tech innovation

Pressed to Improve Results, P&G Turns to Its 'New-Age Plastic'

Posted by Dale Buss on October 21, 2013 03:39 PM

Procter & Gamble long has relied on innovation to shake things up with new products and features that gain sales and market share and even create new brands, like Pampers disposable diapers, Swiffer, and Crest White Strips. During his first tenure as CEO, many of those innovations came from A.G. Lafley.

Now, in his second turn at the top, Lafley reportedly is pushing acceleration of a "new-age plastic" developed internally by P&G with a "high-velocity injection molding" system that could save the CPG giant alone $1 billion in cost savings—and result in the establishment of a colossal B2B business selling the revolutionary material to non-competitive customers.

"P&G's patent applications say its manufacturing system can make packages with material as much as 75 percent thinner than existing ones," Advertising Age said about the new material. "The technology also makes it easier to use recycled resins or plant-based alternatives to petrochemicals and will help P&G make packages more recyclable because it allows caps and closures to be made from the same material as the rest of the package."Continue reading...

tech innovation

Marriott, Valpak Take Advantage of Augmented Reality Marketing Opportunities

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 17, 2013 06:27 PM

Among marketers, augmented reality is becoming almost pedestrian. Two diverse brands, Marriott and Valpak, have both incorporated it into recent campaigns.

Marriott is pairing a futuristic redesign of its hotel lobbies, replete with tech-enabled work spaces, with an AR ad in Wired magazine, part of its Travel Brilliantly campaign that is “re-imagining the future of travel."

Consumers can scan the ad with the Blippar app to view a video that show's the hotel’s innovations. “More than just a picture, this campaign truly captures the look and feel of the Marriott brand,” Lisa Hu, VP/GM Blippar told Mobile Marketer. “For a hospitality brand, video is the perfect way to showcase the sights and sounds of vibrant cultures that are paired with a welcoming place to stay. Marriott chose to utilize their unique video content in order to bring the augmented reality experience to life.”

Mobile video is performing well as an engagement factor according to a recent Unruly report that saw click-through-rates for mobile video ads triple in the last year.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Ford, University of Michigan Open R&D Lab for Electric Car Batteries

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 14, 2013 12:37 PM

Ford is just the latest in a long line of global companies that are taking advantage of enterprising startups and universities to help drive innovation. Ford has teamed up with the University of Michigan to create a battery lab that will focus on research and development of a cheaper, more efficient battery that will make electric cars more affordable—a major hurdle facing the car industry as it tries to turn the technology mainstream. 

The $8 million lab is one that will uniquely cater to the auto industry, as most battery labs often don't relay their findings to the industry until late in the production process, essentially stifling innovation, according to the Detroit Free Press.  

“There is nothing like it in the industry,” said Anand Sankaran, chief engineer for energy storage and hybrid systems for Ford, which contributed $2.1 million, adding to $5 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and about $900,000 from the Univ. of Michigan College of Engineering.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Samsung Crosses the Finish First Again with Curved Galaxy Round

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 9, 2013 05:14 PM

Ever since George Jetson strapped on a watch that allowed him to talk to and see others, tech-savvy fans have been awaiting a real-life iteration. As it looks now, Samsung may be the first to cross that line following its release of its Galaxy Gear smartwatch and now the Galaxy Round, the first smartphone with a curved screen. 

While the rounded device looks what would result after being "put into a back pocket and sat on," as ZDNet notes, the innovation puts Samsung, which is the largest mobile phone maker in the world, "a step closer to achieving wearable devices with flexible—even unbreakable—screens."

The brand, like every other player in the market, is looking for any innovation that will differentiate itself in the saturated mobile market. The manufacturer faces the most pressure from Apple, which was just named the world's most valuable brand by Interbrand, and who essentially stole its 'smartwatch' thunder with the launch of its latest versions of iPhones, the 5s and 5c. But as neat looking as the new curved device may be, the "innovation" may actually be more of a gimmick.Continue reading...

tech innovation

New York's Major Media Players Seek Startups Through SwitchPitch Event

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 2, 2013 04:45 PM

Goliaths aren’t generally looking for help from Davids, but the New York Daily News, HBO, Time Inc., TiVo, Meredith, and nine other major media companies turned things upside down Tuesday when they asked more than 200 startups for help. 

The SwitchPitch event, which specializes in pairing startups with in-need companies, allows such companies to pitch funded innovation projects to startups looking for partners. After a bidding process, the selected startups will begin working with their supporting companies.

In this case, the Daily News will provide its startup of choice with a six-month stay in the paper's offices and a large testing ground for their concepts on NYDailyNews.com and the rest of the paper’s digital properties, which reach 17 million people monthly.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Google Searches for Immortality Through New Health Startup, Calico

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 19, 2013 12:36 PM

It’s fitting that the world’s leading search company is looking for answers to aging and immortality.

Google is throwing its support behind Calico, a startup it is creating to focus on problems in the health care system that pertain to extending human life. Arthur Levinson, former CEO and current chairman of biotech pioneer Genentech and chairman of Apple’s board, is the newly-appointed CEO.

"Illness and aging affect all our families," Google CEO Larry Page said in blog post. "With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives."

If the idea sounds far off, that's because that's exactly what Calico plans on investing in. “In some industries, it takes ten or 20 years to go from an idea to something being real. Healthcare is certainly one of those areas,” Page said. "Maybe we should shoot for the things that are really, really important so ten or 20 years from now we have those things done.”Continue reading...

tech innovation

Grocery Chains Get Much-Needed Update Thanks to Tech Innovations in the Aisle

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 9, 2013 06:45 PM

Checking out with the scan of a finger? Having farm fresh produce delivered to your doorstep? These are no longer futuristic ideas but real tech being applied to life's most mundane task: grocery shopping. 

The latest in-aisle innovations include digital price signs, real-time promotions based on the time of day, smart shopping carts and bar code scanners on mobile devices, many of which are already being utilized by some of the world's biggest retailers like Walmart, Target and Tesco. 

"You have an industry that's been kind of stuck in time," Scott Mushkin, an analyst at Wolfe Research, told the Los Angeles Times. "Grocers have to invest. Their business models have been under so much pressure, they're fighting for their lives."

And investing they are. The $518 billion grocery industry has essentially been the last retail sector to take advantage of technological innovations that have come along with the surge of mobile usage. With smarter and more informed customers, grocers are constantly being pushed to be a step ahead, offering more intuitive service and better values.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Musk Continues Innovation Streak with Detailed Plan for Hyperloop

Posted by Dale Buss on August 13, 2013 07:33 PM

Elon Musk has obliquely compared himself to Henry Ford. But if he keeps going, a better comparison could be Thomas Edison. The inventor and serial entrepreneur already has his hands in state-of-the-art electric cars, space travel—and now perhaps a travel innovation for those of us looking to keep our feet planted on Earth. 

His latest fascination is what he calls a "Hyperloop" transportation system that could, he says, whisk passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in a mere half-hour or less. Musk conjectures that it would cost less than $6 billion in total and could transport 7.4 million people each way each year. But it would take up to a decade to complete. Musk laid out all of the details in a 57-page technical paper and invited feedback.

Why is Musk even bothering? The PayPal co-founder has plenty going on with two actually functioning enterprises that he founded, SpaceX and Tesla. In fact, he was just awarded $4.3 million in stock-based pay for his ongoing work on Tesla's next nameplate, the Model X all-electric SUV. He completed vehicle and engineering prototypes and even the first production unit of the new model.Continue reading...

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