Amazon’s One-Day Shipping Plan Boosts Logistics Startups

Last month, Amazon made a pledge to spend $800 million in efforts to make next-day delivery the new standard. In turn, this put increased pressure on brick-and-mortar rivals like Walmart, Best Buy, Macy’s and many others who are rushing to keep up. And it could mean big deals for the logistics companies that work with those physical retailers. As just one example, the Seattle warehouse space and online order fulfillment startup Flexe just announced a $43 million investment from New York firm Tiger Global Management.

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Apple Includes New Business Chat Feature in Next iOS Update

Apple is preparing for a major iPhone operating system update, iOS 11.3, and it will include some important new features. Chief among those is Business Chat, which lets users communicate directly with businesses via the iMessage app. At launch, Business Chat will allow communications with a select group of companies including Wells Fargo, Lowe’s, Hilton and Discover. Also new with iOS 11.3 is version 1.5 of the company’s virtual reality developers’ kit ARKit, four Animoji, and new features that display battery health. Continue reading Apple Includes New Business Chat Feature in Next iOS Update

Nvidia’s Jetson TX2 Powers Devices with Artificial Intelligence

Nvidia unveiled its Jetson TX2 platform, designed for devices that have limited bandwidth like drones, traffic cameras, and manufacturing robots. Some of these devices, such as a camera drone, may capture large amounts of data without working in the cloud or a connected data center. Subsequently, these devices have to do most of the processing themselves and Jetson 3.0 promises to make them more powerful. The TX2 chip, which provides twice the performance of the TX1 while using only half the energy, is designed for artificial intelligence at the edge of a network. Continue reading Nvidia’s Jetson TX2 Powers Devices with Artificial Intelligence

Lenovo Introduces Project Tango Smartphone, Modular Moto Z

Chinese company Lenovo just introduced two new smartphones: Phab 2 Pro, based on Google’s Project Tango, which measures and maps surrounding objects and spaces, and Moto Z handsets that feature interchangeable, snap-on modules. The Moto Z handsets, which come out of Lenovo’s 2014 purchase of Motorola Mobility, already offer three “Moto Mods” – an extra speaker, a projector for presentations and an expanded internal battery. The company will make a reference kit available for developers to build other Moto Mods. Continue reading Lenovo Introduces Project Tango Smartphone, Modular Moto Z

CES: Augmented Reality Getting Ready in the Green Room

While companies prepare to release virtual reality experiences into the consumer market, an increasing flow of money and effort is going toward developing and buying augmented reality (AR) technology and ideas. Augmented reality is any situation where your personal experience with the world around you is enhanced, supplemented, or added to via personally worn technology. The AR space is getting busy and increasingly crowded as companies position themselves to secure a piece of a new media ecosystem that is projected to yield $120B in revenue by 2020. Continue reading CES: Augmented Reality Getting Ready in the Green Room

Smart Home Push Continues, Despite Slow Consumer Adoption

Numerous tech giants, startups and telecoms have recently introduced new smart home products, hubs, sensors and apps, yet consumer adoption has been comparatively slow, as people take their time getting comfortable with the concept. However, that did not slow manufacturers such as Samsung, LG and Whirlpool from demonstrating new connected appliances at CES. And while major players including Google, Lowe’s, Apple and others continue to push various smart home solutions, progress of the digital home has so far been incremental. Continue reading Smart Home Push Continues, Despite Slow Consumer Adoption

Internet of Things: Retailers to Promote Smart Home Devices

Retailers are gearing up to support a range of connected home devices for the upcoming holiday season. Best Buy’s new Connected Home department is scheduled to deploy in more than 400 stores by Thanksgiving, featuring more than 100 smart home products. Other big box retailers including Home Depot, Lowe’s and Staples have unveiled new programs and products in their stores designed for the connected home. We can also expect to see specialists and tech support trained in smart home products. Continue reading Internet of Things: Retailers to Promote Smart Home Devices

Vine Marketing: Airbnb Launches Video Crowdsourcing Campaign

The Airbnb travel accommodations website teamed with ad agency Mullen San Francisco to launch a new experiment in Vine marketing this past week. The “Hollywood & Vines” campaign will result in a short film composed of six-second Vine videos submitted by consumers. Shooting days ran August 22-25, with assigned shots posted hourly. “If your Vine is selected it will be featured on the Sundance Channel and you’ll receive a $100 Airbnb coupon,” explains the campaign’s site. Continue reading Vine Marketing: Airbnb Launches Video Crowdsourcing Campaign

Best Buy Hopes Low Price Guarantee Will End Showrooming

Best Buy announced it will institute a new policy change starting on March 3 that the company says will kill “showrooming” in its stores for good. The change is a permanent version of the temporary price-matching initiative Best Buy announced during the 2012 holiday rush. Whenever a customer asks for it, the retailer plans to match prices offered by local retail stores and major online competitors. Continue reading Best Buy Hopes Low Price Guarantee Will End Showrooming