How to save billions with smart electricity

Harnessing and storing renewable sources like wind and solar along with a new generation of smart, connected Fridges, freezers and washing machines could help the UK save up to £8bn a year. That’s not some green tech company dream, it’s the analysis of the UK government’s own infrastructure advisers, the BBC reports. Here’s how the ”Internet of Energy" could work: “At a time of peak demand, an energy firm's computer will contact your smart freezer to ask if power can be switched off for a few minutes to allow your neighbour to use some of the energy to cook dinner. Your well-insulated freezer will stay cold without electricity for a while, so it will agree to power down,” the BBC explains.

Independent Pizzerias RIP?

Smart technology might help organise the energy it takes to keep your food fresh but that might not include leftover slices from independent pizzerias. According to a new study described in Linkedin Pulse, technology is putting US independent pizzerias out of business at the rate of roughly 2,549 locations per year (in 2015 alone). The writer, Aaron Allen, a restaurant industry consultant, writes, “the pizza category is being reshaped by both big new tech deployed by chains and fresh threats from sophisticated emerging brands that are taking slices of the pie from tens of thousands of ill-equipped and low-tech independent pizzerias.”

Costco to raise minimum wage

Costco, the second-largest U.S. retailer by sales, is set to raise its minimum wage for store workers by $1.50 to $13, the Wall Street Journal reports. It’s the first wage hike by Costco in nine years and comes in response to a tightening labor market. The decision follows similar moves by Walmart, McDonald’s and Starbucks.

When batteries become bombs

Could those lithium-ion batteries we depend on to power our smartphones, laptops, hoverboards and even electric cars be a ticking time bomb? That’s the question raised by The New York Times as it considers the anectodal increase in incidents where battery-powered domestic devices have exploded. “While we celebrate how these devices have improved our lives, we haven’t realized that many are also capable of exploding because of battery malfunctions,” it writes.

Snapchat state of mind

Finally today, the world of advertising is always on the hunt for the next big tech and media opportunity. Digiday asked a number of agencies to pinpoint the social platform that brands would most like to break into. Their answer - Snapchat where viewers are “reportedly watching eight billion videos a day.” Now they just have to turn all that social activity into revenue.

Have a good weekend. On Monday we'll be back with news of the 6th Annual Social Media Sustainability Index.

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