Weekly Roundup

Posted July 15th 2016


This week, we look at the Pokémon craze, and its implications for augmented reality and location-based marketing. We also look at how connected cars will lead the next evolution of service design. Lastly, we take a gander at some of the over-the-top architecture from today’s tech giants and read up on some of the lessons learned from last week’s Amazon Prime Day.


Pokémon Popping Up Everywhere

  • Bringing augmented reality to a mass audience: Pokémon Go represents one of those moments when a new technology — in this case, augmented reality — breaks through from a niche toy for early adopters to something much bigger. Players traverse the physical world following a digital map, searching for cartoon creatures that surface at random. People look through their smartphone cameras to find Pokémon. When an animated creature appears, they toss Pokéballs at it until it is subdued. [via New York Times
  • Restaurants and bars cash in on PokéSpot locations: Bars and restaurants across the country have been scrambling to cash in on the Pokémon Go phenomenon and lure budding trainers into their establishments, but the company behind the game is hoping to monetize it even further by introducing sponsored locations. [via The Guardian
  • Hillary Clinton holds campaign event at Pokémon Go gym: The area is Madison Park in Lakewood, OH, and it doubles as a Pokéstop as well. “Join us as we go to the Pokéstop in Madison Park and put up a lure module, get free pokémon, and battle each other while you register voters and learn more about Sec. Hillary Clinton!!! Kids welcome!” reads the Clinton campaign website. [via The Verge]
  • Pokémon goes to the dogs: Not only are players taking their dogs out on way more walks, but an animal shelter in Indiana started a program for volunteers to walk shelter dogs while playing Pokemon Go. [via USA Today]


Service Design For Connected Cars

  • Alibaba car lets owners pay for parking, gas, and coffee — and take selfies: The new OS’Car RX5 SUV has a special version of Alibaba’s YunOS operating system, normally used in everything from smartphones to refrigerators and other smart home appliances. The idea is to make a smart operating system “the second engine of cars” with data as “the new fuel.” Alibaba wants to make cars part of the Internet of Things, with devices exchanging data to make life better for consumers. In the case of the RX5, drivers will be able to reserve and pay for parking spaces, fuel, and coffee through Alibaba’s Alipay service. [via The Verge
  • Yoshi launches “set it and forget it” vehicle re-fueling service: The company has officially launched its gas delivery service in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is offering other simple services like filling up the air in a car’s tires, replacing windshield wiper blades and washing cars, as well. Rather than delivering “on-demand,” Yoshi has users schedule refueling one time, typically at a place of work where they park for hours during the day without needing their vehicle. Then, they authorize the startup to sense when their vehicle is nearby and come gas it up as needed. This “set it and forget it” approach allows Yoshi to optimize their delivery routes. [via TechCrunch


Tech Companies With Architecture Swagger 

  • Amazon building indoor tree houses for its employees: Amazon is building a greenhouse in downtown Seattle that’s meant to be a refuge for office employees. The greenhouse, constructed as a trio of spheres, will house more than 3,000 species of plants, many of which are endangered. In addition to the plants, the spheres will contain tree houses joined by a series of suspension bridges. The greenhouse will only be open to Amazon employees, but may open to the public at a later date. [via The Verge
  • Google swapped land with LinkedIn to get dream campus: Last year, Bloomberg Magazine called Google’s proposed campus design “the most ambitious project unveiled by Google this year.” But all that hype was effectively quashed when the Mountain View city council voted to take the land Google was proposing to develop and give it to LinkedIn instead. With the land swap, Google can now go ahead with the visionary plan that includes adaptable canopies and custom robot cranes that can build and reconfigure the layout on-site. [via Engadget


Amazon Prime Day

  • Prime Day was Amazon’s biggest sales day ever: The e-commerce giant said that Prime member orders on the Amazon mobile app were up more than 100% from Prime Day 2015, and that more than a million customers used the Amazon mobile app for the first time on Prime Day to shop and monitor deals. [via Fortune
  • The 5 most important lessons from Amazon’s ‘biggest day ever’: Amazon’s second Prime Day sales event is now history, but its impact will reverberate across the retail landscape for some time to come. Here’s what it all means. [via RetailDIVE