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 in the spotlight
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 6, 2013 05:51 PM
Apple fanboys (and girls!) are at the edge of their seats in anticipation of the company's planned Sept. 10 event. What will they reveal? How many and how soon? Let's hope one of those is innovation—a key ingredient that arguably the world's favorite tech brand has been lacking for quite some time.
Since the loss of founder Steve Jobs, Apple has struggled to maintain its own high standards for beautiful, user-friendly tech. And in the time that the company has taken a few steps back, others, like main rival Samsung, which is the largest mobile manufacturer in the world, have made leaps and bounds. With no fear to go big, go small or go cheap, Samsung has proven that it can give consumers what they want, and how they want it, with many more options than Apple has ever offered.
But this latest round of devices may be the most important yet. Rumors, leaked photos and the general wants and needs of the public suggest that Apple will unveil both an iPhone update, the iPhone 5S, and a cheaper, pared-down version, possibly called the iPhone 5c (for 'cheap'—or China). This would mark the first time that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company pays some attention to the value-conscious consumer—a growing demographic in a world full of economic crises and $600 mobile phones. Apple may reportedly also unveil an Apple TV, while other updates, including iOS 7 and iTunes Radio have already been teased.Continue reading...
tech in the spotlight
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 5, 2013 12:43 PM
The wrist-race for the smartwatch market is off and running on the heels of Samsung's reveal this week of its Galaxy Gear watch—as well as other viable entrants, including Sony's new SmartWatch 2 and Qualcomm's Toq, which was unveiled the same day as Samsung's watch.
Projected to be a market worth $50 billion by 2017, the smartwatch industry has consisted of mostly rumors and speculation as to who, what, where and when would debut this futuristic bite of wearable tech, a natural progression for the saturated smartphone market. But with expectations high, mobile tech companies like Apple and Samsung face a steep and slippery slope, charged with creating a value-added device but one that appeals to a mass market.
While the smartwatch category has essentially existed for years thanks to Dick Tracy, Apple's first attempt at an iWatch (2010's iPod nano watch) and current iterations like Sony's SmartWatch and the crowdfunded Pebble, the tech industry's big players have only recently made the jump to seriously explore the options that wearable computing provides.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 21, 2013 05:08 PM
Lately, major brands are hell-bent on bringing internet access to the masses, even if it's by balloon. Now, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is heading up a group of major tech brands to provide easier, more reliable access to the internet for all of the world's far off places.
Joined by Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung, the initiative, dubbed Internet.org, aims to simplify phone applications and improve mobile efficiency in order to provide more affordable access on the most basic mobile phones.
“The Internet is such an important thing for driving humanity forward, but it’s not going to build itself,” Zuckerberg told the New York Times. “Ultimately, this has to make business sense on some time frame that people can get behind.”Continue reading...
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...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 8, 2013 06:12 PM
Personalization is the name of the customer-service game these days. Look at the recent success of Coke's Share a Coke campaign in Britain, where the brand replaced its name on bottles with 150 of the most popular names in the UK.
As for the fashion industry, personalization is now coming in the form of 3D printing. Forbes reports that San Francisco-based clothing company Continuum creates 3D printed bikinis that consumers design themselves. After customers build out their design and upload their measurements on the company's website, Continuum prints out the final product in nylon. The custom creation costs $275.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 6, 2013 06:17 PM
Since the dawn of manned flight, among the goals of big dreamers were flying an airplane that also is an automobile, and traveling to Mars.
As far as the first goal is concerned: check. The Terrafugia Transition "roadable" aircraft, which debuted at the New York Auto Show last year, made test flights at an experimental-aircraft convention in Wisconsin last week. And in regards to the second goal: We're still working on it, but an outfit called Mars One has come up with a remarkable new twist.
The startup behind the Transition had a successful first public outing for its invention at the EAA AirVenture fly-in in Oshkosh, Wis., which ended last weekend. One of the world's most important venues for showing off experimental and classic aircraft, EAA has had some fatalities over the years. But the Transition garnered nothing but oohs and aahs for its flawless performance at the show, where a prototype of the $279,000 machine indeed rolled down a road and then took off into the air.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 5, 2013 06:06 PM
Jeff Bezos revolutionized the internet, e-commerce and bookselling (and then all retail) when he founded Amazon.com. Now he may want to do the same with newspapers, becoming the latest non-news-media figure to invest in a fading American print icon by buying The Washington Post.
It's difficult to believe that the e-tailing magnate will be able to do anything better with the Post than it already has in the traditional world of newsprint and ink, since that business model has become even more decrepit than the brick-and-mortar retail stores supplanted by Amazon's huge digital impact.
Another death knell for newspapers and their traditional ownership was sounded just a few days ago when Boston Red Sox owner and billionaire John Henry rescued the Boston Globe and other local print properties from the hands of the New York Times Co. by buying the once-proud publisher for a measly $70 million. There also remain rumors that the conservative industrialist Koch Brothers, along with several other non-media moguls, harbor a desire to buy Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune.Continue reading...