Categories
Editor's pick mobile Startups technology

John Lewis announces beacon technology start-up Localz as £100k JLAB incubator winner

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

Jlab_Localz

Beacon technology got another nod of approval from the retail sector today as start-up Localz was announced as the winner of John Lewis’ JLAB tech incubator.

The ‘micro-location’ technology business wins £100,000 in investment as well as the chance to trial its solution with the department store in the UK. Its premise is to provide customers with access to enhanced services on their smartphones based on their physical location.

It could detect when they walk into a store, for instance, and automatically trigger that their Click & Collect order be prepared in order to help speed up that process. Similarly it could help with navigation around the stores based on online wish lists.

“It’s all about choice, designed to make shopping easier for those who wish to use it,” reads the write-up.

The concept was shaped and honed within the JLAB incubator over a period of 12 weeks this summer. It followed hundreds of start-ups applying to participate in the contest, which called for innovations that could shape the future of the retail experience.

Localz was among five finalists that received mentorship from experts including Luke Johnson, chairman of Risk Capital Partners; Sara Murray OBE, founder of confused.com; and Bindi Karia, vice president of entrepreneur banking at Silicon Valley Bank. The other start-ups were Musaic, SpaceDesigned, Tap2Connect and Viewsy.

Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis, said: “Innovation is at the heart of John Lewis and JLAB, our first tech incubator, has given us a new way to explore the technologies that will change how we all shop in the future. It’s been a hugely rewarding and educational experience, drawing on a diverse group of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives, and we have a very worthy winner who we’re looking forward to working with in the months ahead.”

Stuart Marks, a partner in JLAB, said Localz won because the team felt it had the potential to become a long term partner to John Lewis and to provide continuous innovation for their customers. It will continue to develop its technology in conjunction with John Lewis and will launch live trials in store at a date yet to be announced.

Categories
Editor's pick technology

A whistle-stop tour through the future shopping experience

This article first appeared on Dazed 

dazed_futureshopping_pinarviola
Have you ever had one of those moments where the person walking down the street just a few steps ahead of you, is wearing a coat you’re desperate to own? Once upon a time you may have built up the courage to chase after her and ask where it’s from. Not far from now you’ll be able to pull out your smartphone, snap a shot of it and image recognition technology from Cortexica or in apps like Asap54 and Snap Fashion will accurately do its work to tell you not only what brand it is, but where nearby has it in stock too.

On this occasion, imagine you’re headed to an upmarket department store with availability in your size. As you walk through the door iBeacon transmitters using Bluetooth low energy technology activate and send a welcome notification to your phone. The message lets you know there’s also a 15% off offer on all products today.

You click to open the corresponding app for the store itself, and it syncs with the earlier image recognition system to show you exactly where to find the item you want. You’re wearing your new designer (Ray-Ban) smart glasses (Google), which personalise your view on the store – an augmented reality overlay from Blippar is placed on your surroundings directing you with turn-by-turn navigation as you walk.

Additional information pops up as you head that way, alerting you to items you specifically might like. It knows your purchase history and can flag up pieces that will style well with what you already own. Privacy isn’t a concern – you’ve opted-in for this. You know this department store well and like a classic loyalty programme, there’s a sense of value attached to letting them know who you are.

1080000

Further special prices and offers are highlighted and adapted especially for you based on your social influence too. If you opt to share with friends you will receive yet a further discount.

As you lift dresses and tops off the rails, the hangers activate screens alongside you featuring images and videos of models wearing the items. The system is gesture-controlled thanks to Microsoft Kinect, so you can wave to scroll beyond each shot to see further details about each garment; where it comes from, what the manufacturing process was, even what the washing instructions are.

You can also pull up a virtual assistant to help you. Created by a company called Fluid, this is a cognitive computing based system developed using IBM Watson. It understands natural human language allowing you to ask it a question as you would a friend. As it’s also based on voice recognition, you simply tell it about your upcoming holiday and request suggestions for what you might need.

It returns a list of specific products based on the climate of your destination as well as what it knows is trending in that market. Rather than relying on keywords to surface specific product, the artificially intelligent app (yes, think robot) acts more like a personal shopper would, offering options based on context.

You take all the items you’ve selected into the fitting room. Each garment has a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag, meaning the room recognises each piece individually. As you try them on, content is activated on the mirror, including recommendations for what you could wear with it, like a necklace and pair of shoes to go with the dress, or a bag to match your skirt. A 3D printer outside from 3D Systems allows you to instantly print any matching accessories you wish to buy.

The virtual experience, this time powered by Accenture and Microsoft, also shows you what the piece you’re wearing would look like on you in different colours. It lets you connect with a sales assistant automatically who brings you in new pieces, then offers you that all-important human connection in terms of advice and expertise on what suits you best.

The mirror you’re looking into also has a memory. Created by MemoMi with Intel, it has saved 360-degree views of what you’ve tried on so far to a right hand column on the display, so when you’re still not quite sure on what to buy you can go back and look at each of them, or share a couple of them with friends to help.

One of the dresses you want for an upcoming event doesn’t quite fit as nicely as you’d like it to, so you activate the connected fitting room to do a full 3D body scan of your figure. That data can then be sent off with the item to be tailored exactly to fit. The sales assistant lets you know you also have the option to have it made up in other fabrics – she passes you her tablet, which uses haptic technology (tiny vibrations that recreate what something feels like) to allow you to run your finger over the screen and feel the different textures.

You make your choices and use the e-tattoo on your wrist with personal authentication details to make payment; it syncs once again with your store loyalty scheme so you get the best deal possible that day.

