Zone’s Rianna Mitchell handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…
1. Faster internet for cruise ships
Cruise ship giant Royal Caribbean joins forces with Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX to offer customers high-speed internet connectivity at sea. The company plans to equip its fleet of ships with SpaceX’s relatively new Starlink broadband satellite internet service to provide a “better onboard experience for guests and crews fleetwide”.
The service allows more high-bandwidth activities like video streaming, where testers said they were able to watch YouTube and Netflix videos “with no lag or buffering”. Historically, guests have had to pay for poor internet connection, making Starlink a great marketing opportunity for Royal Caribbean. The cruise line expects the installation of Starlink to be deployed by March 2023.
2. Hackers force NHS staff to use pen and paper
NHS staff have resorted to documenting health care notes on paper as IT systems continue to be hacked by cyber-criminals. Doctors predict it could take months to process the growing pile-up of medical paperwork and retrieve some online GP services. Growing concern lies with patient care being significantly impacted by the lack of access to patient records, with some healthcare teams unable to send notifications to GP practices.
The ransomware attack on NHS’s software supplier Advanced was first spotted in early August. Hackers took seven of Advanced’s health systems offline, including software used for patient check-ins, medical notes, and the NHS 111 service. The NHS reassured that contingency plans were in place in a bid to resolve software issues, and urges the public to continue using the health service as normal.
3. AI tech finds hidden taxable swimming pools
New AI technology detects over 20,000 secret swimming pools in France, providing a surprising windfall for the country’s tax authorities. They have pulled in some €10m (£8.5m) in tax revenue from homeowners who failed to declare the extra facilities. The software, developed by Google and French consulting firm Capgemini, spotted the pools using aerial photography of nine French regions during a trial run last year.
Private pools boost property value, increasing property and residency taxes in the Euro nation. Tax officials are currently scouring the system to catch out other unreported home improvements, such as annexes, extensions, and verandas.
4. Very’s new cheaper and sustainable range
Digital retailer Very launched a new own-brand collection to support consumers during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. The latest ‘Everyday’ range will feature 700 lines across clothing and homeware products — including womenswear, menswear, kid’s fashion, furniture, bedding, and lighting — at affordable prices without comprising on quality.
Its products will cost, on average, 20% less than its current V by Very own-brand range, with 85% of items going for £30 and under. The retailer also said the range provides sustainable shopping options after partnering with denim technology expert Jeanologia in producing denim with less water and chemicals than traditional methods.
5. Kingfisher’s digital strategy leads the field
Kingfisher’s Chief Digital Officer and Zone’s CX50 2022 winner, JJ Van Oosten, transforms the global home improvements company’s digital strategy. He leverages the latest retail technology in a bid to address the geo-political, economic and supply chain challenges breaking down the business infrastructure. Van Oosten says, “I go into relatively large and established retailers and then I bring them into the modern age.”
In an interview with Charged Retail, Van Oosten discusses moving Kingfisher towards a marketplace model, the importance of an omnichannel model and using data to maximise customer offering, and scaling the company’s digital investments to new heights.