Photokina 2014 highlights

Good Thinking

The temporary physical Virtual Store

February 14, 2006 We’ve been hearing about the virtual store for many years now, with the hype growing to a crescendo during the first coming of the internet, and peaking just before the tech wreck. Since then, e-commerce has been growing steadily towards inevitable dominance at some point in the distant future. A spectacular initiative from American department store retailing institution J. C. Penney yesterday might cause everybody to rethink how e-commerce and the future of retailing might unfold though. The company will construct a 15, 000-square-foot physical manifestation of the virtual store at One Times Square on the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway, New York. In our humble opinion, the opening of this temporary virtual store from March 3-26, in which shoppers can purchase the company's full range of merchandise at interactive kiosks, marks a significant development in the history of retail. We believe that traveling virtual superstores could be a part of retailing’s future.  Read More

Web 2.0 – new tools, amazing functionality, vast opportunities

February 1, 2006 Do yourself a favour and follow this link, click on any of the pushpins on the map, suspend the disbelief for a moment and pretend you’re looking for an apartment to buy – apart from the wonderful organization of complex information, it’s a perfect example of the amazing functionality which could both disrupt and enhance current practices in the real estate industry and a great example of what a lot of people are referring to as “Web 2.0.” The term does not refer to a new version of the internet, but another fundamental development in the way that web sites are working together to provide an experience previously unthinkable. The concept of Web 2.0 is explained well here, and technology behind these wonderful new web applications is called Ajax, which is explained in laymans terms here and given some perspective here. Ajax has become the driving force behind some exciting new free web-based applications such as the Writely word-processor, NumSum spreadsheet and our favourite, Voo2do, a site that "offers advanced task and priority management for busy, ambitious individuals". Ajax threatens the very existence of PC-based software applications, and might even reinvent the entire software and internet industries, not to mention offering myriad new business possibilities. What a wonderful time to be alive!  Read More

3 billion people seek basic financial services – is Microfinance the answer?

January 29, 2006 Access to financial services can help poor and low-income clients increase and stabilize their incomes, build assets, and invest in their own future. A new book, Access for All: Building Inclusive Financial Systems published by CGAP and the World Bank, offers a fresh vision for the future. Drawing on lessons from 10 years of research, the book describes how microfinance can help poor people to become part of the financial mainstream. Access for All addresses the hotly-debated topics in microfinance today – the role of donors and governments; how to reach poorer clients, and those living in more remote rural regions; and the potential for new technology to reduce costs, allowing commercial businesses to serve poor clients. With only about one sixth of those who could use basic financial services currently having access, the book shows how to bridge that gap and reach the majority of the world’s population – the poor.  Read More

Blancpain Quantieme Perpetuel GMT Havana abounding in complications

January 28, 2006 Good news for devotees of exclusivity and innovation: newly added to the Blancpain Le Brassus collection is a perpetual calendar outfitted both with the patented system of correctors under the lugs and a second time zone indication. Cased in platinum with a richly coloured Havana brown dial, this special limited edition, restricted to 150 pieces, is accompanied by an exclusively created cigar cutter modeled after an antique watchmaking tool. This truly is a piece conceived for the most demanding collector.  Read More

Ingenious magazine on a bottle

UPDATED IMAGES January 21, 2006 The media mix is about to have a new and very viable form of print publishing – on-product magazines will hit the market for the first time in early 2006 and we suspect this innovation is capable of changing the world of print media as we know it. The concept of on-product magazines first came to Joanna Wojtalik while she was studying in the final year of a marketing course just two years ago. The idea was simple – create a small (in the first instance this will be an A7 - 74 x 105 mm) magazine which fits onto a fast moving consumer product and distribute via grocery rather than traditional magazine channels. Joanna’s idea is now patented and will launch in January as the first on-product magazine - a bottled water aimed at the female market with iLove magazine attached and will be joined in Q2 by a magazine for children and a magazine aimed at men on Iced Coffee. Distribution will be focused through convenience stores, supermarkets and gas stations, significantly differentiating the products that carry them and offering advertisers a circulation far in excess of magazines sold through traditional magazine distribution channels. By March, iLove magazine will be the largest circulation magazine in Australia and the company has global aspirations, holding patents for on-product magazines attached to all common food packaging formats.  Read More

Hire anything at Just4hire

January 20, 2006 Now here’s a simple yet powerful idea that just might prevent a young entrepreneur from ever finishing her degree. Irene Vasilas worked as a network administrator in the hire/rental industry for four years while she worked her way through university. While working in the industry, she identified the need for an Internet base for hiring and has now launched her one-stop-rental-resource concept with the backing of some of Australia’s biggest hire companies. Put simply, anything you might possibly wish to hire can be sourced through the site, from rotary hoes, limousines, clowns, aeroplanes … Australia-wide. If the success continues at this rate, Irene, who is due to finish her Bachelor of Technology and Information Systems later this year, might need to defer her studies. It's such a good idea, we figure it will work in any country.  Read More

Babble offers privacy in open plan offices

January 16, 2006 Open plan offices have their strengths and weaknesses. Considered from the employee’s point of view, the biggest weakness is a lack of privacy, so we were particularly keen to take a look at Sonare's new, next generation babble device. Babble was developed by Applied Minds to address the challenging issue of workplace confidentiality for phone conversations in any open workspace. Babble is a desktop device that connects inline between your desk phone and it's handset and sends the user’s voice out in multiplied and “babbled” form through proprietary speakers arranged in the work area. It achieves confidentiality without distracting the user of the device, and those in the user’s immediate area hear what sounds like an indiscernible, low-volume group conversation. The benefits of Babble go beyond the critical requirement of safeguarding information, contributing to increased productivity by allowing the user to have confidential telephone conversations at their workstation, where their computer and files are located.  Read More

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

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