Friday Five: how we’re responding to this unprecedented challenge

Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

1. Zone’s response to the COVID-19 challenge

We took the decision this week to close our offices in London and Bristol, with all colleagues working from home and all communications with our clients taking place online. Given our expertise in digital transformation, we have the infrastructure to allow all of our colleagues to work securely from any location and are confident we can continue to provide an excellent service for our clients.

You can find more details on how we are responding to these unprecedented and fast-changing times in this Medium blog, including how we are looking after our colleagues’ physical and mental health and also some tips for how teams can continue to collaborate effectively when working from home.

2. Social giants rely on AI to halt misinformation

Social platforms are a hive of misinformation at the best of times but coronavirus has led to a surge of problematic content across the web, both medical and political. And with employees in most countries being told to work from home, the social giants are being forced to turn to AI to moderate their content.

With fewer people available for human review, appeals for wrongfully removed content could take longer, while Twitter has promised no accounts will be permanently banned without human say-so. But even if they err on the side of being heavy-handed, it’s vital that Facebook et al keep on top of corona misinformation.

3. Marketers concerned about remote working

A Marketing Week survey has found that the majority of marketers do not believe their businesses have policies in place that can adapt to the rapidly changing coronavirus outbreak. Of 887 marketers who responded, 42% said their company has a best practice resource for remote working that is adaptable to emerging needs.

Furthermore, the report says only 40% say their organisation is ‘very proficient’ at enabling remote work, with strong tech, culture and processes, while 43% say it is ‘somewhat proficient’. Creativity is seen as the biggest challenge of remote working, cited by 53%, followed by performance management (45%).

4. Self-driving cars and e-scooters move closer

We may be somewhat distracted at the moment, but new tech never sleeps. And we could be seeing a host of new transport tech in the UK in the near(ish) future afterthe government green-lit a series of real-world tests for e-scooters, self-driving vehicles and drone deliveries in four specific zones across England.

The ‘Future Transport Zones’ include Bristol and Bath, which will trial self-driving cars that transport locals between Bristol Airport and the surrounding region. Perhaps more pertinently, the government also wants to experiment with delivering medical supplies to and from the Isle of Wight using drones.

5. Kick your slippers off and have a little dance

Going clubbing isn’t going to be an option for some time, but music fans have been able to get their fix online in China, with major alcohol brands able to sell them booze at the same time. Win-win! JD.com, the Chinese e-commerce giant, is hosting a three-hour show each week with talent from music label Taihe Music Group.

The likes of Budweiser, Rémy Martin and Pernod Ricard have all signed up for the service, with sales up by almost 70% during some of the live shows. Elsewhere, the UK-based dance label Defected Records is hosting a virtual festival this weekend, bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘house party’…

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