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product technology

bPay partners with seven watch brands to introduce contactless payments

bPay contactless payment technology
bPay contactless payment technology

bPay, the wearable technology solution from Barclays bank, has announced partnerships with seven watch brands – GUESS Watches, Mondaine, Timex, Kronaby, Suunto, ADEXE and LBS – to embed payment technology into traditional timepieces and fitness trackers.

The new watches will be showcased at this year’s watch and jewellery trade show, Baselworld, this week in Switzerland.

Launches include six new contactless watches by Guess; eight new styles for both men and women from Timex; LBS will be launching the ‘TapStrap’, a contactless payment strap that can be fitted to any watch with the most common strap sizes; and Suunto, which specializes in sports watches, will create a bPay-enhanced fitness style launching this spring.

“Consumer appetite for wearable payments is reaching critical mass, and we’re proud to be meeting this growing demand with the help of our industry-leading partners,” says Adam Herson, business development director of Barclays Mobile Payments. “Thanks to the range of products these agreements will bring to market, customers will be able to buy a watch or fitness tracker that not only suits their taste, but also unlocks benefits of speed and ease in everyday purchases.”

Recent data from Barclaycard’s Contactless Spending Index shows that spending via bPay surged by 129% year-on-year in 2017. The company claims ‘touch and go’ contactless payments save seven seconds per transaction when compared to chip and PIN.

Since 2015, bPay has been patterning with then UK-based fashion brands on bringing payment technology to accessories, such as launching a line of accessories with Topshop. For more on payment technology, listen to our episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast with Alipay’s Souheil Badran.

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digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Diesel’s ads on Pornhub, Chanel’s Instagram battle, why the fashion world hates wearables

Your round-up of the latest stories related to fashion and technology…

diesel

  • Why you’ll soon be seeing Diesel ads on Grindr, Tinder and Pornhub [i-D]
  • Chanel may have just won a battle for the Chanel Instagram account [The Fashion Law]
  • Why the fashion world hates wearables [Co.Design]
  • High tech innovation wears well at Ralph Lauren [Forbes]
  • Burberry debuts on Apple TV with menswear fashion show [Mashable]
  • Misha Nonoo will skip fashion week to follow a consumer calendar [Fashionista]
  • Everlane’s starting a private Instagram account for new products [Digiday]
  • How Belstaff maintains a strong defense against counterfeiters [Stores]
  • How Urban Decay gets its 4.1 million Instagram followers to shop [Digiday]
  • Victoria’s Secret furthers organic storytelling mastery via Angel-endorsed Snapchat takeover [Mobile Marketer]
  • Crocs bows to critics, deletes David Bowie tribute tweet [Brand Republic]
  • Meet the female CEOs running fashion’s biggest brands [Fashionista]
  • What fashion needs to know about cyber security [BoF]
  • Shoppers are choosing experiences over stuff, and that’s bad news for retailers [The Washington Post]
  • Do ‘digital flagships’ deliver? [BoF]
  • The myth of the physical versus digital retail battle [WWD]
  • Why the social media ‘buy button’ is still there, even though most never use it [The Washington Post]
  • Inside the hidden world that handles your holiday returns [Wired]
  • Retail writes an obit on flash sale sites [Marketplace]
  • The blogosphere pays off more than ever [WWD]
  • What’s Grindr’s new agenda? [Dazed]
  • Instagram and the watch world [NY Times]
  • Why women aren’t buying smart watches [Racked]
  • Apple acquires Emotient, start-up that reads emotions from facial expressions [Fortune]
  • Why visual search will become a marketing obsession in the coming years [AdWeek]
  • These vibrating yoga pants will correct your downward dog [Fast Company]
  • 30 under 30 retail and e-commerce 2016: meet the millennials changing how we shop [Forbes]
Categories
Editor's pick technology

This designer 3D printed a Rolex watch and the results could impact how we personalise wearables

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What you see in the pictures here is a Rolex Submariner watch made at 300% scale using a 3D printer. Everything but the Perspex face and the battery-powered clock mechanism of it were achieved with 3D filament, a tube of super glue and a lot of patience.

Designed, produced and assembled by Franc Falco, design specialist at creative consultancy Wolff Olins, the ‘watch’ was an exercise in his own 3D modelling capabilities, as well as that of his Ultimaker 2 desktop 3D printer. In true open source fashion, the plans were made available for anyone to download from Thingverse.com (a library of 3D printed designs run by MakerBot), including schematics for all the necessary parts and a detailed PDF from Falco on how to assemble them.

The Rolex branding was actually removed on the site to avoid any legal issues, but that’s not to say the resulting product is yet a real threat to the luxury watch brand. Accordingly to Falco, while a few critics have tried to sensationalise the idea that desktop 3D printing will mean anyone can print out their own functional version, that isn’t going to happen for 5 – 10 years. “Quality, tolerances and materials aren’t yet available to produce anywhere near a useable watch, but it will happen when technology catches up,” he explains.

Read more of his thoughts on where all this is headed, including how it could impact the personalisation of wearable technology like the Apple Watch via the full story on Forbes.com.

