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Many restaurant businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, as government-mandated closures and operating guidelines have closed dine-in operations at many restaurants. Compounding the challenges, many consumers are doing their part by staying “safer at home” — even when the dinner bell rings.

However, one segment of the restaurant industry that has found a silver lining in the overall bleakness are QSRs (quick service or “fast food” restaurants), which are naturally well-positioned for takeout, drive-thru, or delivery-centric operations.

What are QSRs like McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizza, Starbucks, and Burger King doing to, (1) mitigate the damage/fallout now, and (2), position themselves for a strong recovery once the economy reopens? …


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Following Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2020) last week, it was abundantly clear that while Apple’s manufacturing activity may have slowed due to the ongoing pandemic, Apple hasn’t exactly let up on the software development side of its business.

One highly-anticipated but nonetheless substantial announcement coming out of this year’s conference was that Apple has decided to begin using its own ARM processors instead of Intel processors in Mac products going forward, beginning with new Macs arriving later this year. …


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In one scene of the 2002 film Minority Report, set in the year 2054, Tom Cruise’s character is walking through the lobby of a futuristic building.

As he walks, voices call out to him, “Welcome back, John Anderton.” The ad tech of Minority Report’s future uses biometric scanners to serve him personalized, larger-than-life projections of Guinness beer and a futuristic Lexus SUV carving down a mountain.

“That’ll be the day,” I mused at the time. 18 years ago, this scene was mind-blowing.

Fast forward to today, and this sort of targeted advertising is essentially the norm, with Google, Facebook, and others now using our tracked Internet activity to feed us relevant ads. …


Achievements, XP/leveling up, leaderboards, and other “fun” mechanics from the world of gaming are enabling the very best non-gaming apps to maximize user engagement, revenues, and retention.

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If you’ve ever been around somebody playing Candy Crush, World of Warcraft, Pokemon Go — or really any of best video games from the past decade — you’ve likely seen the extremes to which players can dedicate themselves to a game.

In as little as twenty seconds of downtime, people caught in the addictively entertaining throes of such games find themselves grinding for gold, items, and experience points; completing quests; or working to ascend a competitive leaderboard.

Earning these virtual objects and unlocking these forms of virtual recognition activates receptors in our brains, triggering a powerful sense of enjoyment and accomplishment — and reinforcing that our in-game efforts are well-worth the time (and perhaps even the piles of real cash) we’ve invested in said efforts. …


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Over the past year, the augmented reality market has continued its meteoric rise as a mainstream technology. With applications like Navion, WayRay’s augmented reality navigation system for cars, and Google’s AR-enabled Maps update, augmented reality (AR) is pushing the boundaries of what is possible into new and powerful directions.

Looking at what the trends suggest, augmented reality will not be limited to one or two novelty use cases the way it has been in years past. It will be everywhere and will touch every industry. …


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Bristol, Connecticut isn’t Silicon Valley, as far as tech innovation goes. Not even close.

Just don’t tell that to ESPN, Bristol’s largest corporation in residence.

ESPN’s flagship mobile application, the ESPN app, is a perennial #1 in the sports category and has especially impressed analysts and observers alike recently — showing 25% growth in unique users year-over-year (YOY) and 39% growth in time spent using the app YOY, according to ESPN Pressroom.

ESPN, the sports media conglomerate founded in 1979 and owned by Disney Media, is no traditional tech company.

ESPN has practiced basically the same business model for several decades; (1) produce compelling sports content, and (2) charge cable TV distributors to air that content. …


Why insurance carriers, Silicon Valley, and society at large are gung ho about telehealth apps and health-monitoring wearables.

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As the public ogles foldable displays, augmented reality applications, and other mobile technology trends, tech giants around the world are busily working in an area that is decidedly less glamorous — but nonetheless important.

Healthcare.

Apple CEO Tim Cook had this to say in a 2018 interview with Jim Cramer:

“…if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, “What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind?” It will be about health.”

This is certainly an interesting prediction, improved by the fact that the CEO of Apple is certainly in a position to make it so. …


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A billion-dollar app idea? Not likely.

Before every intellectual property (IP) attorney in the world begins calling to argue otherwise, let me clarify.

There are nearly 8 billion people on this planet. Any idea for an app has likely been thought up hundreds of times — in independent circumstances, around the globe, in different languages, and by people other than you.

But, if ideas are truly “cheap,” what factors actually determine whether an app will succeed?

Billion-Dollar Execution

If you do in fact have a great idea on your hands, you need to understand that you consequently have a responsibility — to yourself and your fellow stakeholders, certainly, but also to society — to bring that idea into the brilliant light of day. …


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When Apple announced this September that its newest Series 4 Apple Watch includes EKG functionality, I imagined millions of hearts worldwide fluttering with delight.

The news was significant for several reasons. The chief reason is it is the first time a mainstream consumer wearable device will perform a sophisticated medical procedure. This same procedure we need to see the doctor for today.

To understand the significance, you need first to set aside the fact that health and fitness are already key reasons why consumers currently use wearables. Fitness trackers have had heart rate sensors for many years now.

(Heart rate sensors are convenient for fitness purposes, to be sure. But, they’re also primitive. Anyone with a finger can feel for a pulse and calculate a heart rate if necessary.) …


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One Friday this July, I got excited about McDonald's. So excited that I stopped at one before work in the morning and left with French fries and a coffee.

Fries for breakfast.

McDonald's had just announced that it would be giving out free medium fries every Friday with a minimum purchase of $1 through the end of the year. Social media and even mainstream media went gaga over the generous offer.

Free food! There’s perhaps no better a siren call for the budget-conscious millennials segment.

McDonald's is known for its marketing prowess with tactics such as Happy Meals, the Monopoly Game, “Monster Mac” and “McRib” sandwiches. …

About

James Hsu

Emerging tech, business & growth strategies, mobile apps. UCLA MBA. VP of Strategy at CitrusBits, a mobile app design & development agency based in LA & SF.

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