Sizzling summer smart fest-tech

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Summer is finally here (yes, we know it’s rained a bit, we’re just ignoring it!) and we all know what that means: festival fever, self-indulgent and delicious cocktails and sales-induced strolls around our favourite retailers. This week’s [retail bytes] dives into the latest in-store and festival-proof technology that will help you enjoy the best months of the year without any further ado.

Smart tent to connect with your beer: A fridge full of drinks, free Wi-Fi and a phone charger is what festivalgoers’ dreams are made of. EE recently designed the world’s first Smart Tent for Glastonbury, aiming to provide a lucky few competition winners with a stay in a dream-come-true tent with a connected mini-fridge that tweets when the drink supplies run low. In case punters have had one too many, there’s no need to schlep to the stages either, as livestreams from six stages could be piped right into the tent. #4GEESmartTent was blazing hot as punters competed to win a night in fest-tech heaven.

Charged up and ready to go? Summer festivals are coming fast and furious in Europe and, in the absence of a Smart Tent, charging your phone is the key challenge. Glastonbury provided decent phone-charging banks but the queues were still enormous so the smart festivalgoer needs to be independent and powered up (so much for a festival being an actual break from your social feeds eh?). This year we plunged for Anker and it’s a real winner. Get it here and rest assured that a massive eight full charges can be provided out of its magic can-of-soup-shaped container. If you’re travelling for longer, get a solar charger with triple ports, which is easy to use and will make those festival phone-charging banks a thing of the distant past.

Flagship stores join 21st century: Planning a summer sales shopping trip to stock up on your holiday attire? Stores are getting better at catering for juice-deprived customers across Europe. When in Amsterdam, phone-charging stations are available in the fabulous Hunkemöller lace lingerie heaven store on Kalverstraat, where up to 12 phones can be charged while you try on the new swimwear by Doutzen Kroes.  In Westfield London there are chargers in a number of sections, and if you sign up to their ‘smart parking’ service, cameras will recognise your plate and the payment will be deducted from your account, saving the hassle of parking tickets.

Where does my stuff come from? Unless you’ve been living under a stone for the last six months, you will be well aware that the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is going through the roof. We’re excited about this new tech but even more interested in sorting out the problem of where the products that consumers buy in stores actually come from. Fashion is notorious for its murky supply chain but food guys have even more problems, with a permanent aura of origin scandals around them. To stop cooking oil corruption, similar food issues and tampering with ‘sell by dates’, Taiwanese start-up OwlTing is looking to a blockchain-based tool to ensure the trust of supply chains every step of the way. Improving knowledge of its origins is essential for food as well as fashion, so good luck to the blockchain boffins with this much-needed solution.

UK and EU on GDPR – more in common than we thought? The long-awaited Queen’s Speech indicated that the UK will adopt GDPR law, providing a modicum of certainty to retail businesses. Not exactly a cyber security heaven, the UK suffered over 230,000 attacks in 2016 alone, with over 50% of businesses affected and having to fork out about £30m in costs to cover the damages. Now that we know GDPR is here to stay, retailers in the UK will welcome the adoption of an EU stance on this issue. Kudos to the Queen for the suitable hat selection for her speech, which on close inspection pretty much resembled the EU’s yellow star-studded flag on its blue background. Thanks to Facebook Frames, thousands of people downloaded the ‘hat frame’ and decorated their own profile photo. A picture’s worth 1000 words?

Upcoming conferences: Check out the Imbibe Show – a wonderfully informative trade show at Olympia about beer, wine and the cocktail industry. We’re looking forward to the session “From Cocktails to Start Ups”, where the founder of our favourite drinking hole in Edinburgh, El Cartel, along with the founder of wine-led restaurant Blandford Comptoir, will be sharing their ‘war stories’ and helping new entrants to start working for themselves. As a bit of prep, and for a glimpse of how it’s done in the world of craft beer marketing, have a look at Johnny Garret’s tutorials.