ABD Weekly Digest - 11/30/2021
Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends and to everyone else: we hope you’re finding those good Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals.
A bit light on the news front but we do hope you all keep safe given the prospects of a new variant. In any case, grab a hot cocoa and dig into our scoops this week.
Analytics, Digital, Design In Action
This week marks the second Black Friday/Cyber Monday during the pandemic. Ecommerce provider platform Shopify’s BFCM indicator has always been a great barometer - and this year is no different. According to Shopify President Harley Finkelstein, Black Friday (not including Cyber Monday) sales alone are up 21% from 2020 levels, and more than double than that of 2019 levels. We’ll see how Cyber Monday looks, but it’s not all bells-and-whistles.
Some trends show signs of slowing down as Covid fears persist, inflationary pressures grow, and supply chain dislocations haunt retailers’ shelves. Plus, we suspect there’s also a growing fatigue with shopping, considering we’ve been mostly ordering online for almost two years at this point.
Slowing spending spree trends have manifested in China earlier this month. Alibaba said that total gross merchandise volume reached CNY540.3Bn) through the first 11 days of November, culminating in the holiday on Thursday. That's an increase of 8.5% from a year ago — far lower than the top end of a forecast recently given by some analysts, who expected as much as a 15% increase.
Everyone’s a Video Star
Spotify tests a TikTok-like vertical video feed in its app. The feature was first spotted by Chris Messina, who posted a video of the feed in action. When available, the video feed is accessible from a new fourth tab in the navigation bar labelled “Discover.” Individual tracks can then be liked as you scroll through the feed, and there’s also a three dot menu icon to bring up options for each song.
Spotify confirmed the test in a statement provided to TechCrunch, but declined to comment on if or when it might see a wider rollout. “At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve our user experience,” a spokesperson said.
The Discover feed appears to build upon Spotify’s existing Canvas feature, where artists can have videos play alongside their music on the service. Spotify isn’t the only one trying to mimic TikTok’s vertical video feed approach. YouTube, Snap, Meta Platforms, and Netflix have joined in the fray, hoping copying ByteDance’s flagship product could help their own user metrics.
A Supercomputer for the Earth
NVIDIA plans to Build Earth-2 Supercomputer to See Our Future. NVIDIA this week revealed plans to build the world’s most powerful AI supercomputer dedicated to predicting climate change. Named Earth-2, or E-2, the system would create a digital twin of Earth in Omniverse. NVIDIA believes we have the technology to do ultra-high-resolution climate modeling, to jump to lightspeed and predict changes in regional extreme weather decades out.
The system would be the climate change counterpart to Cambridge-1, the world’s most powerful AI supercomputer for healthcare research. NVIDIA unveiled Cambridge-1 earlier this year in the U.K. and it’s being used by a number of leading healthcare companies.
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