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Comment Editor's pick technology

CES 2015: Wearable technology was the biggest let down

This piece first appeared on The Telegraph

Every year Rachel Arthur, a technology and fashion writer, makes a pilgrimage to Las Vegas in the hope that the technology industry will have finally produced some stunning wearables to show off at CES. Why is she perennially disappointed?

withings_activitepop

Let me share my favourite fact about CES, the famous Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas every year: the amount of space dedicated to showing off technology is the equivalent of 38 football fields.

The vastness is overwhelming . Every January fear hits me anew, as I make my annual pilgrimage to this fizzing temple of innovation, alongside thousands of other eager beavers.

Wearable technology was firmly on CES 2015’s agenda, secured by the announcement of the Apple Watch, not to mention numerous other releases and collaborations from the industry during 2014. Duly – ‘wearables’ as they are known in the trade, were given pride of place at this year’s show.

However, despite the hype, these gizmos disappointingly failed to deliver for another year. Designs are still clunky and basic functionality of most attempts remain unchanged. In short, what we’ve got is a series of “me too” devices – items that match in both what they look like and do. Yes there are a handful of designs certainly more geared towards women than in 2014, which is perhaps the most positive takeaway from all this, but even those aren’t overly worth shouting about.

So why hasn’t the wearables sector made good on its early promise?

Tom Goodwin, SVP of strategy and innovation at Havas Media, says the issue comes down to the industry pushing out what it’s easily possible to produce, rather than looking to creative types to explore human needs and desires. “We’re seeing a lot of devices that look similar and perform similar functions,” he explained. “Wearables should be designed with consumer behaviour in mind, catering to an unmet human need and utilising a unique technology – but I haven’t seen many examples of this at CES this year. It feels companies are hurriedly jumping into the space quickly to steal a march on Apple.”

Indeed, nestled in the back corner of the trade show a Chinese business was spied selling a fake but functional version of the Apple Watch for just $27, according to tech site Mashable.

Fakes aside, the smart watch continued to dominate. As a category, there’s huge belief in this category. But does anyone want one?

Buoyed heavily by Apple’s pending release, they’re expected to see growth of 358 per cent to a total of 10.8m sales in the US from 2014 to 2015, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

smartwatch

However, the overall feeling amongst the experts is that there’s little differentiation out there in terms of innovation between brands – whether it’s from Samsung, Motorola or Sony, or indeed some of the lesser-known names on show like Burg Wearables, Wellograph and MyKronoz. All of them offer clunky watches that frankly aren’t great to look at or grace the wrist.

Design should be an easy win these days – especially with sensors becoming smaller and more affordable, and battery life lasting longer. Yet, the floor at CES was still full of big ugly styles; styles at the worst end of the scale you couldn’t imagine many men wearing, let alone women.

Arguably there’s an expectation that a watch should look like a watch, therefore it’s inevitable many releases will be aesthetically similar. From a traditional watch perspective, subtle finishes are always the differentiators – but many of these “smart” variations still look like boxes housing technology, rather than specimens of high quality design.

This deficit leaves an enormous gap for the likes of Tag Heuer, rumoured to be considering working on its first wearable for release at the end of this year at the earliest, to swoop in. In a noteworthy move, interim chief executives Jean-Claude Biver, recently said: “We will only make smart watches if we are the best, different and unique.”

In the meantime, there were a handful of exceptions at CES this year beginning to prove there’s some hope for this section of the wearables market.

Guess for instance, has teamed up with Martian Watches to launch a smart watch for men and women, both of which look great. They alert wearers to calls and texts and enable voice command for replies.

Withings also released its new Activité Pop – a cheaper version of its original analogue-looking activity tracker with much of the same charm and a variety of different colourways to choose from (aka not just pink for women).

Also for women, comes the new collaboration between Swarovski and Misfit. Housing the Misfit Shine activity-tracking device within a faceted crystal, this one is accompanied by a nine-piece jewellery collection to alternate how it’s worn, including pendants, bracelets and watchstraps.

Fitness tracking and communications are the main two offerings of all smart wrist garb – regardless of design. So count your steps and measure your heart rate on the one hand, or receive text messages and make calls on the other.

To be fair, we are still very early on in the world of wearable technology. As Goodwin says, this means we are still waiting for a killer use case. For him wearables will need to step beyond these basic functions and integrate with the Internet of Things, a broader trend that dominated CES again this year, (based on everyday objects being digitally connected around us).

“When wearables allow us to pay for things, control the lighting in our homes, get into our cars, locate where our kids are, that’s when things get more interesting,” he notes.

In short, the industry needs to stop relying on a mentality of “me too” and start genuinely innovating. CES should be the place that big corporations, alongside start-ups, are chomping at the bit to showcase something that genuinely screams “new” and appeals to normal people – instead of simply playing catch-up with competitors.

Otherwise what’s the point of traipsing around 38 football fields if all the innovation is still nowhere near the pitch?

Categories
mobile Uncategorized

British GQ launches watch-dedicated iPad app

Condé Nast Britain has launched its first standalone iPad app with the annual GQ Watch supplement this month.

The “essential guide to the world of watches” comes in an interactive digital format complete with special animated cover, enhanced editorial content and media rich ads. It was designed in-house at GQ and is also the first high definition app for the company.

Meanwhile, the main November issue of GQ is a dedicated James Bond special. It marks the 50th anniversary of the franchise and this month’s release of Skyfall.