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INTRO ASSISTED HUMANS, AUTONOMOUS OBJECTS I really think this year is evolution versus revolution ... A lot more of your devices are going to run with less direction from you but a greater sense of how to help you out - Gartner Analyst Brian Blau during CES 2016 Did you speak of a collaborative Internet? The reality is actually quite different. Today, I am constantly assisted by an OS, a personal-smart-speech-enabled assistant, a smart thermostat and other objects connected to my quantified self, and also by a good Samaritan located on the other side of the world. Algorithms hidden in the cloud decide what I'm going to eat, wear, watch - more and more. Because I less and less have to care about mundanely material things. I've forgotten the phone numbers and door codes that I used to remember carefully. I've given up taking cabs since I realized that Uber enables me to order one from an app and that its drivers open the door for me. And how do I use my free time? I fuel my FOMO syndrome by glancing at my smartphone 487 times a day, but it's been a while since I last contributed to Wikipedia or thought about becoming an artist on YouTube or Dailymotion. So lazy... and it's going to last for a very long time if we all become eternal beings. In my complete idleness, I could then fall in love with an interface. If it's a thermostat's, I really hope it will have Scarlett Johansson's voice. This Hot Off the Crowd edition was fueled by months of investigation and daily discoveries on the leading crowdfunding and crowdsourcing platforms: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, AngelList, Product Hunt, Crunchbase... At FABERNOVEL, we truly believe that we all need to monitor the latest technological gems, trends and developments from these sites, it's the most useful way to understand what's going on before taking action. Stéphane Distinguin CEO FABERNOVEL Group
SUMMARY TL;TR? Key Takeaways _ Lazy Business Text me when it's done Alice through the Phone Screen Talk to my Lawyer! _ Spoiled for Choice Food Delivery: the only problem is choosing The New Digital Divide _ Autonomous Objects Productive Furniture
KEY TAKEAWAYS KEY TAKEAWAYS Too lazy and too long to read? Keep only this in mind 1# Availability + personalization + empathy = intimacy 2# Intimacy can be leveraged by businesses through messaging interfaces, enabling a truly one-to-one and permanent channel with every customer 3# Value can be created by reinvigorating aging interfaces with a digital layer (SMS x AI, objects x electronics x connectivity...) 4# Money buys time: in the on-demand economy, each of your chores is someone else's job 5# There are 3 possible answers to the paradox of choice generated by the digital revolution: - Benevolence as a service - Narrowed offering - aka curation - AI mediation 6# Smart lamps will take over the world! Talk Space A Therapyby-text Service Enjoy delivers electronic devices with free expert Setup at home The Aspirational Lamp invests in the stock market for its owner
LAZY BUSINESS LAZY BUSINESS If you've been dreaming of a technological – and social – revolution, where robots are increasingly domesticated, and where the luxury of being waited upon hand and foot, has become a commodity, your dream has become a reality. But forget the personal robot Ninebot just spotted at the CES. For now, apps steal the show by acting as butlers and concierges. Indeed, startups are increasingly offering users services to carry out simple but time-consuming tasks: thanks to text messages, emails and voice commands, it has never been simpler to be served. Why should you pay attention? What is fueling this new social paradigm? The laziness of modern times or a genuine lack of time in an increasingly urban world? We are constantly on the lookout for a simplified customer experience that is increasingly personalized... Working via SMS or OS, these assistants usually communicate on first-name terms, providing the illusion of a 'human' service. By carrying out all of the annoying daily errands with one message, we are losing the so-called virtue of patience.
