheduled basis. Verizon has the opportunity to explore platforms like Snapchat or Instagram stories in order to regularly reach out to millennial and Gen Z audiences.  
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“Anyone and everyone can wear makeup”: Meet Covergirl’s first Coverboy

“Anyone and everyone can wear makeup”: Meet Covergirl’s first Coverboy | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- 17-year-old makeup artist and YouTube influencer James Charles joined the ranks of models and celebrity spokespeople to as the first male to represent Covergirl cosmetics.
- While Covergirl is by not the first cosmetics company to put men in its campaigns such as MAC, MAC’s brand is built on edgy, editorial looks whereas Covergirl’s has been about more mainstream beauty.
- The inclusion of James acknowledges the widening definition of beauty and its icons in the US, while also expanding Covergirl's market potential to both genders, a large audience since men’s grooming products are expected to bring in $21 billion in 2016.

Implications for Verizon: 
Brands are finding ways to innovate in their industry by defying cultural norms and supporting social causes, creating positive brand awareness. Verizon has the opportunity to support social causes that align with their brand value of connectivity and communication and find disruptive ways to advertise this message where they will stand out among the telecommunications industry. 
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An iPhone-Friendly Doorbell Ensures You'll Never Miss UPS Again

An iPhone-Friendly Doorbell Ensures You'll Never Miss UPS Again | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- The missed package is no longer a problem with the Ding Smart Doorbell, a seemingly average doorbell with an integrated intercom system that connects to your phone if someone rings the bell while you’re away. 
- When someone rings the bell, you get a push notification through Ding’s app and if you’re unavailable, all you have to do is tap the notification to open a VOIP phone call with whomever is at your front door.
- Ding can run up to six months on a set of batteries or can be hardwired into the home with a speaker placed wherever you like, and it also includes a standalone app that’s loaded with data about when people are ringing your doorbell.

Implications for Verizon:
Finding new solutions to existing problems doesn’t necessarily mean reinventing the wheel. As e-commerce continues to grow, Verizon look to utilize technology like Ding for smarter deliveries, especially since devices can be precious cargo that customers don’t want left at their front step or need in a timely manner.
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Facebook Marketplace Wants to Be Your New Craigslist

Facebook Marketplace Wants to Be Your New Craigslist | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- Facebook has launched Marketplace, a centralized hub where its 1.71 billion monthly users can buy and sell their stuff online safely within local communities by directly contacting each other and working out purchase arrangements.
- Users can browse items that people nearby have posted for sale, with product recommendations based on interactions and search queries and filters with location, category, and price.
- Because Facebook has a wealth of data on its users, Marketplace is a good opportunity to build audiences for advertisers, especially since the platform has not monetized buying intent.

Implications for Verizon:
Platforms with large audiences are expanding their businesses by capitalizing on existing user behavior, converting their brand into one-stop hubs. Verizon can continue to build an ecosystem around their brand by expanding their offerings, such as creating a platform for users to help each other with customer support or buying and selling old devices.
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Google's $80 Daydream View VR headset is light, comfy, and a whole lot of fun

Google's $80 Daydream View VR headset is light, comfy, and a whole lot of fun | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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AKQA's insight:
Why it matters:
- Google just announced a suite of new hardware products they are releasing including Daydream View, an $80 light, flexible headset that comes in three colors. 
- Slot a “Daydream Ready” phone- currently only the new Google Pixel- into the headset’s cradle and it will be ready to use, interacting via a petite controller with motion sensors, a trackpad, and two buttons. 
- With this product release, Google announced an app store’s worth of content for Daydream where users can view traditional and VR content. 

Implications for Verizon: 
Brands can help make complex technologies, such as virtual reality, feel approachable and easy for everyone. Verizon has the opportunity to introduce these technologies in their product lines as well as utilize them in their business processes such as employee training.
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Boeing Passengers Control In-Flight Experience On Phones

Boeing Passengers Control In-Flight Experience On Phones | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- Boeing has began demoing vCabin, a chip-controlled “bring your own device” system that would deepen the connection between flight attendants and fliers for a more personalized experience.
- Instead of using Wi-Fi, the system uses a chip that interacts with mobile phones and enables passengers to use amenities such as controlling overhead lights, send requests to flight attendants and shop from their phones.
- The cabin device also has the potential to automatically inform people such as maintenance personnel on the ground with updates or a cabin crew with information about passengers to provide customized customer service. 

Implications for Verizon:
Integrating technology necessarily mean eliminating the human element- brands are using mobile technology to heighten service create more seamless, personalized experiences between employees and consumers. Verizon can explore opportunities in-store where customers could use their own device to help customize their process, such as checking into an appointment and pre-loading the necessary information.
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L'Oréal Is Using Virtual Reality To Expand The "Matrix Academy"

L'Oréal Is Using Virtual Reality To Expand The "Matrix Academy" | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- L'Oréal is launching a new virtual reality training program for salon stylists affiliated with its professional hair care brand, Matrix, called the “Matrix Academy” where stylists will have the option to learn new styling techniques with a VR headset.
- While the program is best experienced on a headset with positional tracking (unlike Google Cardboard), this option may be more effective and efficient than traditional methods like traveling across the country for workshops or watching YouTube videos.
- The VR experience features two photo-realistic humans—a stylist and a client—in a 360-degree environment where students can step into the hairdressers' shoes, and shift position in the virtual salon to watch from any angle.

