Best Global Green Brands 2014

tech in the spotlight

Can Facial-Mapping Take the Beauty Industry to a New Level?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 20, 2014 10:40 AM

The days of excruciating hours spent in a makeup chair to transform into a character like Mrs. Doubtfire or the Joker are waning, thanks to Nobumichi Asai’s Omote.

A mash-up of real-time facetracking and projection mapping, artists can layer malleable makeup on subjects that are moving. Asai has previously used projection mapping to apply CGI to cars and to buildings before taking on the human face.

Asai's iteration still has some kinks to work out, but the face-mapping technology behind the project is actually at work in several other branded products in the beauty industry that are currently on the market.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Samsung Takes CenterStage in Bid for Smart Home Market

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 15, 2014 12:13 PM

Samsung took a giant leap forward in interactive retail with CenterStage, a digital installation showcasing its home appliance line that furthers the brand's advanced placement in the smart home market. 

Inside two Best Buy stores in the Chicago area, its intent is to catapult Samsung’s presence in the category, building on its brand strength in mobile phones and TVs.

"There are loads and loads of conversations about transferring brand experience to mobile, web, tablet," said Sophie Kelly, CEO of the Barbarian Group, who built the showroom. "But there's very little discussion about retail interactive experiences."Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

At Wimbledon, IBM Boosts Engagement with Big Data

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 7, 2014 01:40 PM

The oldest tennis tournament in the world got a digital facelift thanks to longtime partner IBM, which brought its famed supercomputer Watson to this year's Wimbledon event to help analyze both the events on the court and in the stands.

Over 200 IBM staffers were on-location this year to help translate and project the latest information about the tournament, from ball speed and direction to crowd engagement and noise levels. 

“The amount of data being captured, what’s involved with getting a single point on to the scoreboard, and the relationships between all the data touch points, is a major process,” Sam Seddon, Wimbledon client and program executive at IBM, told The Drum. “Everything has to be thought of, even things like where court sound comes from.”

This year, umpires kept score with tablets while match-related content was pushed to digital screens around the event, as well as the tournament's websites and mobile apps—all within seconds of occurence.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

In Line with Apple, Google Debuts TV, Auto and Health Platforms at I/O

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 25, 2014 05:58 PM

Google and its chief rivals, Apple and Amazon, are vying for control of every aspect of consumers' lives, from health and having fun to driving your car and heating your home. 

Some of those advancements were on display today at Google's annual I/O developer's conference, including the debut of Android Wear, Android Auto, Android TV and a new, non-dessert version of Android itself, simply titled "L." 

Sundar Pichai, SVP of Chrome and apps, told the crowd that more than 1 billion people use an Android-powered device each month with 93 million “selfie” photos snapped each day. Google plans to get Android devices into millions of more hands in developing countries with its Android One program, which will see Google engineers design low-cost devices that local companies will manufacture, such as India's Spice and Karbonn companies. 

By 2022, half of US households with a broadband internet connection will own at least one smart home device, up from about 12 percent in 2014, according to research from Parks Associates—a figure that does not include connected TVs, set-top boxes and gaming consoles.  

Speaking of set-top boxes, Google made a third play for the TV screen with the announcement of Android TV, a platform that combines the functionality of Android apps and Google Play with live TV. While it's not quite a set-top box (yet), Google said it's partnering with Sony and Sharp to develop Android TV-supported TV sets and gaming set-top boxes with Razer and Asus.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

London Tackles Its Tech Exploit Problem with New Unilever-Backed Launchpad

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 23, 2014 05:01 PM

Not wanting to be left behind, London hosted its first Technology Week event last week, showcasing some of the most promising startups and technology products from across the pond. 

But many of the products and concepts seen and heard at the event won't make it out of the city's limits thanks to a clogged pipeline of business development. 

"The old adage is that it gets invented in the U.K. and exploited in the US," serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist Hermann Hauser said, according to Bloomberg. "We are getting better but a lot more needs to be done."

To help combat that problem, some of the UK and Europe's biggest brands, including Unilever, John Lewis and EE are collaborating with Tech City UK to give life to The Internet of Things Launchpad Competition, which will award a total of £1 million ($1.7 million) in grants to winners who are aiming to take on projects that are “too risky for companies to take forward without support” and hope to “take companies into new innovative areas,” PopsOp reports.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

With No Hardware, Apple's WWDC Announcements Still Feel Like Pipe Dreams

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on June 2, 2014 07:02 PM

It's been an exciting few weeks for Apple, as the Cupertino, Calif.-based company recently confirmed its $3 billion acquisition of music and hardware brand Beats, and today hosted its highly-anticipated annual Worldwide Developer Conference

And while there was no new hardware or devices revealed—they'll be revealed later this year—Apple's WWDC announcements, including a new desktop operating system, OS X Yosemite, a new programming language, Swift, and a new mobile iOS, could provide clues to what the company has up its sleeve in the coming months. And with 9 million developers registered with Apple—double the amount of last year—Apple has more partners than ever in creating compatible apps and hardware to make its users' lives easier.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

3D Printing Gets Colorful with Custom Makeup

Posted by Brittany Waterson on May 15, 2014 11:03 AM

3D printers have been used to create customized clothing, sneakers, and even prosthetics, but the latest innovation can be applied right to your face.

Harvard Business School graduate Grace Choi is seeking to change the way the world buys makeup via her 3D printer, Mink, which allows users to create and print any color and type of makeup using FDA-approved ink. “The inkjet handles the pigment, and the same raw material substrates can create any type of makeup, from powders to cream to lipstick,” Choi told TIME

Mink allows users to go head to head with the $55 billion makeup industry by having the power to harness an unlimited color palette right in their own home. Choi found that 70 percent of makeup is purchased in outlets like Walmart where mass-volume drives price but also limits color selection. For more unique colors, customers have to pay premium prices at prestige makeup stores like Sephora and MAC.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Wearable Baby Tech Aims to Bring Piece of Mind to New Parents

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 13, 2014 01:42 PM

While adult consumers wait around for the ever-elusive iWatch, kids already seem to have a full offering of wearable devices at their fingertips.

In fact, infants are privvy to the ultimate wearable device: Rest Devices' Mimo Kimono. The onesie keeps track of a baby's respiratory rate, body temperature and activity level, which is all fed to an app for parents. Despite the $200-plus price tag, devices like the Kimono are the new rage in the fast-growing infant wearables space, according to the Wall Street Journal

Another startup, Owlet Baby Care, has a $250 smart sock coming to market in October that tracks a baby's oxygen saturation and heart rate, which is also fed to parents via a smartphone app. According to the Journal, there are more than $300,000 worth of pre-orders for the smart sock.

But wearable baby monitors aren't just for parents. Educational-toy manufacturer LeapFrog recently unveiled its own wearable-tech device for children, the LeapBand. Set to go on sale in August, the band works much like Nike's FuelBand and Adidas' miCoach, and is able to track a child's play activity and encourages them to keep moving with 50 different games and challenges, CNN reports.Continue reading...

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