XMAS TECH POP-UPS AND ROBOTS

Xmas tech is all around us! This week’s [retail bytes] explores: what are the latest seasonal trends in digital and retail?

Drink up to help Fauna and Flora this Xmas: Planet Earth II was the surprise TV hit of 2016 – to celebrate the ingenious presenter Sir David Attenborough and his 90th birthday in May The Shard has created a pop-up Xmas installation at Aqua Shard on the 31st floor. Architect Timothy Hatton has created a tribute made of 3D-printed British woodland leaves, hanging from the tall ceiling but close enough to see their gossamer details flickering in the air. From a distance they look like a blizzard of snowflakes, delicately flowing through the awe-inducing lobby. Made of recycled waste, it’s aptly called the Human Nature Installation.

Cash from your cocktails will go to Fauna and Flora, Sir David’s much loved charity supporting gorillas in the wild. Pure Instagram gold – go.

Post-Apple wonderland: In 2016 there is no escape from tech so even Christmas celebrations get a digital make-over. Most pop-ups have a touch of tech for Xmas, not least Claridge’s. Jony Ive, the Apple chief design guru, has created a heart-warming winter wonderland in the hall of this poshest-of-posh London hotel.
The green tree, full of wild forest fragrance is just a background, while the wonderland set up has many quirky technology touches – as the scene changes light from dawn to dusk, birdsong fills the air, owls hoot and foxes cry. A very English affair indeed. Don’t miss it – till 2nd January.

Punk fundraising hits again: Less high brow and more low brew bar for Xmas celebrations – coming from our favourite Scottish craft beer masters BrewDog. A mystery new bar location in east London has been revealed – of course it’s in hipster central, otherwise known as Homerton. The new bar will have some gambling tech as it comes with a casino theme. Fans are invited to play and win a pint of the limited new beer release. BrewDog is very much the lovechild of punk crowdfunding as it keeps smashing targets in their yearly fundraising rounds on CrowdCube.com. Good to see they put their winnings into making our London high street more exciting, and to bring us Xmas cheer (much needed after a tough year).

Droids delivery day: If Stormtrooper was a delivery robot, it would work for Just Eat. East London is where the tech action is, so if you love your beer and pizza but would rather go sober for Xmas than enter hipster-infested drinking holes, Just East delivery has a solution. Your order will be brought to you by a robot that looks like the cousin of a Stormtrooper, and in fact was created by Starship Enterprise – the founders of Skype. Available in Greenwich for now, the white robots are delivering for a local Turkish takeaway. Simply order your favourite kebab, wait for a text message with the secret code embedded in your unique link, and the robot will roll up to your humble abode. Just key in the code to open the loading compartment on the side of the robot – your food will be kept warm and the beer cold. These ARE the droids we are looking for.

Greetings from your security robot: Less Stormtroopers and more R2-D2 are the new security-cum-personal assistant robots from California’s Knightscope. Created to supplement human night patrols, the cuddly robots have proved to be so efficient that now they’re guarding the Microsoft HQ and soon Westfield shopping centres. Cuddly but with eagle eyes, Knightscope are getting solid performance reviews and will be soon greeting you at the entrance of London and New York stores. Get used to them, as next Xmas they will be a common sight.