Implications for Verizon:
Education and training is becoming a popular application for virtual reality. Verizon can seek to implement virtual reality in their employee onboarding process, especially since VR would be able to stage retail scenarios where employees could interact with customers.
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HTC Vive's virtual reality headset is opening stores in Australia

HTC Vive's virtual reality headset is opening stores in Australia | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- Australians eager to try virtual reality will soon be able to head to their local Harvey Norman or JB Hi-Fi store to buy the HTC Vive headset.
- While already available online, it will be the virtual reality (VR) headset's first foray into retail, as people often need to experience VR to be convinced.
- Beyond inventory, there will be demonstration locations in the stores as well as an online booking system to obtain a walk-through.

Implications for Verizon:
Brands will go where their target audiences are in order to accelerate adoption. Verizon can build brand experiences for consumers who are not familiar with their brand’s offerings such as fiOS to help users understand the utility and quality of the service.
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Instagram tests shoppable photo tags

Instagram tests shoppable photo tags | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- Instagram wants you to shop without having to interrupt your scrolling with a browser window, which is why it will start showing shoppable tags on photos from 20 retail brands like Kate Spade and JackThreads to iOS users in the US.
- Tags are hidden behind a “Tap to view products” button and after selecting their product of choice, users see an in-app details page with a specific product’s price, description, additional photos, and a “Shop Now” button to buy it on the web.
- Instagram won’t take a cut of purchases, and instead plans to monetize the product by later allowing brands to pay to show their shoppable photos to people who don’t follow them.

Implications for Verizon:
Social media platforms, traditionally utilized for communication, are now attempting to enter the e-commerce space. Verizon has the opportunity to partner with Instagram and utilize its new shoppable tags feature to entice customers and simplify their experience, especially with the new exclusive Google Pixel release. 
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How Apple's New MacBook Pros Compare To Microsoft's New Surface Studio

How Apple's New MacBook Pros Compare To Microsoft's New Surface Studio | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- Both Microsoft and Apple held a press events this week to announce their new products- Microsoft’s new Surface Studio desktop computer and a new input device called the Dial and Apple’s new MacBook Pros featuring a new programmable Touch Bar.
- Microsoft also announced a game-streaming service called Beam, a new VR headset reference design for Google's Project Daydream platform, and Apple announced a new TV app and accessibility website for the disabled.
- Though both of the brands chose to announce their products in the same week, their different value propositions and targeted audiences allowed them to not overshadow one another. 

Implications for Verizon: 
Though competitors may offer similar products and marketing tactics, brands can still stand out through minor differentiations. Verizon can continue to innovate in the telecommunications space by creating new services to improve the user experience such as an app or platform that controls a customer's entire Verizon experience from phone to smart home. 
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Facebook Messenger now supports PayPal payments in bots, will track your PayPal receipts

Facebook Messenger now supports PayPal payments in bots, will track your PayPal receipts | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- PayPal is deepening its relationship with Facebook and will now become one of the payment options within Messenger for third party retailers, starting with the U.S. 
- Facebook has been working to better integrate payments into its platform such as when they allowed Visa and MasterCard integration to send peer-to-peer payments, similar to Venmo and Snapcash. 
- Users will be able to access their PayPal transactions and receipts from within Messenger as well, serving as a convenient archive that will incentivize the user to utilize the platform. 

Implications for Verizon:
Once in a partnership, brands should look to expand their relationships. Because Verizon is exclusively carrying the Google Pixel phone, Verizon can look to collaborate with Google on other business, such as finding ways to utilize their new messaging app Allo.  
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HTC brings its virtual reality storefront to mobile

HTC brings its virtual reality storefront to mobile | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- HTC announced a mobile version of its Viveport VR storefront for Android phones, which looks to serve as a hub for 360 content and dedicated VR apps that work for users with and without headsets. 
- Viveport is the VR hardware of choice for many developers and consumers, and last month, HTC launched the Viveport VR app store globally for desktop users. 
- HTC doesn’t currently sell a headset for mobile, but establishing a storefront shows the brand’s active shift towards mobile VR, especially as competitors like Oculus double down on content partnerships for the mobile platform.

Implications for Verizon: 
Brands are looking to build themselves into their product’s infrastructure rather than just being a hardware or software provider in the space. While Verizon has an extensive ecosystem, it can explore expanding into hardware or creating exclusive partnerships with hardware brands across mobile, home, and television. 
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Tinder Taps Its Inner Vegas to Predict Swipe Rights

Tinder Taps Its Inner Vegas to Predict Swipe Rights | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters: 
- Tinder is introducing a new tool called “Smart Photos,” where users upload five or six photos and it decides via machine learning which pictures will likely appeal to which people.
- Tinder takes advantage of their large user base and high engagement to conduct different types of research such as A/B testing, one-armed bandit testing, and deep neural networks to improve the user experience while reducing the overall cost of learning.
- Tinder’s goal is to help algorithmically surface the things they think are going to be most interesting to converse about and in preliminary user testing, the tool led to a 12 percent uptick in matches.

