Introducing the Gizmag Store

Good Thinking

The fully-automated convenience store

January 14, 2006 ADDED IMAGES INSIDE The world’s first convenience store opened in 1927 serving customers 16 hours a day (from 7am to 11pm), eventually evolving into the 7-Eleven Corporation and a retailing revolution had begun, though it did not really begin to gather momentum until the automobile became popular and available post WW2. The world’s first 24 hour 7-Eleven opened in 1963 and since then society has become accustomed to demanding and getting instant everything, with the logical imperatives such as 24 hour chemists first, followed by supermarkets and shopping malls. Now robotics and computers can offer an automated shopping experience that lacks little and costs less, we can expect to see many new 24 hour services evolving with the ever-entrepreneurial SingPost recently launching the World’s first 24-Hour Automated Post Office and the recent growth in Europe of 24 hour automated convenience stores. All Seasons Services recently unveiled its first Shop24 automated convenience store unit in the United States, expanding its operations from a successful European base of 160 stores across seven countries. Shop24 offers 24-hour access to as many as 200 items, including anything from milk to a six-pack of soda, batteries, iPod download cards, and health and beauty aids, in a freestanding, self-service, outdoor unit. It’s a new concept and one which can be expected to change convenience retailing on college and business campuses initially, with an inevitable impact on main street as time goes by.  Read More

Google’s billion dollar brand in peril?

January 6, 2006 What do the words heroin, aspirin, windsurfer, trampoline, nylon, escalator, biro, gramophone, thermos, kerosene, laser, linoleum and frisbee all have in common? They all began life as proprietary brand names but lost their registered trademark protection because they became so successful that they drifted into common usage and became generic. Dr Max Sutherland discusses the problems of generitization and the implications for Google – a brand that inside a decade has become so hyper-successful that it is now used as a verb in every language.  Read More

The Future of Work?

December 12, 2005
The Future of Work?

As companies become accustomed to seamless global telecommunications , we will eventually see companies with thousands of employees and no central office. Indeed we may even see a companies with no employees at all - just electronically-connected freelancers who live and work wherever they want across the globe. Imagine that this freedom allows people to get more of what they want out of life - money, engaging work, or time with their families. It’s not for everyone, but it is certainly the future for the likes of many Gizmag readers and our writers – the early adopters of the world. The Greater Richmond Technology Council, in partnership with Sprint, is exploring this topic in depth at TechSummit 2005, to be held on December 15 at the Richmond Marriott. TechSummit 2005 will look at the strategies, tools and applications being used successfully - nationally and locally - to change the definition of "work" and "office". One of the highlights of the event will be a keynote address by Thomas H. Davenport entitled "Thinking For A Living," designed to ask and answer the question "How can you tell whether your employees are working when their job is to think?" Mr. Davenport, a nationally recognized management expert, speaker and author, is listed by Consulting magazine as one of the nation's top 25 consultants. His most recent book, "Thinking For A Living: How to Get Better Performance and Results from Knowledge Workers" was named one of Fortune's top three books of 2003. He holds the President's Chair in Information Technology and Management at Babson College in Massachussetts, and is an Accenture Fellow.  Read More

NetFlix Type ''Borrow and Return'' Retail concept

December 10, 2005 Business models morph, mimic and evolve at a rapid rate these days, which is just one of the reasons we love the borrow-and-return fashion retailing concept borrowed from NetFlix DVD rental system. Fashionable handbags cost a lot of money and given that most women would prefer to never to be seen with the same bag twice, the rental concept makes sense. Internet-based Frombagstoriches is finding enormous success with the model of 'borrowing or renting' designer handbags. This designer emporium will let anyone borrow a purse by the week, month or longer and then exchange it for another, making it a NetFlix for handbag addicts. It's the ultimate indulgence...an endless stream of pristine Designer handbags delivered right to your door. Now, America has enough shoe-addicted women to drive a shoe rental service, and maybe jewellery rental too and at a stretch we might one day see watch rental for men?  Read More

Hitwise announces Search Intelligence V 3.0 Keyword Research Tool

December 8, 2005 According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) internet advertising is growing at an increasing rate (33% this year compared to last), with search marketing maintaining its 40% share of the gargantuan marketplace. So if you’re going to spend money, make sure you’re doing it intelligently. Online competitive intelligence service Hitwise has announced the release of Search Intelligence Version 3.0, an update to its suite of search marketing tools. Version 3.0 brings online marketers industry-first keyword research to help them instantly identify new search terms that have proven to be successful in attracting customers to competitors' websites.  Read More

