1. Refinery 29: Courageous Creativity


 On day two of The Next Web Conference we listened to Piera Gelardi, Co-founder of Refinery 29 speak about courageous creativity. Refinery29 is a website that aims to be the ultimate destination for the modern woman including the latest tips on how to live a stylish, well-rounded life (whilst keeping it real!).

Piera highlighted that in order to be outrageously creative you have to:

“Be the most you:”

  • Stay true to your values
  • Trust your intuition
  • If it doesn’t fit you, tailor it to fit you better
  • Remember you’re never done growing

“Create the conditions for creativity:”

  • Know what works for you
  • Remember laughter unlocks brilliance
  • Do it for someone else
  • Embrace the uncomfortable

“Remember friction creates sparks:”

  • Combat frustration with imagination
  • Reframe the problem to unlock the solution
  • You can do it! (Say it out loud)

So go on, get outrageously creative!

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2. Microsoft: Augmented Reality 

Purna Virju, the Senior Manager of Training at Microsoft gave an interesting talk about how to use AR, VR and APIs in order to deepen customer engagement with your business or product. Microsoft is urging business to put intelligence API’s (application programming interface’s) to work. Purna showed us how a few powerful algorithms using just a few lines of code can derive great insight from your businesses data.

Her first example was Microsoft’s Emotion API that can identify the emotions of human’s in pictures:

Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 3.44.17 PMPurna continued to show us Microsoft’s recent collaboration with Lowe’s home improvement chain. Lowe’s paired with Microsoft to roll out augmented reality in their stores. The technology was first implemented in the Seattle area and let’s consumer’s visualise a remodel of their kitchens using HoloLens in a showroom environment.


Microsoft also collaborated with Volvo to create Virtual Car Showroom using Holograms:


“HoloLens offers the freedom to create a bespoke experience which customers can steer themselves. Imagine using mixed reality to choose the type of car you want – to explore the colours, rims, or get a better understanding of the features, services and options available,” said Björn Annwall, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Service at Volvo Cars.

Purna talked about the success of the campaigns and urged businesses to integrate augmented reality, virtual reality or application programming interfaces into their business model. She said the results on integrating these technologies has been proven, for example:


 3. Brad Templeton: Automated Cars

Brad Templeton from Singularity University gave a great speech on how self-driving cars are turning more than transportation upside-down! Every year, 1.2 million people worldwide die from a car crash. 40% of these fatalities are associated with drink driving. With automated cars, we would already be able to save this 40%. Not the mention the extremely positive impact automated cars will have on the environment e.g. green house gases and fossil fuels.

Brad continued to show us what is happening within the automated car space:

To show the rapid advancements of technology, Brad referred to Tesla who introduced Auto-pilot to their cars as a simple update. “One day people woke up and their car could drive itself.”

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BMW have introduced their prototype that includes a book case in the back to show that in the future, people will be able to do other tasks as their car drives them!

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People shouldn’t fear automated cars and their ‘entry’ into the market because they’re already here! Google are winning the game with their automated vehicle that has already done 4million kms on public roads!

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The future of transportation will not be about selling vehicles but selling rides. Brad said to keep a close eye on Uber because they “own the space.” Although Uber did launch their autonomous car last year, they’ve temporarily suspended the self-driving car program due to bad car crash in Arizona, which was caused by one of their vehicles.


Brad also predicted the following changes will happen due to the introduction of automated vehicles:

  • A better environment due to less oil usage & minimisation of fossil fuel usage
  • Predicts that the introduction of automated cars will end overseas oil imports for the US
  • Car parks will start to empty out
  • Real estate will change as the meaning of distance will change, he predicts the value of real estate will be “up for grabs”
  • He predicts these vehicles will soon carry cargo
  • The vehicles will be able to bring you any items you need (like UberEATS), this could include clothing which would drastically impact the retail market

Remember, the future is not near, it’s here!