Ever since Twitter launched in 2007 at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, the summer gatherings are the places to watch for new tech. What will happen this year? We take a look in this week’s edition of [retail bytes].
Power fest The threat of being off the grid, and not the mud, is a reveller’s worst nightmare. At @GlastoFest, EE scored high by inviting customers to order a special power bar in advance. The bar was then swappable at the EE tent once a day, once empty, for a fully charged one. ONCE A DAY?! For any self-respecting Periscope streamer, this would last about an hour as ‘life streaming’ and sharing the Glasto love uses up battery in no time! Even celebs were left struggling and old Nokia phones (oh the luxury of 5 days power on a single charge, welcome to 1997) were changing hands at sky-high prices. So much for mobile progress!
#Glastonbury The Great Struggle For Power was also driving a massive upsurge in Twitter use at @GlastoFest, with the organisers being yet again overwhelmed and many people complaining the bosses were ‘not on the ball’, particularly when the ‘share your location’ feature on the app did not work. To survive the online hordes and manage your brand’s Twitter account at a service level matching the steep ticket price, a tool like Sentimetrics would help brilliantly. Otherwise, like Adidas says, “There will be haters”.
Feel the beat Whaddya mean “No Instagramming”? And “No Periscoping”? Wimbledon has banned phones and tablets from the courts and the tennis fans are not happy. Periscope video streaming quality is not exactly a challenge to broadcast TV yet, so we’re not convinced the decision is right. To make up for the ban, Wimbledon have launched their first emojis, using strawberries and cream and trophies to shine on the #Wimbledon hashtag. We also get iBeacon messages and geo-loc stickers for Snapchat, as the kings of tennis marketing are battling to bring a younger audience to the loved but somewhat “stuffy” brand. My favourite however was the new Wimbledon ‘pulse’, which visualises big data on fan biometrics and uses ground sensors to measure crowd energy levels. Now we can measure the love through graphs!
Eye see you Who’s more than just a pretty face? Festivalgoers at Download in Leicestershire have undergone a blanket scan of their faces – that’s over 100,000 visitors – via the CCTV network at the festival site. As this is a very laidback gathering with few disturbances, was the mass surveillance really in proportion to the perceived ‘risk’ to fun-seeking ambience and well-behaved visitors? Your face once scanned stays in the EU database and it’s not clear if it will ever be deleted. Not great practice, so organisers are calling for the Information Commissioner’s Office to take a good look at the legality of the process. Retailers will do well to give facial recognition technology a wide berth until the usage permissions get clarified.
No selfie control It’s turning out to be a tricky summer in tech as all Disney theme parks decided to ban selfie sticks in an attempt to save customers from themselves – on one ride users attempted to take a photo, causing damage and upheaval. However, the Druids were more open minded, letting Stonehenge visitors use their sticks for the first time during this year’s summer solstice gathering. The stick created an amazing opportunity to take photos showing a new and original perspective on the 4,000-year-old stones. Both the successes and failures of this summer’s new tech will teach us what works so pay attention to summer hashtags and enjoy your gadgets, but remember netiquette – consider others and avoid blocking their view on Centre Court with your Periscope-streaming tablet!