Tag Archives: innovation

“Mom” to the rescue!

What do college students do when they are far from home and need some help – or even just a hug and a home-cooked meal?  Well, if your own mother can’t be there, the next best thing just might be a remote “concierge” mom-for-hire. Yes, there are now concierge services developed specifically to help college students.

Priced at $450 a year, plus delivery fees, concierge moms perform some of the duties a local mom might help with performing. Some of the tasks could be transportation, company at doctor’s visits, grocery shopping, legal help, apartment hunting, and even giving gifts.

Another Mom concierge service based in Boston charges a lot more – up to $10,000 for an academic year and caps the number of students at 30. The service began largely to help foreign students at boarding schools in Boston, but now has expanded to helping college students. Each student has access to as many as five “second moms” who can help with classes, tutoring, and more.

Another type of service is Daisy Bug Delivery in Tampa which accepts deliveries for students, and then hand delivers packages to the right place. Students ship everything from bedding, to minifridges, to laundry carts, furniture, and more. Since June, the service has worked with more than 250 students on shipments and deliveries.

Who will you call?

 Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Has anyone had experiences with concierge services?
  2. Who wished they had this service?
  3. View website for Concierge Services: https://www.bostoncss.com/
  4. View website for Campus Concierge: https://campusconciergeservice.com/
  5. Divide students into teams.
  6. Have each team brainstorm a concierge-type of services.
  7. Define the target market, services, prices, and promotion for the service.

Source: Weiss, T. (19 September 2023). A mother’s love – a bargain at $450 per year, plus applicable fees. Wall Street Journal.

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It’s here. Use Your Palm to Pay at Amazon Stores.

Amazon’s palm-scanning Amazon One payment technology has been in testing since 2020 and now is ready to expand to all of its 500+ Whole Foods stores in the U.S.

The palm-payment system works by having a customer place their palm above a biometric reader. It then matches the palm signature with a payment card already on file. What this means for the consumer is that you won’t need to have a wallet or phone with you to make a purchase. Just wave your palm over the scanner and walk out the door.

This isn’t a new concept, but now it is getting wider distribution. With Amazon One, the company is promoting to consumers that it can handle all their transactions without using any devices – all that’s needed is your hand.

Amazon One technology has been in place at 400 locations in the U.S. and has handled more than 3 million transactions to date. Some sports stadiums, entertainment venues, retailers, and more have used the system. To use it, consumers just have to pre-enroll via the Web at Amazon One’s site or in a Whole Foods store.

And of course the palm-scanning isn’t just about improving the customer experience. Amazon also gains more data about customers in both online and in-store purchases. Amazon One has also been embroiled in privacy debates about its use and concerns about misuse by law enforcement agencies.

How will you pay?

 Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Has anyone used palm-scanning while shopping? What has been their experience.
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team list the positive and negative factors for using palm-screening for consumers. What are the positive and negative factors for businesses?
  3. Show Amazon’s information page about the scanning: https://one.amazon.com/how-it-works
  4. Play a video showing how to register and use palm-scanning: https://youtu.be/HR6ERtcT6bg?si=_RMnZqjIpgYmoZdX
  5. Also check the site for Amazon One locations in your geography. If there are any, consider having students shop at those locations to try the scanners and get their feedback.
  6. Have each team develop three different promotional tactics to ease consumer fears about the technology use.

Source: Mims, C. (11 August 2023). Amazon wants you to pay with your palm. It’s a sneak attack on Apple and Google. Wall Street Journal; Perez, S. (20 July 2023). Amazon’s palm-scanning payment technology is coming to all 500+ Whole Foods. TechCrunch.com

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Pssst… Want a free TV?

Telly: “Who wants a free television?”  

Me: “Me! Oh, wait. Is it a teeny tiny screen? Must be small or a poor screen to make it free. And there must be a charge somewhere…”  

Telly: “No, it’s not teeny tiny. It’s a 55-inch 4K television! And it’s free!”  

Me: “Wow. Then me! I want a free TV!”

Telly: “Great. There’s just one catch though. You also have to install a separate second display underneath that constantly displays ads and other information. That means all the time.”  

Me: “Hmmm….I’ll think about it.”  

While the above isn’t an actual conversation, it could be. And yes, a company named Telly is giving away 500,000 units of a 55-inch 4K televisions with a second screen. The second screen is located beneath the large screen and can show advertising, sports scores, and stock quotes based on a survey of the viewer’s information and interests. Telly is also equipped with a soundbar that includes a microphone and motion-tracking camera, and voice assistant.  

Telly starts with a survey gathering personal information plus information about cellphone provider, home ownership, household income, vehicle ownership, children, pets, and more. This information is used for selecting targeted advertising to viewers.  

Telly also collects information about what you watch, search for, others in the room, plus locations, geo-positioning, and more personal data. The data-gathering is required in order to retain the TV as free. And, even if you are not watching TV it will display ads.  

More than 250,000 people across the U.S. signed up in the first week Telly was offered. The company plans to distribute 500,000 units by the end of the year.  

Do you still want that free TV?      

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show video about Telly: https://youtu.be/RsQ-RCe5YKA
  2. Show Telly website: https://www.freetelly.com/
  3. Also show Telly Terms of Service page: https://www.freetelly.com/terms-of-service
  4. Poll students: Who wants a Telly?
  5. What are the challenges Telly has to solve?
  6. Who is the target market for Telly?
  7. What is its appeal to consumers?
  8. What is its appeal to advertisers and companies?

Source: Fried, I. (17 May 2023). Telly’s free TV is latest take on ad-supported hardware. Axios.com.; Graham, M. (19 July 2023). A billboard for the living room? How Telly want advertisers to pay for your TV set. Wall Street Journal.

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