TEXT ME WHEN IT'S DONE In a previous article we talked about the rise of invisible apps. Not apps in the strict sense of the word, but rather a new way of interacting with services by using classic communication channels, such as text messages, emails, tweets... there is no need to download an application on the App Store or Google Play. No need to create an account. No interface (hence the use of the word invisible). Over the last few months, we have seen many startups – listed on Product Hunt – multiply in every sector. TEXT ME WHEN IT'S DONE Why should you pay attention? Specially designed to accommodate each potential customer's journey, these new concierge services rely heavily on text messages, which are accessible to everyone since they became unlimited through most carriers, enabling them to reduce production costs at the same time. However, the rise of text messages illustrates a deeper trend: the growth of messaging apps and their transformation into services platforms that third parties can leverage as a new mass communication channel. Thus WeChat lets users open a store inside its messaging service, Facebook launched a new service on its mobile Messenger App called "M", and even Slack enables you to order an Uber within its app. Invisible Apps: service is conversation on FABERNOVEL's blog
INVISIBLE APPS: CONCIERGE AS A SERVICE INVISIBLE APPS: CONCIERGE AS A SERVICE By playing on the "human" side of exchange and advice, invisible apps promote the best customer relationships and provide the best, tailored advice. With Magic you can ask for anything, as long as it's legal and possible. You just have to send a text. 48 hours after its launch, the service had received over 17,000 text messages with requests ranging from a bunch of bananas to a tiger! Clac Des Doigts, a French copycat of Magic, satisfies all your last-minute cravings day or night (flowers, meals, ironing, shows, another set of keys). Jam is a French invisible app that helps students solve their daily problems and satisfy their needs. Can't find an apartment? A classroom? Simply send a text message or Facebook message and Jam's Team will text you the best offers or indications they find. Unload your clutter and get rid of anything you don't need by text – that's what Unload helps you to do. Simply send pictures of your things, and Unload's assistants will determine items that can be sold, and those that should be given away. OutFitR provides on-demand fashion advice to help users find their style and the best outfits for events. Users text "HELLO" and OutFitR connects them to their very own professional stylist. Talkspace lets you talk to a psychiatrist with its "Unlimited Messaging Therapy". Invisible Apps Collection on Product Hunt
ALICE THROUGH THE PHONE SCREEN ALICE THROUGH THE PHONE SCREEN Cloé looks for the best places for colleagues to go out or the ideal restaurant for St Valentine's Day. Julie and Clara will find a date for your next meeting while balancing the agendas of all participants. Not to mention Luka and Nestor. It's not just by chance that these services bear human names: creating a sense of trust and closeness is key to a successful customer experience of services that often deal with your personal matters and that you can reach through means of communication usually dedicated to friends or colleagues. Most of the time, there are real people responding directly to user requests, however there are a growing number of services that use artificial intelligence, the Chatbot of the on-demand era, leaving humans to simply control the service and validate the demand. And even Google is working on it. Why should you pay attention? These fictitious names enable our interlocutors to create intimacy and convince users to extend their digital trust. It is also interesting to point out the difference between the simplicity of these services and the complex artificial intelligence needed to establish a relevant and contextual response. That's why AI voice services such as Siri, Cortana, Alexa or Xiaoice are in competition with text messages – as they're easy to implement. Voice is a necessary step in creating proximity with the user, but it doesn't seem too credible at the moment.
THAT'S NOT MY NAME THAT'S NOT MY NAME Amy is an artificially intelligent personal assistant, who can schedule your meetings and book them in your calendar. To do that, Amy can read emails and organize agendas to make room for appointments. She will also converse with your interlocutors to avoid any overlaps. Alfred is an automatic, hands-off service. It's "your very own personal butler". It takes care of the many to-dos and chores that make up your daily routine, such as laundry and grocery shopping (generally through other on-demand services.) Stefan's Head will send you clothing discounts. Once you send it a text, Stefan will let you know when limitededition clothing goes on sale, at a discounted price. Follow Alfred's activity on AngelList Miley offers a personal job hunt service. Simply send a text to the given number, and Miley will find you your best match work-wise. Horace can sort you out with a replacement moisturizer in less than three hours.
TALK TO MY LAWYER! TALK TO MY LAWYER! In the previous edition of Hot Off the Crowd, we focused on services that have brought legal resources, including contractual and B2B assistance, to the masses. With a particular emphasis on the rise of "lawyers on demand", and the growth of collective services like Flightradar or refund.me, which focus on the airline industry. The simple principle of delegating a complaint, sometimes collectively, is being used by several businesses today. Many startups, often American ones, offer services to consumers who feel aggrieved by daily injustices. Why should you pay attention? Yes, the business of being lazy is still booming. If certain companies were counting on you not going through with your complaint to get your money back because of the obstacles put in your way, the time you have to wait by post - even though you paid online – there are an increasing number of startups who are hoping you will delegate this task to them. But don't be gullible, they're not doing out of the goodness of their heart or in the search of justice but often for a commission.
