Google keeps experimenting in new markets (of course with technology as basis)
Google has since Android Wallet in 2011 been testing and pushing to make sure they catch the new wave in payments. Their newest invention might just be it. “Hands Free” allows you to do your payments just as it sounds. When you’re ready to pay, you can simply tell the cashier, “I’ll pay with Google”, different types of facial authentication is then used. No more cards, no more nothing!
Google also recently patented a hybrid between traditional books and augmented reality. Imagine flipping through a book and seeing the character popping out and speaking to you!
India spurring more frugal (fake?) innovation
India is well known for its capacity to spur frugal innovation, and the company Ringing Bells is another brilliant example. The India-based phone manufacturer announced recently that they are launching the world’s cheapest smartphone, the Freedom251, which is going to cost 251 rupies – equal to less than 4 dollars! The company has taken orders and are expecting to ship their first products in April. Some have said that a 4 dollar phone is impossible, claiming it all to be a scam.. We will have to wait and see, nonetheless the Indian market is likely to be driving the smartphone market the next few years!
Quartz reported a month ago that India has passed USA as the second biggest smartphone market with a user base of 220 million, now only second to China. This has caused Facebook and Google, each of them with WIFI-Balloon/drone-project under way, to race to India as the first market to test their concepts.
Airline giant EasyJet is now expanding further in to the retail industry through its new venture EasyFoodstore, offering all items on sale at 25 pence, aiming to compete with the hugely successful Lidl and Aldi. EasyJet group has earlier ventured in to similar business development projects such as hotels, gym and even a chain of internet cafes however the new grocery concept is probably the least connected to the businesses core concept. This provides an interesting example of a business that is continuously expanding into new (perhaps unexpected) industries and business models.
Take care of your workforce!
With the aim of incentivizing companies to engage and promote their employees’ health, a working group consisting of participants from IBM, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo and Unilever (in selection) recently proposed that publicly listed companies should publish an overview of their employees’ health as part of their yearly and/or sustainability report. This would include health data (weight, cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure etc.) and information regarding diseases (depression, anxiety, stress, alcohol – and food habits etc.) and hopefully lead to companies actively engaging in their employees’ health to boost the value of their shares. Potential game changer for some industries if this becomes widely accepted!