5 in 5: dancing robots, immersive travel, designing for Instagram, biometric vacation planning, AI in space

Each week, Padilla’s Insights + Strategy team stands at the intersection of people, culture and brands to bring you five stories that you can read in five minutes.

1. Kicking it with robots.

HSBC has introduced a dancing, selfie-taking, credit card-pitching robot to their Fifth Avenue branch in Manhattan. Why should you care? This is part of a pilot for HSBC to determine if these robots enhance customer interactions. More importantly, this poses a larger question: what will it take for humans to enjoy interacting with robots? It will be interesting to see if gimmicks like dancing and taking selfies will be enough to get people to embrace rather than kick robots. [CNBC]

2. Immersive as the new all-inclusive.

Tour company, MariCar, has started running tours in select Japanese cities where tour participants dress up like characters from Nintendo’s Mario Kart and tour the city via go-karts. Why should you care? This is just the latest in a wave of new immersive travel experiences. Moving from historical reenactment or obscure conferences, immersive travel 2.0 has expanded to include popular fiction in mainstream environments such as the new Star Wars themed resort slated to open in Disney World in 2019 and cruise options to experience living among the “Walking Dead”. These immersive experiences take creating the perfect “escape” to a whole new level. It is too early to determine if this will become an expectation, where interactive will no longer be engaging enough, but brands should consider how immersion can enhance how people connect with them. [Lonely Planet]

3. “Instagrammable” as the new design standard.

Boston Chops spent $10,000 to co-create a table by social media influencers for ideal instagrammability in their restaurant. Why should you care? This is a major investment, for a restaurant, that, on the surface, has seemingly little to do with their food. The table, available only by reservation, is one of many renovations designed to enable the “perfect Instagram pic” every time. This also seems to be part of a larger trend where museum exhibits and tourist destinations have prioritized “instagrammability” in their design. Brands should consider finding the right balance in this arena. While having a hit on Instagram may drive business, trends around digital detox suggest that people may be shifting away from the perfect instagrammable moment and towards perfect moments that can be instagrammed. [Forbes]

Boston Chops spent $10,000 to co-create a table by social media influencers for ideal instagrammability in their restaurant.Click To Tweet

4. A biometrically perfect vacation.

AccorHotels has introduced a program called “Seeker”, which uses biometrics to create a psychographic profile to identify your ideal vacation destinations. Why should you care? These psychographic profiles will allow AccorHotels to help people select destinations they will truly enjoy and then build the ideal trip around those needs. Through this program, AccorHotels is demonstrating their commitment to meeting all of their customer needs as a go-to travel consultant rather than just selling them a hotel room. [The Points Guy]

5. AI in space.

This week astronauts on the International Space Station were joined by an AI robot, CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion), which is designed to float around the space station and assist crew members as needed. Why should you care? This is a first in space exploration and a great example of how AI can support rather than replace current jobs. While this may sound like the beginning of a sci-fi movie, CIMON will act much like a “Siri” or “Alexa” and gather information for the astronauts so they can spend more time on their research and less time on mundane tasks – such as moving back and forth between instruments to collect data. [Marketplace]

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