Friday Five: Rise of the five-year-old ‘TikTot’ users

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

1. Rise of the five-year-old ‘TikTot’ users

Children as young as five use social media, despite most platforms having rules users must be over the age of 13. An annual study into media habits, from Ofcom, highlighted the mini social-media mavens, with a third of parents of five to seven-year-olds revealing their child had a social media profile.

Among the eight to 11-year-olds who used social media, the most popular platform was TikTok, with one in every three having an account. The report noted even younger children — TikTots as Ofcom dubbed them — were watching videos on TikTok, including 16% of the three- to four-year-olds.

2. Asda clashes with Waitrose over new range

Asda has confirmed it is launching a new value range, Just Essentials by Asda, which it claims is the largest budget-friendly staples offer in the market. The supermarket has invested £45m in developing the range and says it has been specifically designed to help “millions of families” manage rising living costs.

It comprises 300 products, 50% more than the Smart Price range it will replace. However, Asda faces a legal challenge from Waitrose, which has had its own budget range, Essential Waitrose, since 2009. Asda said: “The word ‘essentials’ is a generic and commonly used term by retailers to describe their value product ranges.”

3. AI tech cuts shoplifting losses by 90%

A London-based convenience store has cut shoplifting losses by 90% using AI technology that can tell what people are putting in their pockets. The smart AI techis connected to the existing cameras and security network through the internet and then automatically monitors all the cameras for potential shoplifting activity.

The tech then notifies the convenience store staff via an app. When the AI detects any suspicious gestures or movements — which can be anything from unusual browsing patterns to someone putting an item in their pocket — it sends a short video clip of suspicious activity to staff, so they can take action and deal with the suspect.

4. UK tech industry third to reach $1tn valuation

The UK tech industry is now valued at $1tn (£764bn), a milestone previously only been reached by the US and China. The figures, which combine the valuations of the UK’s public and private tech companies, puts the value of the UK tech industry at more than double that of Germany and almost five times larger than France.

The latest figures cement the UK as one of the world’s leading tech hubs. It was revealed earlier this year that UK tech companies made up 38% of the combined valuation of European unicorns in 2021 — the highest percentage across Europe. The majority are in London, but 44 unicorns are now located outside the capital.

5. RoboBurger is a fast food restaurant in a box

We’ve seen vending machines serving up burgers, but they’re usually little more than glorified microwave ovens. RoboBurger, on the other hand, claims to be the world’s first fully autonomous robotic burger chef. That means it cooks the beef patties from scratch, toasts the bun, and adds the condiments before serving it up to customers.

The folks behind RoboBurger described their creation as “an artificially intelligent, self-operating, patented kitchen designed to include all the processes of a restaurant at a fraction of the size”. Inside the 12-square-feet metal box is a refrigerator and an automated, self-cleaning griddle. And, of course, all the ingredients to fulfil an order.

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We write about customer experience, employee experience, design, content & technology to share our knowledge with the wider community.