Friday Five: Leaders agree global plan to boost green tech

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

1. Leaders agree global plan to boost green tech

More than 40 world leaders say they will work together to turbo-charge the uptake of clean technologies by imposing worldwide standards and policies. The announcement will be made at the climate summit COP26 in Glasgow on Tuesday. Five high-carbon sectors will be targeted at first, including agriculture and electricity.

Similar international attempts have been made previously to push clean tech — but nothing as ambitious as this multi-lateral agreement. Its backers want to reassure investors that global markets will be created for green technology. It’s hoped that the initiative will help draw in trillions of dollars in private finance for cutting emissions.

2. Tesco’s checkout-free edge over Amazon

In March, Amazon opened its first London-based checkout-free supermarket, but Amazon Go stores haven’t proven hugely popular with shoppers. Despite this, Tesco decided to open its own checkout-free store at the end of October — and it’s showing early signs of success. So what can Tesco teach Amazon?

In this article for The Grocer, Zone CEO Roy Capon discusses why Tesco has an instant advantage in this space due to its core group of loyal shoppers, while it will take time for Amazon to pivot from being known as a solely online marketplace. Roy also looks at how innovations such as checkout-free stores impact employees.

3. Teams adds 3D avatars in push to metaverse

Microsoft says it is adding 3D virtual avatars and environments to Teams as part of its push towards the metaverse. It says its Mesh platform will let people meet in the virtual space, with or without a VR headset. Microsoft says the new features, which it is calling “immersive meetings”, will be available in the first half of 2022.

It comes after Facebook showcased similar virtual chat rooms as part of its rebrand to name itself Meta. While there is no single strict definition of what a metaverse will be, most versions envision a future version of the internet with a diverse range of interconnected virtual worlds, covering everything from gaming to education.

4. Netflix Games starts global rollout on Android

Ever since the announcement Netflix was pursuing gaming content for its billion-dollar entertainment mega streaming platform, it was a matter of time before you could actually play games from the Netflix app. And now Netflix Games has started a global rollout, initially on Android, with iOS on the way soon.

Users will be able to choose from one of five games: Stranger Things: 1984, Stranger Things 3: The Game, Shooting Hoops, Card Blast and Teeter Up. There are no adverts (hooray!), no additional fees and no in-app purchases, but users will need a Netflix subscription in order to play.

5. Microsoft brings back Clippy from the dead

Earlier we talked about Teams embracing the metaverse, but we’re back on more familiar Microsoft ground here with the news that Clippy is being resurrected(again). A sticker pack will be available in Microsoft Teams soon that includes lots of different versions of the helpful(ish) anthropomorphic paperclip.

The new retro sticker pack looks a lot like the same stickers that a team of Microsoft employees created for Teams two years ago. Microsoft officials were quick to shut down the project, and a source revealed “brand police” inside the company weren’t happy to see Clippy’s annoying face. I guess they’ve had a change of heart…

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