Digital Down Low: November 18th
Drones fall prey to avian wrath
- According to Mashable, while we all look forward to the prospect of pizza being delivered by drones, not everyone is loving the flying gadgets. Birds of prey don’t particularly like them. At all. Surveyor Rick Steven, has had to contend with some angsty local eagles while flying his unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at the St Ives mine, located in Western Australia’s Goldfields region. In short, they’re destroying them, and it’s forcing Steven to get inventive.
- The UAVs have assisted Steven in creating 3D models of mined areas, as well as helping workers avoid extreme weather conditions on surveys. But the pesky eagles have been taking down their drone-y mortal enemies, because they’re seen as a threat. “Eagles are extremely territorial birds,” Steven told Mashable. “Seeing a UAV in the sky, obviously they consider it a threat and something that’s encroaching on their territory.” On the advice from a birds of prey rehabilitation centre, Steven’s team were told to camouflage the drone so that it would look like a juvenile eagle. The solution worked for about 50 flights, but then the wedge-tailed eagles figured out that the drones were no baby eagles. They started being taken down again, falling “like a rock” to the ground.
- These are no off-the-shelf consumer drones either: The UAV themselves cost roughly A$10,000 (US$7,391) each as does the camera that’s attached to them. So Steven stopped camouflaging the drones, and instead tried to pick a time where the eagle would not be in the air. “I know the eagle loves to fly on thermals. Because they’re a big heavy bird, and the more thermal activity there is, the easy it is for them to fly. Thermals activate during the hottest part of the day — which is why we’re flying first thing in the morning now,” he explained. “That’s been really successful. So if we fly first thing, say 6:30 a.m., we can get our flight done. Modus operandi on site; if I see an eagle in the air, I call off the flight.” For future commercial drone operators that happen to be sharing the air with a watchful eagle, you have been warned.
‘Tis the season for holiday gadgets
- According to Tech Insider, Black Friday, the start to the holiday shopping season, takes place in a week. Stores are already starting to offer deals on TVs, Amazon Echo speakers, Sony PlayStations, iPads, and other electronics that kids of all ages would want to see underneath the Christmas tree. But the most desirable gadgets this Christmas won’t be easy to get. They probably won’t be available in stores, unless you line up in the early hours of the morning. Here are the three rarest electronics gadgets that you probably won’t be able to find this Christmas.
- Snapchat Spectacles: Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, started to roll out its new face computer earlier this month. The Spectacles are super fun. They’re well-designed, stylish, and because they’re so rare, they attract attention. A camera mounted on the sunglasses takes short videos from a first-person view that will certainly get attention on Snapchat. They’re also very hard to get a hold of. Snap is only selling them through a single vending machine that it moves to a random location every other day. They retail for $129, but you can get a pair on Ebay for about $600 or more.
- Apple Airpods: In September, Apple debuted AirPods, a new set of wireless earbuds that pair instantaneously with Apple products and look like an iconic pair of the Apple EarPods with their cords cut off. They were supposed to go on sale in October, but Apple delayed them, saying that they weren’t ready, and hasn’t set an official release date for them. The latest word suggests that mass production will start in December, which means that they might not go on sale before Christmas. Even if they do go on sale, it’s a safe assumption that they will be in short supply, so if you want a pair, you’ll have to try to buy them as soon as they go on sale or line up outside of an Apple Store. When they do go on sale, they will cost $159 from Apple.
- Nintendo NES Classic Edition: A great gift for Nintendo fans is the NES Classic Edition. It might just be a perfect gift for adults who want to replay the classic games they played as children. Maybe nostalgia is the reason that people on Ebay are paying $200 or more for the $60 console, which is hard to find. The pocket-sized NES is basically a modern computer that does nothing but emulate and look like the original Nintendo Entertainment System, which first launched in 1985. But it plugs in to your flatscreen with HDMI. It can play 30 classic NES games, including “Final Fantasy,” all three “Super Mario Bros.,” and the “Legend of Zelda.” It even comes with a cute modern version of the classic NES controller. When a batch of NES Classics went on sale on Amazon earlier this month, the demand crashed the product page.
Retailers are hoping that mobile will help their bottom line
- According to Marketing Land, with Black Friday and the holiday shopping season around the corner, retailers are hoping for a fourth quarter that’s good to them, delivering sales that fatten their bottom line. They’re also looking for opportunities to acquire new customers and stay engaged with current ones to ultimately convert them to loyal consumers who will continue to boost their top-line revenue for the year ahead and beyond. Fortunately for brick-and-mortar retailers, the key to welcoming shoppers through their doors and accomplishing both is right in the palm of most shoppers’ hands: a mobile device.
- Reaching today’s shoppers via mobile translates into giving them a “digital handout” about a retailer that increases awareness and helps move them to the next step of their shopping journey. Searches of store directories on mall websites are an example of such a handout; once shoppers know what stores are available, they can take the next step to find out what sales and promotions the stores are offering. Native apps allow retailers to reach loyal customers, but download and app retention rates are still relatively low. Hyperlocal web apps give retailers the ability to engage with new and existing customers who don’t want to download an app or get multiple offers in one location by allowing them to opt into a mall’s guest WiFi network. Web apps are growing in popularity due to the ease of use and cross-functionality offered. Fortunately for retailers, shoppers are looking for digital handouts.
- Using mobile to increase brand awareness and in-store traffic is just the beginning. RetailNext found that 55 percent of online shoppers say they’d prefer making purchases in-store, an opportunity brick-and-mortar retailers can’t ignore. Two-thirds of shoppers also admitted to “webroomming” — making purchases in-store after doing research online. Results from a PayPal study indicate it’s an experience a majority of shoppers would welcome. Although throngs of mall shoppers would indicate otherwise, six in 10 Americans would rather spend time in a dentist’s chair than deal with the stress of holiday shopping, according to the research.
- Although the official launch of the holiday shopping season is just around the corner, shoppers started redeeming Black Friday-like deals even before snatching up after-Halloween deals on treats. Reaching Black Friday and holiday shoppers who are already well-primed with promotional offers requires retailers to stand out in unexpected ways. Mobile offers the flexibility to react to trends in real time and draw shoppers into the store with limited-time or special offers. “Unexpected” doesn’t always have to come in the form of a promotional offer, however. Mobile equips retailers to showcase unique or exclusive products. Price isn’t always the only driver behind a shopper’s purchase, according to Google. Consumers also are on a quest for the best; mobile searches related to “best gift” grew 70 percent last holiday season.