tech innovation

Apple, Watch Your Back: Is Google Going More Boldly Into the Future?

Posted by Ilan Beesen on September 15, 2014 03:14 PM

After months of anticipation, and a few days of perspective, the big Apple keynote last week proved less thrill, and more drill. Not to sound like an ingrate—I’m a longtime Apple admirer and loyal customer—but as far as surprises go, Apple is about as full of them, lately, as a bale of hay.

For its latest worldwide product reveal, Apple’s "one more thing" was the highly anticipated, and long overdue, Apple Watch. The sales pitch by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake was unexpected, although U2's appearance wasn't. And the missing 'i' in Apple’s Pay and Watch caught everyone off guard, but that’s about it. While stirring interest by Apple fans, iPhone devotees (who snapped up the pre-order phones) and the global tech press, the big event by Tim Cook & Co. was a feature-rich, impeccably-designed bale of hay.

Compared to its history full of silicon-fueled subversion, today’s Apple plays it conservative. While typically the winner at whatever it does, Apple is not even close to being first out to the field with wearable tech, for example. It’s the obsessive batter who takes 10,000 practice swings before stepping to the plate and hitting a homerun. Impressive, but where’s the eccentricity, the wonder, the audacity? Whatever happened to going toe to toe with spectacular failure? Expected awesomeness is still expected.

In the euphoric afterglow of Apple’s keynote, it’s sobering to compare Apple's just-announced innovations with some of the recent work of another tech titan.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Coca-Cola Enterprises Invites Innovation with New Developer Portal

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 15, 2014 11:20 AM

Coca-Cola Enterprises, one of the world's largest Coke bottlers, is launching a new site for developers in order to simplify access to its APIs. The company hopes that a more open and easily accessible ecosystem will allow for the development of more innovative apps by third-party developers.

For instance, the brand is piloting an app that was developed by a third-party in the Asia Pacific region that allows consumers to charge their devices via a charging strip attached to the brand's vending machines and public coolers in shopping malls and airports.  

Coca-Cola first launched its developer portal last year as an "easy-to-use API [as] a group of services to allow our customers, suppliers, consumers, and partners to enhance their interactions with CCE by building great applications."Continue reading...

Ford Scion Has a Better Idea: Turning to Startups for Tech Development

Posted by Dale Buss on September 9, 2014 06:33 PM

Ford Chairman William C. Ford II has been a trailblazer throughout the years of his stewardship of Ford Motor Co. Among other things, he hacked out an early "green" trail for Detroit Three auto makers with hybrid vehicles and brought in a "non-car" guy in Alan Mulally to take over as Ford CEO in 2006, after Ford saw that his own capabilities as CEO might be limited.

Now Ford has begun to stake out a pioneering position for his family's company in another area: working with technology startups that might be able to help the auto maker get some headway in digital arenas that increasingly are differentiators in an industry whose products are becoming as much computers as they are mechanical machines.

"Traditionally our industry has not worked well with smaller companies," Ford said at a forum this week during the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Detroit, according to Automotive News. Ford Motor needs "a shift in our company in terms of how we interact with this new world."Continue reading...

tech innovation

Game of Drones: Google Tests Drones in Australia as Amazon Heads to India

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 29, 2014 05:28 PM

Amazon made a big stir last year when it released a video of a drone delivering a package, detailing its reported PrimeAir delivery system. While some called for drone delivery to be rushed along, plenty, including the Federal Aviation Administration, had their concerns.

Of course those concerns haven't stopped drone development. Domino’s Pizza even tried pizza delivery-by-drone, and now a major competitor has entered the space. Google announced Project Wing, the latest moonshot from its GoogleX labs that is responsible for Google Glass as well as Google's self-driving car. 

“Self-flying vehicles could open up entirely new approaches to moving things around—including options that are faster, cheaper, less wasteful, and more environmentally sensitive than the way we do things today,” a Google spokesperson said in an email to Wired.Continue reading...

tech innovation

General Electric’s #NextList Takes on Technology in 2064

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 19, 2014 06:09 PM

In 1964, famed scientist and author Isaac Asimov wrote an article for the New York Times predicting what technology would look like in 2014 following a visit to General Electric’s pavilion at the World’s Fair. And now, GE is celebrating Asimov's predictions like 3-D printing, connected cars and cordless electronics that have since come to fruition in a new digital campaign, #NextList

"The Next List represents the company’s major research and development focus areas across healthcare, energy, software and manufacturing and the breakthroughs coming out of our global research centers around the world," said Sydney Lestrud, GE’s manager of global digital marketing.Continue reading...

brand innovation

SpaceX, Virgin Galactic Bring Modern-Day Space Race to the Mainstream

Posted by Dale Buss on August 7, 2014 03:57 PM

It's not quite US vs. USSR, but the modern-era space race between SpaceX and Virgin Galactic is getting more interesting as each brand gets closer to blasting off with humans aboard.

SpaceX is crowing about its construction of a new commercial launchpad in South Texas alongside the Gulf of Mexico with help from more than $20 million in local and state incentives, while Virgin is drawing comparisons from Land Rover about the rigor of its vehicle testing.

Virgin Galactic has said it plans to go airborne with tourist flights to space later this year from a base in New Mexico at a pricetag of $250,000 a head. It has accepted more than $80 milloin in deposits from about 700 individuals, which the brand pointed out is about 20 percent more than the total number of humans who've ever gone to space.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Target Snaps Up Mobile Shopping Innovation with Image Recognition App

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 23, 2014 01:49 PM

Whoever tries to hack into Target’s data next is going to have a lot more to dig through. The retailer's new app, In a Snap, aims at improving its foothold in the mobile shopping space by allowing users to take pictures of Target products in print (magazines, catalogs and newspapers) and then simply click to buy.

The free app, which uses advanced image recognition technology, allows consumers to have their product shipped or held for them at a local store—all part of Target's big push to ramp up e-commerce and click-and-collect efforts as it continues to feel the pressure from Amazon, Walmart, and fast-fashion retailers. In a Snap joins Target's other app, Cartwheel, which serves as a coupon-serving shopping companion. 

“It’s a single-purpose app that will appeal to Millennials and college students or anyone not averse to downloading an app,” Target spokesman Eddie Baeb told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The app's launch is timed to Target advertising running in Real Simple and Domino magazines, part of the brand's back to school campaign for college-aged consumers with a new registry and web video series, Best Year Ever, that features YouTube stars helping students with dorm room makeovers.Continue reading...

chew on this

According to Domino's, There Is More Than One Way to Become a Pizza Mogul

Posted by Dale Buss on July 7, 2014 05:42 PM

The modern pizza industry was invented by two Michigan entrepreneurs who founded Domino’s and Little Caesar’s. The pair became the world’s biggest pizza moguls and now are reaching the end of their business legacies in two widely disparate ways, as Bloomberg Businessweek points out in its "Twilight of the Pizza Barons" cover story.

Tom Monaghan famously founded Domino’s a half-century ago in Ann Arbor, Mich., with a borrowed $500 to execute the chain’s now-iconic home deliveries. Around the same time, Mike Ilich opened a corner store selling pizzas in Detroit and called it Little Caesar’s.

The rest is fast-food history, as Domino’s has become a huge international presence through its franchised stores as well as No. 2 in US pizza-restaurant sales, with an 11.1 percent share compared with leader Pizza Hut’s 16.7 percent. Little Caesar’s still outranks rising Papa John’s for the No. 3 spot, with 8.8 percent of sales to 7.3 percent. Regional chains and independents sell the remaining 56 percent of American pizza pies.Continue reading...

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