Satellite Radio goes Mobile

Satellite Radio has been stuck in the car. It is about to bust out. XM is poised to announce a wearable satellite radio unit: "XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc next week is expected to unveil a 'wearable' device, marking the satellite radio industry leader's latest effort to woo audiences to the nascent format, analysts said. "


Make Restaurant and Waiting Room TVs Go Dark

Ah, now here's a device I didn't know I wanted but sure as heck want one now: TV-B-Gone is "a new universal remote that turns off almost any television." Yee, ha!


Smart Shopping Cart

Yep, I've been chomping at the bit for a WiFi enabled, email receiving, personalization enabled shopping cart. Haven't you? The Shopping Buddy Cart is here:
Each new "Shopping Buddy" cart mounts a wireless, touch-screen IBM computer, equipped with a laser scanner to allow shoppers to scan items as they place them in the cart. Among other features, the computer will alert shoppers as they approach favorite items or promotions. Stop & Shop says the intelligent carts will be in 23 of its stores by April.

Supported by IBM's Store Integration Framework software, the Cart Companion software from Cuesol, an IBM Business Partner, enables a grocery shopper to have a personalized shopping assistant on his or her cart, and gives the shopper such features as:

-- The shopper's buying history and favorites, as well as the shopping list that could have been created at home and emailed to the store;
-- Notification of favorite items or other promotional items that are on sale, as the shopper approaches those items in the aisle;
-- Personalized offers, including coupons, in the aisle as the shopper approaches an item;
-- The ability to place a deli order from the cart, then picking up the order when the deli counter notifies the shopper on the cart's computer that it is ready;
-- The ability to locate particular items in the store
-- The shopper's loyalty program points and reward level;
-- Price checks through use of the personal shopping assistant's scanner;
-- The ability to keep a running total of items in the cart by scanning each item. The Shopping Buddy also shows total savings and allows for rapid self-checkout at the end of the shopping trip.
-- The ability to show promotional material and advertisements on the cart.
-- Stop & Shop also uses IBM Self Checkout systems to enable the self-checkout feature of the new Shopping Buddy once shoppers have completed their cart-based self-scan.

Does the Internet mean the Death of 80/20?

The 80/20 rule has been with us for a long time. 80/20 is built on the assumption of limits for richness and reach. The internet busts those limits. Implications? Opportunities that couldn't be pursued profitably before. See VentureBlog or this Wired story for synopses .


Localizing Big Boxes

Big box stores are learning that cookie-cutter store design and assortment has its limits. Here's a nice article about how Home Depot is tweaking their concept in the New York market.

Google Search for your personal files

It's here: google has released Google Desktop. Technology Review observes:
The latest gambit from the folks at Google: proving that their software can find documents on your Windows computer faster than Windows itself can. The new Google Desktop, a free downloadable program, applies Google’s indexing technology to your hard drive, drastically speeding up keyword searches of files such as Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents, Outlook e-mail messages, AOL Instant Messenger conversations, and Web pages you’ve viewed.

Do you trust Google enough to install this app? That's a burning issue. I have installed Google Desktop to see what it can offer. Details after I've used it enought to have an opinion.

Experience Retailing Follies

Experience Retailing is all the Rage: Nike Town, in Portland, OR. Sony's store in Boston. Columbia clothing's store in Portland, OR. The LL Bean flagship store in Freeport, ME. Now we have the "Samsung Experience" in NYC. (Check out this nice piece article in ExtremeTech).

I'm an enthusiastic supporter of layering an experience element into a value offering. Managing the brand experience at the retail level enables marketers greater control over the brand; for consumers to encounter the product in a way that resonates with the brand image cultivated through other promotional tools.

Yet, having spent time in the Sony and Nike stores, brands that should have the resources to deploy breathtaking experience retailing installations are stumbling. Also revealed is a possible danger in the experience retailing concept. Specifically: what if the "experience" created by the retail environment doesn't connect with key segments? With advertising, for example, audience segmentation makes it possible to deliver variations on the message. With a retail store, that isn't as easily achieved. Nike Town left me cold; the store's voluminous concrete-urban appearance and baffling floor plan found me shrugging my shoulders. "What's the point?" I wondered. The NikeTown experience didn't mesh with my image of the brand (I bought my first pair of Nikes in 1977). Even worse, I didn't feel like lingering and shopping, just wanted to exit the store. The Sony Store -- in its gleaming chrome and blue -- echoed its advertising, but seemed stale. The Columbia Experience, with the rustic cabin-feel paneling, furniture, and displays resonated nicely with the image Columbia has been carefully cultivating over the years with their very consistent advertising campaign.

Two misses and a hit. About par, I suppose.

Branding to Communicate Values?

Oh, this is just too rich. The Howies Clothing Company (Courtesy of Influx), is wading into the "post brand" waters.
Howies clothing company is the brainchild of an ex-advertising creative and his wife. A business where the main motive is the communication of values, rather than making money. Howies make clothing for the extreme sports crowd and have adopted an approach similar to Patagonia: they use organic cotton wherever possible, they give 1% back to environmental and social causes and they have a highly readable catalog.

Um, yeah.

A Kid-Friendly Operating System Anyone?

Oh, this is sooo cute. Can Magic Desktop really be for Kids only?

Fun Experiments with Electricity

Oh, what can be more fun than simple Experiments with electricity. Your tongue may never be the same!


Java Ruling is Kodak's Sugar Daddy

A jury decided Friday that Sun's Java software is infringing on a Kodak software patent. It appears that Microsoft might be exposed to similar infringement action. Here's a snippet:
Democrat & Chronicle:: "Eastman Kodak Co. will return to U.S. District Court next week to seek $1 billion in damages from Sun Microsystems Inc. now that a federal jury has ruled in its favor in a dispute over the Java computer language."

I suppose the settlement cash will help Kodak as it transitions from traditional to digital imaging.


Digital Natives and the Workplace

c|net has a nice piece on how "digital natives," that age cohort more commonly labeled "Gen-Y" are impacting the workplace. Why "digital natives":
Why do I call these young computer enthusiasts and organizational activists 'digital natives'? Think about the extraordinary cumulative digital experiences of each of these future leaders: an average of close to 10,000 hours playing video games; more than 200,000 e-mails and instant messages sent and received; nearly 10,000 hours of talking, playing games, and using data on cell phones; more than 20,000 hours spent watching television; almost 500,000 commercials seen--all before they finished college. At most, they've logged only 5,000 hours of book reading.

Interesting stuff. It makes me wonder if we are changing enough in higher-ed to flow with the disruptive change implications of the students filling our classrooms.