Posts Tagged ‘mobile

Mobile is more mainstream than ever – are we even saying smartphone anymore? Some of the more exciting technological innovations – now we have explored every size screen for every type of scenario may not start to come from its blending with the everyday objects around us – like footwear.

Adidas social football boot showing data transmitter

These new social football boots from Adidas are about to launch to the general public. They come with their own on board computer that stores data and helps analyse personal performance. As soon as wearers have finished playing, the boots transmit data wirelessly to computer, phone or tablet on speed, distance traveled and top speeds. Professional players will be able to start using the boots from mid-November and from then many of the world’s most celebrated footballers will start sharing their stats with the Adidas community.

GPS-enabled shoe showing data transmitter

GTX Corp in the US have have partnered with footwear company Aetrex to design a shoe specifically targeted at Alzheimer’s sufferers, with a miniature GPS tracking device embedded in the heel. The idea evolved when it became apparent that tracking devices typically used to locate people with Alzheimer’s were being rejected by the wearers, usually because they did not recognize or were suspicious of them. Family members and carers can monitor the wearers of the smart shoe on an interactive map, viewed via their mobile or computer. There is also the option to programme “safe” areas, with a text being sent to a family member or carer if the wearer crosses this boundary.

Taken together one can’t help consider the potential of bringing these two concepts together for the purpose of keeping track of teenage boys. But this, of course, veers rather wildly into the realm of optimally balancing privacy, safety, freedom and compulsive nosiness.

The key to closing the redemption loop is definitely payments. Investor Chris Sacca recently told Kevin Rose in a video interview the best reason why Twitter should buy Square is because Twitter has the broadest reach to distribute offers and deals, and Square has a built-in way to track redemption. This was just an off the cuff remark in a friendly chat (Twitter isn’t even in this business yet), but it makes sense.

We are moving from a world of online ads that produce impressions and clicks to online and mobile offers that produce real sales. If the deal companies can figure out a way to actually measure those sales, it could open up local commerce in a massive way that makes what they’ve done so far look like child’s play.

Erick Schonfield

80% of branded apps analysed by Deloitte had been downloaded less than 1,000 times. This, despite the fact that every month, the three stores in the study generate 1.6bn downloads – 1bn for Apple’s App Store, 500m for Google’s Android Market and 90m for Research In Motion’s BlackBerry App World.

Some branded apps have been successful, so why are the majority flopping so badly? A few reasons suggest themselves: First, the majority of these apps are low in quality, and/or are pure marketing. Second, they have been eclipsed by apps and games (e.g. Angry Birds) that have come from nowhere to become brands in their own right. Third, branded apps simply are not being promoted very well

Stuart Dredge

Does the idea of your electronic likeness appearing in shop windows as you walk past appeal? How about if this virtual self was wearing clothes you don’t own but the retailer thinks you might like?

It was with great anticipation I began reading the other day about new technology allowing people to see virtually what they might look like in clothes, without having to try them on. Not least because I once blogged on how great it would be to fuse real-world shopping with Augmented Reality, to save us time during bricks and mortar shopping trips.

There’s something special about shopping in person – however convenient online retail may be. Touching the clothes, feeling their texture, seeing the exact hue and shade of the fabric before purchase. But then trying stuff on can be such a bind… stripping off, trying to avoid getting make-up on almost unaffordable garments… not to mention the dreaded torment of 360° coverage changing room mirrors.

So I can only imagine that the new ‘personalised mannequin’ concept from Intel Labs was designed by someone who has little concept of why people try on clothes. It works by displaying computer-generated mannequins in shop windows, showing how you personally might look wearing certain garments as you walk past. Apparently: ‘motion tracking technology allows the image to mimic the movement of shoppers rather like a mirror as they twirl and admire what they look like in the clothes.’

The spectacle of such a potentially useful innovation made so gimmicky and impracticable seems to indicate it has been developed by individuals who have spent more time watching Minority Report than understanding most people’s real-world shopping experiences. Trying on clothes is a predominantly private experience because changing rooms enable us not only to see how hot we look – but more importantly sense-check for potential fashion faux pas before we buy.

Changing room experiences can be horrific – unflattering outfits that push you in and let you hang out in ways no-one would never want another living soul to see. One time I literally had to bust my way out back out of a dress. The truth is, although Gok Wan has convinced many around the country to share their body hang-ups in glorious technicolour… most of us go into little cubicles to avoid doing just that.

That’s why my whimsical musings suggested being able to see on our smartphones – whilst browsing in shops – a preview of how we might look like wearing certain garments. Such a system would work by superimposing how each item would look, hang, etc. on our own bodies, as per pre-input dimensions.

Maybe smartphone screens won’t cut it because of their size. But still – there has to be a happy medium that does not involve spontaneous public parades of personal fashion disasters we literally didn’t see coming.

The Ugly Betty series adeptly shows how different ‘types’ of people express themselves through clothing – mimicking and unpacking our obsessions with beauty and fashion and the industry that serves and drives them. But even from within that mindset – I could not see any of its larger than life characters… not Betty Suarez nor Marc St James nor even Amanda Sommers… wanting the whole world in the changing room with them.

So although it’s a tidy notion, see before you buy (and one I’m clearly for), I somehow doubt personalised mannequins in shop windows will appeal to many beyond professional models and size zero tweens. So on this one I’d respectfully suggest Intel goes back to the drawing board with some real women (and men)… to make this innovation into something that works for the rest of us.

Hans Christian Anderson’s Emperor’s New Clothes has warned generations of the perils of pomposity and vanity. But still, however we fight it, we often care about how we look and how others see us. So here’s looking out for the next release, because handing over our vital statistics for retailers to share their self-serving mash-ups of our bodies on big screens… it’s really rather unlikely to catch on.

This future could not arrive soon enough. The smartphone that we have all grown completely dependent upon has become one of the rudest technologies ever invented. It harasses us when we have a new e-mail, text message or social network update. Technologies that are wearable and more aware of their surroundings, and therefore able to tell when it is O.K. to interrupt us, will let us wander the halls of society without our gaze turned downward and two thumbs clacking away on a mini-keyboard

Nick Bilton

A great example of making mobile technology work to solve real world problems – here supermarket giant Tesco enable busy commuters in South Korea to buy shopping (via QR codes) directly from ads that look like supermarket aisles. Long term, people will probably get fed up of seeing packs of meat and tins of beans in high footfall areas… but Home Plus leads the way to a time where the computers in our pockets allow us to interact with the world around us, reducing our reliance on big screens and making the things we want and need to do, that bit easier on the move.

Midwives in a project in Ghana are texting two figures every week: one for the number of births and one for the number of deaths of children under five. For the first time the Ghanian health service is getting almost real-time information rather than waiting for census results every 10 years

Madeleine Bunting

This blog is about utilizing and optimizing the social web for business, pleasure and social change

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

The views in this blog do not reflect that of my employer