Arya Stark would love the iPhone X Face ID technology.

This is not a review of the new iPhone X, for that you will have zillions of websites to inform you, the sames I read myself yesterday. One thing has been surprisingly new in the most recent Apple flagship phone and it’s not the full screen, it’s not the “ears”, it’s not the battery life, nor the wireless charger. It’s Face ID.

It’s funny to see when a company tries to innovate changing things in a quite established phone design (mainly Nokia, in the pre-iPhone era, was bold enough to design crazy phones), there are a bunch of collateral effects that sometimes create something unique. Since Samsung launched the S6 Edge, the race to have the best screen surface vs. size ratio had begun. But that meant a lot for the iPhone, since the home button was an iconic element since the very beginning. Taking the home button out from the front would mean you have to put it elsewhere (like on the back as many LGs do since 3 or 4 years), or innovate and take it completely out, like they finally did. The original functionality of the home button could be easily replaced by other gestures on the screen, but in the last years that button was also holding the fingerprint reader, which has evolved in terms of security to a point where Apple based the payment authentication on it.

By sacrificing the fingerprint reader, Apple creates (yet) a new playground for phones

The only possible, obvious identification mechanism left was to use the front camera. Samsung explored the iris scan (a historical way to authenticate people in security areas) but it seems it’s not 100% secure and a flat picture could be easily faked. So Apple had to “innovate”, using another well known technology, 3D mapping via infrared grid.

It’s well known because the first version of Microsoft Kinect had it, although it has been replaced with newer and more accurate technologies.

Future app developers could integrate 3D mapping via the infrared grid for a myriad of usages, not only identification or payments

And this has a lot of implications:

  • If it doesn’t exist (didn’t have much time to investigate) a new picture format will be created, not only containing the image itself, but the 3D correspondence for each dot.
  • Panoramic pictures will also be possible, scanning an entire object or person and building the complete 3D model.
  • With this new 3D layer AIs could be exponentially better in identifying objects. This has a lot of implications in object recognition, such in shopping environments.
  • 3D people models could be an input for online fashion retailers. no need to give your pants size anymore.
  • 3D models could be sent to 3D printers directly and Amazon Prints will send you the piece.
  • Hackers will steal 3D models of faces, and use it for malicious purposes
  • Arya Stark wouldn’t need to kill people to have their faces, with the iPhone X, she would be able to print them at home.

Finally Apple innovates again, even if it’s with existing technology. Double merit.

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Supermarkets One To One. The next VR game?

aaeaaqaaaaaaaajwaaaajda1mdflmtu0ltzlmdutndy1mi05mju1ltfkotqyzjjjzjuzygIn my last posts I tried to foresee what could be the future of retail in terms of shopper interaction, from augmented reality, predictive recommendation throughdigital personal valets, or e-commerce automated recurring purchases. In this one I will cover the topic from a completely different perspective.

Some say that wandering the supermarkets aisles is something people are still willing to do in the future, that’s why an Augmented Reality solution (Watch the latest demo of Microsoft HoloLens here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p0BDw4VHNo ) will help them to maintain their shopping habits (not sure about Millennials or Gen Zs willing to do it, though). Read the rest of this entry »


The Next Big Disruption in Retail (and no, it’s not iBeacons)

Smart shopping is around the corner, much has been written about the extended possibilities of digital interaction within physical stores, leveraging on mobile and other technologies such as iBeacon or NFC.

Microsoft recently announced, through a concept video (a must see) their HoloLens. A very interesting release since just a week before Google announced they were stopping to sell their similar product, Google Glass. Same product? not really. Google took the wearable path, and this generated much controversy not only because the cost (to be a wearable), but because of the uses of the product, which limited it to be an additional screen to your phone (the same as a watch could be). Microsoft, on the other hand, has played the augmented reality game, which is not new at all, but which gives a great twist into the uses of the product. Read the rest of this entry »


The 3 biggest spoilers of your marketing success are in your own company.

About a year ago, I reflected on thequalities of the new CMO, and why CEOs should be worried not finding them. Let’s imagine you are one of those superhero multidisciplinary CMOs, recently hired by a great consumer product company (you can extend the example to almost any category). You have great ideas, you have the knowledge, you have the team, then it’s time to execute.

I’m pretty sure you will be undermined by at least two of these three:

 

The Legal department. You start some project, it involves digital, mobile, point of sales… it’s perfect, it must increase the numbers, definitely. And then, in the last minute, when you’re ready to launch it, someone asks the ugliest question can be asked in such moment: “Has Legal seen this?”. Oops. You go back to the legal department, tell them what’s the project about (unable to hide your excitement about it). You lost two precious weeks in the process and they come back with quite a lot of things. Most of them, dismantling the so long optimized consumer experience. Now consumers need to accept an endless terms and conditions before even continue, where they accept basically everything to be accepted “just in case”. Don’t get me wrong, legals are necessary, not only to comply with the law, also to be protected from your own consumers, not all of them are friendly and love your brand. Legal is one of the most powerful department in the companies, since they can completely stop and throw your work, your budget and your passion in the trash. How to deal with them? well, first of all the obvious one, involving them in the project from the very beginning. But also requiring them to work as what they are, a support area: “Don’t tell me what I can’t do, tell me how can I do what I want and let’s discuss the trade offs”. Legal needs to work in a consultant mode, and that requires time and a bit of knowledge. But I’m sure your project is worth it.

The IT department. Nowadays, your marketing projects are likely using technology at some point, could be a web, could be a database for CRM, could be a mobile app or an NFC loyalty card or any combination of them. In fact, soon . Some companies don’t have any CIO, since they consider IT as a support area, keeping the laptops and the office networks in shape. That is a big mistake, since companies servicing the marketing area (typically agencies) are neither technology savvy. But since you are a superhero CMO you know what to do. The problem is you need servers, you need security policies, and a lot of things that, well, are not your business. Again, the IT department should help you reach your objectives, not putting obstacles up. When it comes to IT everything can be done, it’s just a question of time and money. If somebody says your project can’t be done, fire him. He or she should tell you what is the cost and times, and then you will decide if you want to spend that money. Well, you and your boss…

The CEO. Oh yes, you have a boss. And probably without the knowledge, nor the time, to understand the fancy things you are doing in Marketing. But you need the budget to do these fancy things, so you need to knock on his/her door at some point in the year. Not only you need to have your elevator pitch ready, but having your boss asking for numbers is actually good for you. Whatever new project you are starting, be sure it has a solid business case behind. Understand all the costs (that you will know because you’re asking for money), the consequences for every stakeholder (consumers, customers, employees), and the return. You need to know how you are going to measure success and what will be the return of that success. Return will not always be money (could be awareness if you are launching a product), but should lately transform into it (if you don’t sell more after an awareness campaign, something is definitely wrong). This measure oriented philosophy, should reach your team, but also your providers. Making your agency win a Cannes Lion doesn’t make you sell more. The scary question you have to always ask is “how much this good idea will contribute to my business?”. If you support your projects with a business case, built with the help of your team and your agencies (Media, Creative, PR), your boss will likely say yes, and you finally will help your company to grow. Wasn’t it your dream after all?

Do you think other internal areas can undermine you marketing activities? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.