WE WANT YOUR MONEY BACK! WE WANT YOUR MONEY BACK! Crusader, litigator or nit-picker? We don't know for you but where startups are concerned it's clear – business is business! Paribus Paribus helps you get your money back. If you miss a coupon, a better deal or if the price simply drops, Paribus will help you remedy a basic injustice and get your money back for you, if possible. Paribus on Product Hunt Service Service helps consumers get what they deserve from businesses. The promise: "you tell us about a problem you had with a business, and we fix it for you" - non refundable airline tickets, late deliveries, bad service at restaurants, and many more. Fixed Fixed is an app designed to help users solve simple drivers' legal problems. For instance, it can help you solve parking ticket disputes. They're also planning to launch a service to deal with speeding tickets, credit card overcharges... CrunchBase reports a $700k Seed on January 17, 2016
Spoiled for choice
FOOD DELIVERY: THEONLY PROBLEM IS CHOOSING FOOD DELIVERY: THE ONLY PROBLEM IS CHOOSING The collision between our laziness and hunger has resulted in an explosion of the number food-delivery startups. They are now so numerous that the paradox of choice has now kicked in: when all the restaurants of your city are available from your couch, it proves difficult to make a quick choice. That's why a new crop of services - such as Deliveroo (UK), Take Eat Easy (Belgium), Foodora (Germany) and the Americans Caviar, Sprig, Munchery - deliberately offers limited options through a list of handpicked restaurants. Those startups are growing at a rapid pace leading to a head-on competition where guerrilla marketing (e.g. widespread coupon distribution) and logistics infrastructure (e.g. ramp-up of bike fleets) are the main theaters of operations. And of course, such a race entails sizable fundraising rounds to do everything quicker than the competitors. Why should you pay attention? If the promise is really to simplify choice, in an ideal world there would only be one, overarching platform, with a limited list of recommendations. However, not everybody can keep ahead in this saturated market. That's why Dinein.co.uk's adventure drew to a close, despite a successful first round of fundraising in Europe and its aquisition of MyDeliveryCab to distance its competitors. The arrival of behemoths such as Uber or Amazon also shakes things up. The Curated Food Delivery Trend on JWTintelligence
CURATED OUTSIDERS CURATED OUTSIDERS A stricly curated approach to food delivery FoodNow is all about simplicity. By simply removing choice, FoodNow focuses on providing the best meal you can eat, near to your location. "One click and the food is yours, it removes the paradox of choice that makes GrubHub, Seamless overwhelming and confusing to use" explains its founder. Uber Eats. No longer just your average cab service, Uber is now turning into your dream delivery driver service. By using its own drivers, it distinguishes itself from competitors by being more productive and offering curated food options and local meals. Caviar, a premium food delivery service, offers delivery from a curated list of select restaurants for a flat fee of $9.99. In many cases, the restaurants it features do not offer delivery of any kind. Arcade is a food delivery texting service (another invisible app!) that curates dishes from the best NYC restaurants. The service is available online, by phone or text message, and offers curated meals that enable customers to order food items from one or more restaurants. Arcade offers one dish, from one restaurant every day – with a focus on quality. On-demand and selected Food Delivery Start-up on Product Hunt
WHEN FOOD STARTUPS GO FULL-STACK WHEN FOOD STARTUPS GO FULL-STACK We are also increasingly seeing startups that deal with a larger part of the food value chain, creating and preparing their own menus in their own kitchens, in addition to the logistics part. Maple promises restaurant-quality meals from a menu developed by famous chefs. Without a restaurant. The app provides three entree choices per meal, prepares it with care in Maple's kitchen, and delivers it to you - in NYC. At Munchery, the San Francisco-based startup, cooks prepare meals during the day when they are not needed at their regular restaurant jobs. Customers order online or through an app and the food gets delivered to their homes with warming instructions. Sprig specializes in healthy on-demand meals in San Francisco. The user-friendly app enables you to choose and order your meal in four easy steps. Sprig's menu is limited, but all the food is prepared in its own kitchen run by several high-profile chefs.