Implications for Verizon:
Learning about consumers can help brands improve their product and create a better experience for consumers that will help build loyalty. Verizon has the opportunity to track user habits and conduct research to see which features of their business or app has room for improvement and work to trouble shoot those. 
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Dropbox rolls out PDF signing, iMessage integrations and picture-in-picture on iOS

Dropbox rolls out PDF signing, iMessage integrations and picture-in-picture on iOS | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- Dropbox is updating its apps with new features that aim to work well across all platforms, since workplaces increasingly have a set of heterogeneous tools that do not always seamlessly integrate.
- The features include PDF signing, iMessage integration, a lock-screen widget, split-screen usage on the iPad, and a picture-in-picture feature, based on office needs for efficiency or multi-tasking. 
- Dropbox’s efforts attempt to keep up with the tools available in the market and pick up steam in the corporate world, as only a small fraction of their users currently pay for a subscription.

Implications for Verizon:
Brands must look to expand their offerings to fit their consumers’ needs and stay competitive within the market. Because Verizon currently serves an ecosystem of telecommunication needs, it can look to expand its brand into new platforms that are a part of users’ everyday lives such as smart home devices like Alexa or social platforms like Facebook M.
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Sonos Is Selling A Whole Sensory Experience Through Strategic Retail Partnerships

Sonos Is Selling A Whole Sensory Experience Through Strategic Retail Partnerships | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- Sonos wants their consumers to experience their speakers firsthand while educating and exposing them to a new way of listening to music through their new retail partnerships strategy.
- Each brand will be getting their own unique listening environments- for example, Apple will be demo-ing the speakers in-store with Apple Music and West Elm will also integrate in-store while training its staff on the role sound can play in people’s personal space.
- Each of the spaces also feeds into Sonos’ goal of injecting a more home-like feel wherever it can, taken more literally with a listening room in the Rough Trade record store and offering discounted systems to new Airbnb hosts.

Implications for Verizon:
Leveraging partnerships with brands can create contextual product placement that reaches a variety of audiences. By utilizing Verizon’s services in a series of different environments, such as being the exclusive Internet or TV provider at hotels or stadiums, this will create a positive brand image while reaching a diverse demographic.
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Now you can register to vote in Snapchat

Now you can register to vote in Snapchat | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters: 
- Snapchat is teaming up with nonprofit Democracy Works' TurboVote to helping people register to vote by checking their eligibility and register all within the app.
- Any US Snapchat user 18 or older can see video ads between Snapchat Stories featuring celebrities like Jimmy Fallon sharing why and how they vote, which then directs them to a voter registration webpage.
- This campaign aims to encourage more people, especially millennials who have had a lower voter turnout in the past, to register, since Snapchat reaches 41 percent of all 18 to 34 year olds in the U.S. on any day.

Implications for Verizon:
Brands have the ability to utilize their reach for relevant social good. Verizon can look to team up with nonprofits to help create awareness or encourage positive habits for social causes through their marketing and advertising.

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MasterCard launches its ‘selfie pay’ biometric authentication app in Europe

MasterCard launches its ‘selfie pay’ biometric authentication app in Europe | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- MasterCard is rolling out Identity Check, an app more colloquially known as ‘selfie pay’ that enables users to confirm an online payment by showing their face to their smartphone’s camera.
- Identity Check also offers the option of authenticating mobile payments with a fingerprint to speed up the e-commerce process, mitigate the risk of fraud for card-not-present-purchases, and eliminate the need for shoppers to remember yet another password.
- For extra security purposes, the app requires the user to blink to confirm it’s really their face in shot.

Implications for Verizon:
Brands are taking biometrics beyond the fingerprint. To add an extra layer of security, Verizon can explore using facial recognition or other biometric technology for users to securely pay or make purchases from home or in store.
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This robot will look after your kids so you don't have to

This robot will look after your kids so you don't have to | Retail and Technology | Scoop.it
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Why it matters:
- Meet the iPal, a rolling, talking robotic nanny with cloud apps designed to be a full time companion for your child.
- Its autonomous learning engine allows iPal to make and improve conversation based on your child’s interests and has sensors to feel touch, listen to speech and detect emotion.
- iPal doesn’t stop with companionship- it has apps that will make sure your child wakes up on time, knows what the weather is like, and has washed his or her hands and also takes photos and videos of your child to help monitor growth, which can be accessed by parents on their phone.

Implications for Verizon:
While artificial intelligence (AI) technology continues to grow, it straddles a thin line between overstepping its boundaries of knowledge. If Verizon chooses to use AI technology in its customer service or marketing, it needs to make sure that user information is carefully utilized and that interactions stay non-invasive to make the customer comfortable. 
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