McDonald's Is Converting Their Restaurant Tables Into "Happy Tables"

McDonald's in investing in building specialised smartphone games that take advantage of a Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled table. The Big Mac is using NFC technology to convert a restaurant table into a playing surface for kids with smartphones. The chips allow the table to communicate with a smartphone and for the table to become part of a game on a smartphone.The clever ploy works by fixing NFC chips underneath a table. If it's all too much to imagine, have a look at the official video below for a demonstration on how this works.

SmartWatches Are The Next Big Thing

As one technology pundit put it - smartwatches know what time it is, and they could be the next big technology gadget. Technology giants such as Samsung, Sony and Google are all stepping into this fledgeling market closely behind early movers such as the Pebble SmartWatch. To get a feel for what the current smartwatch is capable of, take a look at this video by CNETTV on the Samsung Galaxy Gear SmartWatch.

Backstory - Connectedness

In 2013, IDC produced a research report sponsored by Facebook entitled "Always Connected: How Smartphones and Social Keep Us Engaged".

The report highlights interesting social behaviours such as:
  • 79% of the respondents reach for their smartphone within 15mins of waking up in the morning
  • 84% of the respondents use their smartphone for texting, email and social apps vs phone calls 
  • 1 out of 4 respondents couldn’t remember the last time their phone was not within their reach
However, the key finding of the report has to do with why people spend so much time on their smartphones in the first place. According to the report, the main sentiment expressed by the respondents is that a smartphone makes them feel "connected". 

The report emphasises that people in general have a craving to want to feel connected to other people, information and the world around them. Therefore a smartphone and it's apps gives everyone the ability to connect. And that to a large degree a smartphone + social = connectedness. 

First generation smartwatch technology is extending this smartphone functionality to people's wrists in an effort to make social connectedness feel even more convenient. 

But as technology continues to make connectedness more convenient, functionality of smartwatches will improve over time to include rich health and wellness features and other functionality that will make people feel connected not only to the people around them, but also to themselves and their wellbeing.

Applications such as activity trackers, heart rate monitors and sleep trackers can all be bundled into a smartwatch. These apps have the potential to influence how individuals choose which social activities to engage in. This is perhaps an unintended impact on social norms influenced by this type of technology.

So just as smartphones ushered in a new era of social connectedness, smartwatches have the potential to add another level of connectedness i.e. connecting you to your social wellbeing.

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