THE NEW DIGITAL DIVIDE THE NEW DIGITAL DIVIDE Smartphones, wearables, drones, smart TVs, connected thermostats, Bluetooth speakers... The number of electronic devices in our homes and lives keeps soaring: so even if they are supposed to be dead simple, intuitive to use, they tend to overwhelm us - at least in the first steps of their installation and usage. Contrast that with our time consciousness and expectation of instant gratification, and you can easily understand why 2015 saw the rise of on-demand "Genius Bar as a service" providers, enabling consumers to get up to speed with their latest fancy hi-tech purchases. Why should you pay attention? The gap between our capacity - and available time, probably to handle new devices and the speed at which they keep emerging is widening, compounded by the fact that each one increasingly needs to communicate in some sort with others in a sense, Meltcafe's law is turning against us. We thus face a new digital divide, transcending age or social differences: the limits of our cognitive abilities vs. the trajectory of technical progress. And new forms of (say, code or UI-based) literacies will marginally help us. There is a paradoxical way out: that more technology could prevent us from grappling with more complex technologies - waiting for an automated savior to clean up our digital mess, be it a robot or an intelligent app.
HELPLESS, REALLY? HELPLESS, REALLY? Eden proposes some "Tech Wizards" who are going to solve your tech problems or install your TV, Wi-Fi network... in your home anytime and anywhere. Thanks to that service, maybe you will forget all the problems you've faced skimming through endless user instructions... Enjoy redefines after-sales service. Enjoy, a startup created by the former head of Apple Stores, offers free delivery and visit with every purchase made on its website. Experts will hand deliver technology products to customers at a place and time of their choosing, and spend an hour helping them get up and running. HelloTech is an at-home tech support service. For $79 an hour, the tech-savvy college students of this startup provide support within 24 hours after the initial request. "We are totally on-demand and in-person, scheduled at a specific time like 6pm — no two-hour windows," said co-founder and chief executive Richard Wolpert. Tech Field Support Startups, a growing Market on AngelList
PRODUCTIVE FURNITURE PRODUCTIVE FURNITURE Still lifes are dead. The idle piece of furniture is increasingly a view of the past: we are now quite familiar with the gradual metamorphosis of mere objects into connected ones. Whereas the IOT trend today mainly implies the enhancement of the good old functions of everyday objects (connected pots, light bulbs, doorbells, locks...), a second wave is coming, pointing toward a hybrid future where the same objects will generate value not only through their usage, but also from some sort of production - unrelated to their initial function. Thus in the near future any electrical device could be turned into a bitcoin miner, servers could be hidden inside heaters, and furniture could also be algae production units. Why should you pay attention? Moving away from simple automation, it is a real "autonomization" of things that we are witnessing - objects are no longer solely reliant on humans' uses to have a specific purpose. It thus gives us a taste of what a materially networked economy could look like: highly decentralized, with a range of economic agents - that is, capable of making their own economic decisions - vastly exceeding the realm of human beings.
FIAT LUX FIAT LUX Living Things is a prototype of photosynthetic furniture a kind of giant light bulbs in this case - turning waste light, heat and carbon dioxide into spirulina, an edible bacteria that can be harvested for a locally-grown, high-protein meal. BitFury light bulbs automatically mine bitcoins for their owners (i.e. participate in the verification of Bitcoin transactions by helping solve cryptographic puzzles), thus generating a new revenue stream. It's a particularly interesting example for it points toward a future where a crucial infrastructure - that is, the payments processing system - could be widely distributed and hidden in every household. A concept created by design students from Copenhagen, the Aspirational Lamp uses a solar panel as its power source and sells the surplus of generated energy to the grid in order to buy stocks. The resulting profit is automatically reinvested in the lamp itself (for instance ordering a replacement for a faulty component)... as well as given back to the lucky owner. CES 2016: new LED bulbs do more than light up
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