Building a better exhaust jack

December 5, 2005 Innovative off road accessory company Bushranger won a major accolade for its X Jack exhaust-operated car jack at the recent SEMA Show in Las Vegas winning the Best New Exterior Accessory Product award. Exhuast-operated jacks have been around since the off-road market first boomed in the 1970s, but got a bad reputation in the early years for being puncture-prone on the underside of the vehicle and lacking in stability on surfaces such as sand, mud and loose gravel. The X Jack features a triple layer lifting surface for better durability, a hard core insert and a base with spiked feet for greater stability but the clincher which makes it an infinitely better mousetrap is the dual inflation system. Exhaust systems can be damaged which makes them difficult or impossible to use for the inflation, and sometimes they may be buried rendering them equally useless. By utilising either the vehicle’s exhaust or a portable 12 Volt compressor, the X Jack solves several of the problems associated with exhaust jacks.  Read More

Wanted: problems requiring technological solutions

November 30, 2005 A new Channel 4 (UK) television reality show will soon be taking on some of life’s most persistent irritations by employing some ingenious engineering and science to help members of the public. “Men in White” involves three maverick PHD students who will tackle these challenges by building gadgets and inventions to solve the public's dilemmas, aiming to make science, technology and engineering more accessible to the general viewing public but most of all to make it cool! The age-old issue of unwanted parking tickets and car clamping is one of the problems that the Men in White have already started on, and some others under consideration include a silent hairdryer, a prosthetic limb that can power a phone or ipod charger and a personal airbag for a novice snowboarder. There’s even the suggestion of building a handy gadget to tell you when your girlfriend has PMT!So here’s your big chance – the show is seeking ideas for gadgets. Read on for details on how to get involved.  Read More

Levitating office chair for heavy hitters

November 19, 2005 There’s a time and a place to feel confident and on top of the game, and sometimes the things around us can help us feel grounded, comfortable and empowered. When you’re next in your office and doing serious business, imagine yourself seated on this comic-book inspired throne – the chair weighs lots, but thanks to a having a hovercraft style levitation system, the 200 pound chair can be moved around to suit your moods. The objective behind Marijn van der Poll's “Chairman” was to “give today’s CEO the ultimate corporate seating object with special powers.” http://www.marijnvanderpoll.com/ And that’s when you’re sitting still. When you turn on the seat, you can take full advantage of the weightlessness to ride around the room – it’s your own personal amusement park ride too. Watch the video here.  Read More

The PowerSquid: a better powerboard

November 19, 2005 Controlling the under-the-desk clutter is a problem now that so many objects require a power supply. and that's where the PowerSquid design is such a fundamental breakthrough. How many times have you cursed at one of the power-boards that live under your desk? Power-boards or power-strips were at first a GodSend when they were invented, but as a species, they have never really evolved much and until now have remained quite basic in their design. The Flexity PowerSquid Surge Protector, the latest product from the inventors of the PowerSquid, offers the logical next step in the evolution of the power strip and anyone who has ever covered up two outlets on their power-board with a power transformer will understand the advantages. The cephalopod design incorporates flexible arms for the female outlets which can easily accommodate transformer plugs without wasting any outlets, provide greater reach and flexibility, and they’re easier to plug and unplug than traditional power boards. Now it has a new sibling with a built-in surge protector – we think this is a better mousetrap, conceived by stepping outside the box-like approach of all of its predecessors. It has reinvented the moribund power delivery category for modern, mobile lifestyles. Now, what should a third generation power delivery device offer?  Read More

Landmark housing design for near-water dwellers

October 30, 2005 The 'Landmark Houses' programme was envisioned specifically for the site at Lower Mill Estate, in the Cotswold Water Park in the UK and has invited a wide variety of architects – both an older generation at the peak of their inventiveness, but still in wonder at the world out there, and a younger generation in the process of re-invention as they gather a second breath - and asked each one to speculate on the architectural poetics and ecological considerations for the design of a 'landmark house' within the context of a waterpark. Follow the links not just to eight stunningly original designs, but the floorplans as well. Inspirational for near-water dwellers.  Read More

Looking for something? Search our 26,562 articles