As you head out you decide to stop at a virtual storefront powered by eBay, this time to select food for dinner. It senses the Apple health tracker you’re wearing and through a number of apps you’ve downloaded can identify the nutrients you’re missing from the day. It suggests a recipe, and at a quick touch of a button syncs with the sensors in your fridge at home and detects the ingredients you’re missing. They’ll be delivered by drone by the time you get home.

Visual Credits:

Artwork by Pinar & Viola

Model wears Janneke Verhoeven

3D pet designed by Alewism

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups

Digital snippets: Prada, John Lewis, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Sephora, L’Oréal

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech:

pradasphere

  • Prada delves into visual past with Pradasphere microsite [Luxury Daily]
  • John Lewis picks iBeacons, smart-home Sonos rival, and 3D planning start-ups as final partners for JLab incubator scheme [The Drum]
  • You can now buy Comptoir des Cotonniers directly from ads on bus shelters in France [Fashionista]
  • The ROI: Sephora, Thismoment share results of Pinteresting beauty board launch [BrandChannel]
  • L’Oréal targets ads based on hair colour in online photos [AdAge]
  • ‘Vogue’ makes its Instagram shoppable with Liketoknow.it [Fashionista]
  • adidas promises to exclude consumers unless they opt ‘#allin’ to World Cup campaign [Marketing]
  • Visual search set to make world of imagery instantly shoppable [BoF]
  • Condé Nast drafts an internal ‘Magna Carta’ for native advertising [AdAge]
  • Lingerie brand turns to Snapchat for a voyeuristic, vanishing lookbook [PSFK]
  • Fruit of the Loom turns GIFs into Father’s Day gifts [AdWeek]
  • The power women who are reinventing the way you shop fashion online [Forbes]
  • Mary Meeker’s 2014 internet trends report: all the slides plus highlights [Quartz]
Categories
digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media technology

Digital snippets: Nike, Burberry, Selfridges, DKNY, John Lewis, Burt’s Bees

It was perhaps Nike that was the buzziest of brands over the past couple of weeks, if you take into consideration both the successful launch of its unofficial World Cup campaign, Winner Stays (as above), and the rumoured shift in strategy for its FuelBand wearable device. That latter news reported the brand is laying off 70-80% of the fitness tracker’s hardware team in a bid to focus on software and the NikeFuel metric instead. A further interview with Nike President Mark Parker added fuel to the fire on a big partnership with Apple.

Burberry meanwhile was another brand with various stories to follow. It opened its new Shanghai store to much theatrical, multimedia fanfare; pushed yet another social tie-in via WeChat; launched an online store on Alibaba’s Tmall; and was announced as one of the first brands to advertise using Instagram video. And if that wasn’t enough, Angela Ahrendts just made that move officially over to Apple. “Did you notice?” asked the FT.

Safe to say, some other companies were up to things too. Here are the best of the fashion and tech stories not to be missed…

  • Selfridges launches biggest ever beauty campaign with Google+ partnership [Campaign]
  • DKNY shoppers go product hunting with Awear Solutions chips [FierceRetailIT]
  • John Lewis looks back on British history in TV spot to mark 150 years [Campaign]
  • Burt’s Bees creates promotional messages via appointments in digital calendars [NY Times]
  • What can fashion-tech companies learn from Instagram’s success? Co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom shares his start-up secrets [BoF]
  • Instagram is brands’ best bet for consumer engagement… but not for long [Fashionista]
  • ‘Brand tagging’ mobile apps: China’s next selfie sensation [Jing Daily]
  • Fashion retailers eye up image-recognition apps for smartphones [The Guardian]
  • Microsoft to push into fashion space “like never before” as it boosts commitment to UK start-up community and unveils ASOS as partner [The Drum]
  • Why online retailers like Bonobos, Boden, Athleta mail so many catalogs [WSJ]
  • Crowdemand is like Kickstarter for fashion designers [Mashable]
  • Like a dating site for fashion, PopInShop plays matchmaker for brands and boutiques [Fashionista]
  • The golden era of ‘fashion blogging’ is over [The Cut]
Categories
digital snippets e-commerce film social media Startups

Digital snippets: Fabergé, Dior, Gucci, Marc by Marc Jacobs, H&M, J.Crew and Kate Spade

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech:

 

  • Fabergé’s NYC Easter egg hunt marks the largest Beacon deployment ever in the US [Fashionista]
  • Dior explores global flower sourcing with interactive map [Luxury Daily]
  • James Franco directs video for Gucci (as above) [WWD]
  • Marc by Marc Jacobs line crowdsources models with #castmemarc campaign on social [Vogue.co.uk]
  • YouTube fashion viral: Miranda Kerr is selfie obsessed in H&M’s spring 2014 campaign [Fashionotes]
  • J.Crew and Kate Spade to foster the next big fashion tech start-ups through new accelerator program [Co.Design]
  • IMG Fashion’s partnership with Tencent aims to boost Fashion Week China exposure  [JingDaily] bit.ly/1ltgJFZ
  • Fashion in the age of Instagram [NY Times]
  • How iBeacon and similar technology will change retail [eMarketer]
  • Five examples of how marketers are using iBeacons [Econsultancy]
  • ‘Showrooming’ hits luxury fashion – lack of e-commerce presence means clients buying elsewhere online [WSJ]
  • Luxury brands are stupid to snub the internet [BusinessWeek]
  • Decoded Fashion founder: ‘Designers need to launch like start-ups’ [The Guardian]
  • New app, Think Dirty, tracks the nasty chemicals in the beauty products you put on your face [Co.Exist]
  • The camera-wielding boyfriends behind fashion’s most famous bloggers [Fashionista]
  • How LiketoKnow.it is changing Instagram by monetising your photos [Pinetop Group]
  • Op-ed: The companies with the best software will lead fashion [BoF]