Posts tagged with "Zoom"

Teeth have become the new nose job: The rise of oral tweakments

April 28, 2021

Although once upon a time, going to the dentists was routine at best, now your local dental practice is on the way to becoming something of a destination, The Guardian reports.

 At the same time, previously lackluster dental products—such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mouthwas—are more likely to be deemed worthy of a bathroom shelfie posted to Instagram. Indeed, teeth and the right products and treatments for them, are now part of the self-care beauty boom.

There’s even been a rebranding of the sector. The dental aisle in your local chemist could soon be renamed “oralcare”. A recent article in Business of Fashion used this term and estimated that U.S. consumers spent $9 billion on oralcare in 2020.

Cassandra Grey, the founder of beauty website Violet Grey, went as far as to say: “Teeth have become the new boob job.” Sales of oralcare on the site increased by 33% in 2020.

Among the buzzy brands are Spotlight, Kendall Jenner’s Moon, Better & Better—and Swiss vVardis, which charges $55 for toothpaste.

Colgate also has seen a gap in the market. It launched CO.Colgate in the United States—a division that offers a range of products designed to appeal to a younger, fashionable consumer, without any familiar red and white logo. Instead, branding is close to that of cult beauty brand Glossier. Included in the range is a teeth whitening pen called It’s Lit.

While some might balk at the idea of $55 for toothpaste—and even £9.95 (US$14) for Moon toothpaste is triple the price of most on the market—it means young people can enter this aspirational new beauty world.

Along with shelfie-worthy packaging, they might be swayed by the growing niche of dentists turned dental influencers with large followings on Instagram, and videos on TikTok with people testing out blue-light products to whiten teeth. There are more than 680k videos on the app tagged #teethwhiteningchallenge.

The increasing interest in oralcare can be traced back to the rise of Zoom in the pandemic. “Zoom has been amazing for our industry,” Dr Uchenna Okoye tells The Guardian.  “People are staring at themselves and they see angles, like the side view of their face, what other people see of them.”

Cosmetic dentistry, which can cost thousands of dollars,  is part of a wider aspiration towards a polished appearance. Okoye sees it alongside the rise of “tweakments” like Botox.

According to Okoye, the most unlikely dental treatments—braces—are becoming status symbols. She points to the tracks of Invisalign, the premium braces brand with transparent, gumshield-like aligners: “Everyone showed off their Chanel [handbag], they’re now showing their Invisalign.”

Research contact: @guardian

Monkey see, monkey do: Chimps from two Czech zoos are Zooming each other daily

March 24, 2021

If there were anyone in our society who didn’t know how to use Zoom, they do now. The demand for the video call platform has, well, zoomed during the course of the pandemic, and its popularity is even crossing the species boundary, Good News Network reports.

Chimpanzees at two Czech zoos are, like the rest of us, staying in contact via Zoom, as the zoo staff seek to give them some company and stimulation during the long hours of isolation.

Chimp gang Dingo, Babeta, Bonnie, Suzi, Chispi and Mat at Safari Park Dvur Kralove have had their lives Zoom-displayed on giant screens in front of the simians at a Brno Zoo enclosure 90 miles away, and vice versa.

There are no confusions over whether the default speaker is selected, or if the mute button is on, as the sound is off entirely, but that hasn’t stopped the two groups from enjoying the company of their cousins.

Reuters reports that it didn’t always seem like a family reunion. “At the beginning they approached the screen with defensive or threatening gestures,” said Gabriela Linhartova, one of the ape keepers at Dvur Kralove Zoo east of Prague.

“It has since moved into the mode of ‘I am in the movies’ or ‘I am watching TV’. When they see some tense situations, it gets them up off the couch, like us when we watch a live sport event,” Linhartova says.

While observing the others’ day-to-day lives, the chimps have taken to other human behaviors, such as shoveling things like peanuts into their mouths while they watch—reminding this author of the “junk food movie nights” of his childhood.

According to Good News Network, for those who want to get in on the fun, there is a live stream on the zoo’s website where the calls—streamed daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (CET)—will continue until the end of this month at least.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Zoom, Peacock, and TikTok lead the fastest-growing brands of 2020

December11, 2020

While the pandemic has been anything but good for most U.S. businesses (think: restaurants, bars, air carriers, movie theaters, and gyms), some brand names actually saw rapid growth during the shutdown; as Americans relied on digital and vehicular delivery of food, prescriptions, cleaning products and masks, pet products, entertainment, and even business and casual meetings.

Now, Morning Consult has published its annual “Fastest Growing Brands” list, which it describes as “the definitive measure of brand growth for both emerging and established brands, showcasing a wide range of companies and products that have accelerated their consumer appeal and awareness in 2020.”

On this year’s list, the top spot was claimed by digital meetings provider  Zoom, Fast Company reports. No need to guess why, right? Surprisingly NBCUniversal’s fledgling video streaming service took the number-two spot. Less of a surprise was the brand that claimed the number-three honors: TikTok, a leading destination for short-form mobile video.

Morning Consult says that all the brands on this year’s list were shaped by changing consumer behavior resulting from the pandemic: “Nearly every brand that occupies a spot on the Fastest Growing Brands list is meaningfully connected to pandemic-related behavior, from at-home entertainment to cleaning products to pharmaceutical companies.”

