Ten old company and tech company partnerships we all need. Like yesterday.

If traditional companies could work more closely with tech companies then our lives could become even more frictionless. Here’s a few I think should already be a thing.

I did a tweet. After taking just over two weeks to devour nine episodes of the quite marvellous Ozark on Netflix (Breaking Bad meets The Accountant?), I fell asleep during the tenth and final installment. I still have no idea what happened. What if my Apple Watch could detect I was sleeping (through the built in heart rate monitor) and let Netflix know to pause my show?

It got me thinking about how if we could only connect the services we use every day, our lives would be even more comfortable. But this isn’t really a million miles away, platforms like If This Then That (IFTTT) and Zapier do an excellent job of connecting services and automating a tonne of stuff. They rely on the concept of recipes, i.e., if [the time is 9am] then [tell my connected cat feeder to feed my cat].


IFTTT helps you to set up recipes like ‘If 9am then feed my cat’

What is a million miles away but wouldn’t be if they only understood the opportunity, would be to connect an offline company (I know there’s practically no such thing), or for this purpose a ‘laggard’ with an online company, for the purposes of this post, an ‘innovator’ where [laggard]+[innovator]=new proposition. I wanted to put ten forward that I think we would all agree we want, nay, need.

1.Supermarket + MyFitnessPal = Weekly shop based on calorie allowance

What if my supermarket connected to MyFitnessPal so that it could assess my how many calories I’m allowed each week and build a meal plan and shop as a result? It’d remove the weekly shop headache for customers and help them to eat a more balanced diet and create a point of difference rather than price for supermarkets.

2. Hotel + RunKeeper = Business trip running clubs

What if the hotel I was staying at for work connected to RunKeeper so that people who run could head out together in the morning on a pre-designed route? It’d help business travelers to stay healthy during the week, network (eurgh) with other runners and create lock-in for repeat bookings from guests.

3. Car Insurance + Waze = By-the-drive car insurance

What if my car insurance company connected to sat nav app Waze so that it could see where I’m going in my car and charge me insurance on a per trip basis? It’d help customers to save money by only insuring the trips they take and help insurers to prepare for further declines in car ownership and the likes of Cuvva.

4. Train Operator + Google Calendar = Price-monitoring for upcoming trips

What if train operators connected to calendars and monitored meeting locations so that they could send me price alerts on train tickets to help save money? It’d help businesses and individuals to save money on travel and give a homogenized travel product a point of difference.

5. Breakdown Company + ToBoot = Keyless entry for repairs

What if my roadside assistance company connected to ToBoot (disclaimer: we made ToBoot for Jaguar Land Rover) and could fix the car without customers needing to give them access? It’d help customers to carry on their onward journey without having to wait with the car (potentially another partnership with Uber here) and help breakdown companies to deliver a better customer experience.

6. Cinema + Letterboxd = Film screenings based on likes

What if cinema chains let you connect to services like Letterboxd so that customers could get movie recommendations and screening alerts based on my watchlist? It’d help customers to find screenings of movies they might not otherwise have seen and help cinemas to fill more screens.

7. Airline + Amazon Prime = Access your content in the sky

What if airlines let me connect to Amazon Prime when I bought my ticket so that I could have all of my content from home waiting for me on the screen at my seat? It’d help customers to take better journeys and create a point of difference in a commoditized market (if connectivity is an issue — download the shows I want to my seat before take off).

8. Gym + Lifesum = Weekly workout plans based on food consumed

What if gym chains let me connect to services like Lifesum so that they could send me my weekly workout plan based on my food intake and have that waiting for me on the treadmill? It would help customers to tie workouts into nutrition and give gyms the ability to track and publish the progress of their members.

9. Plumber + Nest = Get a remote diagnosis on boiler issues

What if plumbers could connect with their customer’s smart thermostats and get alerts on boiler issues so that they can call me to fix it before I know it’s broken? It’d remove the cold house/no hot water headache for customers and create a backlog of work for the plumber.

10. Charity + Monzo = Automatically donate to causes you care about

What if charities had integrated with a smart bank like Monzo so that I could set up triggers to donate to the causes I care about and offset bad spending (i.e., every time I order a takeout donate a meal to Save the Children). It’d help donors to feel better about indulging and help charities to create giving habits.

Partnerships between laggards and innovators don’t happen anywhere near often enough and, in many cases, it’s a quick win for both. The traditional company gets a big customer experience win, and the tech company gets an audience for its platform.

Do any of these already exist? I’d love to hear some ‘recipes’ that’d make your life easier.

InnovationJacob Dutton