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COLLISION 2021 REPORT: THE TECH INDUSTRY IS READY FOR THE POST-COVID WORLD

28
apr
2021
Nicolas DIACONO
Technological Trends Senior Analyst
4 minutes

Collision is the North American version of the Web Summit. An event that is rising in the tech ecosystemand that is gaining more and more attention on the other side of the Atlantic. During this digital edition, more than 30,000 participants gathered to follow the conferences, discover startups or meet investors. This is the entire technological and innovative ecosystem that has been covered and discussed from Dan Schulman CEO of Paypal to David Beckham for UNICEF.

Obviously, COVID-19 was an underlying element of this event. Paddy Cosgrave, the founder of Collision and the Web Summit returned to the fact that he was hopeful that the next editions will receive audiences, especially from next September for his brand new event, the Web Summit Tokyo. However, the event model should certainly remain in hybrid mode, mixing real and digital, even after the pandemic.

Towards a valuable retail

For Casey Carl, head of omnichannel and operations at Walmart, the future of commerce will not be limited to the retail giants Amazon or Walmart. There are going to be multitudes of opportunities for local and hyper-specialized retailers.
The real problem is the soft underbelly of the retail world whose value proposition is almost non-existent. These distributors will then have to adapt, change or disappear. Walmart is also going to remove Bossanova robots from its shelves for a much simpler and more efficient shelf survey solution. A solution that will probably be based on fixed cameras and machine learning. He also returned to the fact that he believed a lot in video streaming to create new sales experiences, like what is done in Asia.

(Source: That Lot)

On this subject David Schneider, founder of That Lot, was very clear: the future is all about listening, sharing and experiencing for brands and retailers. Obviously today it is difficult to break free from social platforms. He estimates that the influencer market will experience growth of at least 15% in 2021.

As for the GenZs, it is important to understand that they are very committed to the fight against social and racial injustices since in the United States, they are 61% to support athletes who have dropped to one knee during of the national anthem at the start of each sporting event, in protest against police violence. At the same time, 61% of Boomers condemned this gesture. For brands, it’s important to understand that this commitment is important if they want to best target this young generation.

As for the next generation, the alphas are much less involved around screens according to Erika Faith, editor at Vice media.

The fight against aging is on

Colin Watts, CEO of Juvenescence, was very clear: “The fight against aging is accelerating thanks to science. Will it be normal to live more than a hundred years? “. The world of health has come a long way in recent years and the latest innovations in the field of gene therapy will allow humans to live longer and in better health within a few years. It is therefore the entire silver economy that will have to be rethought to best address the needs of this population of the future. For many experts, thanks to vaccination, covid-19 is already a thing of the past and now it is about the fight against cancer. For Hans Bishop, CEO of Grail, it all starts with screening tests to treat this pathology as soon as possible.

(source Grail)

Grail will therefore come out with a blood test that will detect up to 50 cancers in a blood test. This screening must become automatic at each annual check-up in order to be able to treat the disease immediately. A disease very often detected in phase 3 which limits the chances of success of the treatments. Screening is the most effective solution today.

Towards clean Supersonic journeys

And if taking a supersonic plane to travel was possible and with a neutral ecological impact. That’s the whole point of Boom Supersonic and its Overture supersonic aircraft project. An aircraft that will take half the time of a conventional long-haul aircraft while being 100% carbon neutral. The first tests of this concept will be carried out by the end of 2021 with a smaller supersonic model with the XB-1.

(Source Boom Supersonic)

For Blake Scholl, it is also about offering an accessible and most eco-responsible long-haul transport solution possible because for him it is in the nature of man to explore the world. Still in mobility but this time on land, it seems that some manufacturers of autonomous vehicles such as Aurora or Zoox are making road transport and taxis a priority far ahead of sales to individuals. According to Zoox founder Jesse Levinson, it will be easier to get the regulator’s approval to launch a commercial offer in these markets.

NFTs & Blockchain are booming

On the blockchain side, it is the NFTs (Non Fongible Token) that have made the buzz on many conferences. Whether in the field of sports, music or video games, the NFT surge took place during Collision. The best example being that of Dapper Labs with the NBA who launched NBA Top Shot. Thanks to NBA Top Shot fans can buy videos of the best actions of their favorite players. They become owners through authentication on the Ethereum blockchain. Depending on the rarity of the videos they can then be resold for several thousand dollars. A new way to engage with fans away from theaters and therefore generate money for the American League.

(source NBA Top Shot)

In the field of digital art it is the same success with Sotheby’s which sold for more than $ 17 million digital objects during its first sale of NFT which took place in mid-April. However, speculation around NFTs poses certain problems such as money laundering in some marketplaces.

To each his own digital double?

Synthetic media are gaining momentum, as with Soul Machines, which will create a digital double of NBA player Carmelo Anthony so that this avatar can be used to chat with fans on various social platforms. The goal is to make him a true ambassador like virtual influencers like Lil Miquela.

At Bank of America, no avatar but a virtual assistant in the person of Erica who, according to Cathy Bessant, CTO of Bank of America, must allow a bank branch in the hands of each of her clients. Not a very encouraging message for bank branches across the Atlantic.

Collision 2021 has succeeded in meeting its bet of a quality online event around technological and societal developments. This is an event that follows on from the Web Summit last December, allowing us to have an American prism on these tech developments.

Read all our debriefings of Collision here!

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Nicolas DIACONO
Technological Trends Senior Analyst
As an expert in emerging technologies, Nicolas travels to innovation shows around the world to spot and analyse the new trends.
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