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Good Thinking

Fully-automated DropOff and PickUp Station

April 19, 2006 Automated convenience is a growing market, and we’ve recently written about several interesting developments such as a fresh flowers vending machine, a fully-automated convenience store (no staff) and an intriguing temporary physical Virtual Store. Now the envelope is being pushed even further. Last year eAnytime began work on a medication dispensing system with biometric pre-authorisation to complement its virtual nurse biometric dose dispensing kiosks. Now it has announced an ingenious DropOff & PickUp station that opens up a plethora of new retail possibilities and partnerships. The kiosk (pictured) will enable dry cleaners to partner with supermarket and convenience store chains, large employers, office and apartment building management and hotels. The kiosks are being marketed as a cost effective alternative to staffed drop stores and home and office delivery and when installed in a processing store, can even act as a front-end to a racking system. In addition to dry cleaning, the stations can also address laundering, alterations and repairs, leather apparel, household goods and shoe repair and uniform distribution.  Read More

Flowcasting the Retail Supply Chain - groundbreaking book

April 18, 2006 As product lifecycles grow impossibly short and the public remains as fickle as ever, one of the most vexing problems facing supply chain managers worldwide is persistent and pervasive out-of-stocks at the retail store shelf. Help may be at hand though, with the launch next month of a new book entitled “Flowcasting the Retail Supply Chain.” To be released on May 21, 2006 at the Retail Systems Conference in Chicago, the new book reveals how a single forecast conducted at the retail shelf level can drive the entire retail supply chain, eliminating forecasting at all other nodes. The book suggests by using "Flowcasting," instead of forecasting at each level of the supply chain, trading partners will be able to be able to remove US$600 Billion (USD) worth of costs out of the US$10.36 Trillion Global Consumers Goods Industry. Read on to see the praise the book has earned already from those who have seen advanced copies. The first five chapters of the book can also be downloaded free of charge …  Read More

Completely remote PowerPoint presentation tool

April 17, 2006 The Powerpoint presentation remains a crucial corporate communication tool and the latest X-Pointer II Wireless presenters look to us to offer a significant advantage over most other presentation devices. Boasting a 50 metre, the US$180 X-Pointer II operating range allow users complete geographic freedom to walk amongst the audience to read the response, while controlling PowerPoint presentations remotely without the need to physically stand by their computers. The wireless mouse and laser pointer weighs in at just 60g but the ability to have 256 MB of built-in flash memory means you can have your presentation in the remote too – great for plug-and-play functionality after last minute adjustments. The built-in memory means users have the ultimate in mobility as they can save their presentations on the unit without the need for additional disks or drives. X-Pointer is seeking international distribution.  Read More

Internet advertising growth

April 15, 2006 When the US sneezes, the world catches cold, and in no area is the US more a leader than in media technology and trends. Which augers well for the internet economy with the release of the full 2005 year Nielsen Monitor-Plus, the advertising intelligence service of Nielsen Media Research.. Advertising spending for 2005 rose 4.2% over 2004. Advertising spending increased in many reported media, led by Internet (23.3% gain), National Spanish-Language TV (16.9%) and Cable TV 11%). Local (10.1%) and National Consumer Magazine advertising (6.7%) continued to rebound with healthy gains in 2005 and outdoor media put on a healthy 7.3% gain.  Read More

Herbie Flowers tries the new system

April 11, 2006 Sheet music has changed little for three centuries. A new device may be set to change that. The MusicPad Pro Linux-based tablet PC weighs a tad under five pounds and displays music notation on a low-glare LCD screen, overcoming the distractive and disruptive task of page turning. Musicians "turn" the on-screen pages using a foot pedal, leaving both hands free to perform while a "look ahead" feature a half-page preview of upcoming music. With the capacity to store thousands of pages of music, the MusicPad Pro can handle any repertoire. One of the first to embrace the new technology at an elite level of performance will be the UK tour of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds where all musicians will use the MusicPad Pro. That's guitar maestro Herbie Flowersin rehearsal for the show at Music Bank Studios.  Read More

EasyView embeds navigation elements inside video files

April 10, 2006 As the digital revolution reaches out to every person on the planet, and new platforms evolve, it’s only natural the Computer Human Interface will also evolve and undergo radical reconfigurations along the way – and we’re only just into the journey. Gotuit Media specialises in this area, providing software and indexing services which enable the intelligent navigation of time-shifted video content. Yesterday, the company released its latest offering for personalized video-on-demand, Gotuit On Demand with EasyView. Gotuit On Demand with EasyView will be offered in addition to the company's flagship navigation technology, Gotuit On Demand, across all of the company’s on-demand products: Gotuit Music, Gotuit Sports, Gotuit News, and Gotuit Entertainment.  Read More

The inflatable conveyor belt could transform agriculture

April 9, 2006 Robots are on the march again into the last bastion of labour intensive industry - farming and horticulture. Researchers from Warwick HRI (the University of Warwick's horticultural arm), and its manufacturing engineering section, Warwick Manufacturing Group, are working on a suite of robots and automated systems which could transform farming and horticulture over the next decade. One of the best ideas we’ve seen in a long time is this inflatable conveyor belt developed for UK-based agricultural machinery company Aeropick. Due to an ingenious wheeled and inflatable system, up to 100 metres of powered conveyor belt can be deployed within five minutes to aid the agricultural and horticultural harvesting process and offers massive labour cost savings along with significant increases in productivity. As the belt can be set up to variable length of between 25 metres and 100 metres, it is highly adaptable allowing crops to be processed at high speed straight to cool storage, washing, sorting, grading etc Amazingly, there’s also a mushroom picking robot and Robot Grass Cutter too.  Read More

Oslo to cut streetlight energy costs by 30% while increasing safety

April 7, 2006 The City of Oslo (Norway) is developing an intelligent outdoor lighting system to remotely control and monitor streetlights. The first large scale implementation of a control network in a street lighting application in Europe, the system is expected to reduce energy usage by 50 percent, improve roadway safety, and minimize maintenance costs. The project calls for the installation over the next three years of 55,000 intelligent street light ballasts that communicate over existing power lines with Internet Servers acting as segment controllers, which in turn communicate with the City of Oslo control centre over a wireless wide-area network.  Read More

New real-world load monitoring system

March 24, 2006 Just how far can you push weight reducation in a design before it breaks? What happens to a product after it leaves the factory? What stresses are placed on a mountain bike if the owner tackles a long set of concrete steps or a steep downhill slope or some steps on it? What is the magnitude and frequency of forces acting on the blade of a wind turbine? Computer simulation is one thing, but there’s no substitute for actually monitoring the loads a product will experience in usage, and German researchers have developed a new sensor system that does just that.  Read More

The 20 most important tools ever?

March 23, 2006 From dawn to dusk, humans rely on tools to get us through the day. And from the beginning of civilization, we've used them to build and shape our world. In order to celebrate these devices, Forbes.com decided to compile a list of the 20 most important tools of all time. Not everybody will agree with all the tools on the list, and there are few that could legitimately have scored a spot, but it’s an interesting list to contemplate. Perhaps before clicking through to this excellent article, reflect for a moment on what your top ten mike look like. Forbes’ list is comprised of the tools that have most impacted human civilization and helped move the course of history. Recommended reading.  Read More

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