The top 10 on Morning Consult’s fastest-growing brands of 2020 are:

  1. Zoom
  2. Peacock
  3. TikTok
  4. Instacart
  5. DoorDash
  6. HBO Max
  7. WhatsApp
  8. Microsoft Teams
  9. T Mobile
  10. Pfizer

You can check out the full list of brands here.

Research contact: @FastCompanyTop b

Twitter will allow employees to work from home ‘forever’

May 14, 2020

For those of its workers who are flourishing while conducting meetings on Zoom with a child on their laps and a cat next to the keyboard, social media giant Twitter announced on May 12 that it plans to let anyone who wishes to work from home to do so for the foreseeable future—even after its offices reopen in a post-pandemic world, ABC News reports.

“Twitter was one of the first companies to go to a WFH [work from home] model in the face of COVID-19, but we don’t anticipate being one of the first to return to offices,” the company said in a statement.

The past few months of having staff almost entirely remote “have proven we can make it work,” the statement continued. “So if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen. If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return.”

Twitter said its offices will not likely open before September, and when reopening does occur, it will be a gradual and cautious process, ABC notes. No in-person company events for the rest of 2020 are scheduled.

“We’re proud of the early action we took to protect the health of our employees and our communities,” Twitter said. “That will remain our top priority as we work through the unknowns of the coming months.”

Research contact: @ABC

Gray area: Getting a message to grandma during the COVID-19 lockdown

April 20, 2020

Families who are separated during the novel coronavirus pandemic are being forced to find  new ways to communicate—especially with the elderly members of the clan,  who may not even know have heard of Facetime, Skype, or Zoom.

CNN tells the story of 94-four-year old Jane Feld, who used to spend her time playing tennis, attending concerts with friends, and having family members over for dinner at her house in Syracuse, New York. Now she is alone, sheltering in place.

For Feld, who is hard of hearing, video chatting with her grandchildren or other family members poses a challenge. She has a caption-call phone, but the live captions don’t always work well. Therefore, to keep in touch during this time, she mostly uses email.

“I’m not too comfortable with tech stuff,” Feld told CNN Business in an email interview. “Email has definitely helped me keep track of offspring and grands. Hours on the phone wear me out, but it’s easy to roll with email. Just let me know you’re OK and we’ll get together as soon as possible. With a virtual hug and kiss.”

She is not alone. Only 26% of Internet users 65 years and older feel “very confident” when using computers, smartphones or other electronics to do what they need to do online, according to a 2015 study from Pew Research. More than that, it’s no perfect substitute for the real-life interactions they’ve long been accustomed to.

“Of course, it’s not the same as in person,” Meredith Doubleday, Feld’s granddaughter, told the cable news outlet. “It definitely doesn’t replace that, but it sure helps. I’m very grateful that we can still email. She keeps reminding me that in high school she was an excellent typist.”

Abby Godard has regular virtual dance parties over Apple’s FaceTime video calling feature with her 83-year-old grandmother Yvonne Simon Perotti, who lives about 15 minutes away from her in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. Godard and her extended family also get together weekly on Zoom, including with her grandmother and 78-year-old grandfather Charlie Perotti.

The Perottis consider themselves quite tech adept for their ages and have figured out how to use services like Zoom on their own. “In our neighborhood, we have a book club. So, we have a virtual book club meeting with Zoom, which is kind of cool,” said Charlie Perotti.

Other families are turning to gadgets such as smart picture frames to communicate. Ann Fraser bought a ViewClix picture frame in 2018 for her 92-year-old mother Lorraine Tangney so they could keep in touch when Fraser and her husband moved to Florida. The smart picture frame, which is designed for seniors and doesn’t require them to learn new technology, lets multiple family members share photos, conduct live video calls, and post virtual sticky notes with messages to their loved one.

In normal times, her family members upload pictures of themselves and their travels to the frame. But during the pandemic, her relatives are relying on the video chatting function to keep in contact with Tangney, who is in an assisted living facility in Massachusetts. Her family set up the picture frame in front of her favorite chair. When a ViewClix video call comes in, it’s set to automatically connect so Tangney doesn’t have to get up to answer it.

“I called her the other day on it, and the nurse was in her room, so she was able to be like ‘Oh look someone’s calling you on it.’ We had a whole conversation on it, she was so excited,” Leah Briscoe, her granddaughter, told CNN. “We tried to do the tablet thing with her, and it wasn’t successful. She can’t really talk on the phone anymore, so we needed to get a little bit more creative with how we were going to keep in touch with her.” Fraser called the frame a “priceless” way of communicating with her. The 10.1-inch frame costs $199,; the 15.6-inch version sells for $299.

ViewClix said it’s seen a 201% jump in video calls from February to March. Over a five-day period in mid-March, the company said it sold out of several months of stock of both its frame options. Skylight ($159), another digital frame aimed at seniors, said it has seen a similar increase in usage: the number of video messages sent to frames has tripled compared to last month, and early April sales are three times higher than a month ago.

But for other seniors, new devices are just too difficult to figure out. Alexandra DeLessio and her family bought her 88-year-old grandmother Rosemary Adams a Facebook Portal smart speaker, which start at $129, and walked her through how to operate it, even practicing it with her. But Adams has never used it on her own because she can’t remember how.

Adams now lives in an assisted living facility, and no visitors are allowed to come inside due to the pandemic. So her family has come up with a safe, in-person way to interact: Adams comes out onto her balcony, and DeLessio, her parents and sister shout to her from outside.

Her grandmother shouts back.

Research contact: @CNN