Agile Innovation Update – February 2016

Each month we bring you the FreshMinds Agile Innovation Update. This month we’re looking at the patent Google has been awarded for self-driving delivery trucks, Volvo’s trial of digital car keys, identity verification by selfie and the launch of Amazon’s own fashion labels.

Google patents self-driving delivery trucks complete with lockers

Delivery by UberRush, drone and now self-driving delivery trucks … at least that’s what Google envisages if its recent patent is anything to go by. According to Quartz, the company has been awarded a patent for self-driving trucks which are fitted with lockers to allow customers to pick up their orders. Geekwire argues that this patent could help position Google competitively against Amazon, as the self-driving delivery trucks could help the brand reach consumers in highly urbanised areas, where drones might not be permitted to fly.

Volvo trials digital car keys

A new move by Volvo could make that frustrating search for your car keys a thing of the past. The Swedish automotive manufacturer is testing an app which would enable owners to lock and unlock their car doors and start the engine direct from their phones, thereby rendering a physical key obsolete. As Volvo explains the “digital key means that sharing a car will become both simple and convenient” suggesting that the technology has been designed as a way of future proofing the company’s vehicles and ensuring that they remain relevant as patterns of car ownership begin to change.

Mastercard to roll out identify verification by selfie

Mastercard customers in the UK will soon be able to verify online payments by selfie,following a successful trial in the US and the Netherlands. To make a payment, users will still have to enter their credit card details but the fundamental difference is that they will then be given the opportunity to verify their identity by selfie, rather than having to enter their banking password. Mastercard is not the only financial services provider exploring alternative means of identity verification: last week HSBC announced plans to bring Touch ID and voice recognition to 15 million customers for this very purpose. With these developments underway, are we about to see the end of banking passwords?

Amazon launches own fashion label

Last year it was the grocery industry, now it looks to be fashion that Amazon is trying to disrupt. The ecommerce giant has long sold clothes and accessories on its platform, but the brand made news this week as it launched not just one but seven of its own in-house fashion labels. The labels are already retailing through the US site but this may only be the first step in Amazon’s plans to expand its footprint in the category, with the company rumoured to have hired M&S’s former womenswear lead into their fashion division.