Study Shows Consumers Worldwide Are Warming to AR, VR

According to new research released at CES this week, consumers are warming to the idea of virtual and augmented reality, but their interests are more focused on practical daily applications than gaming. Harris Interactive conducted a study for Accenture across 19 countries and learned that 47 percent of online consumers would be interested in using AR or VR headsets to play games, while percentages jumped into the 50s and 60s regarding consumers interested in learning about travel and new skills, visualizing how clothing would fit, and shopping for household items and furniture. Continue reading Study Shows Consumers Worldwide Are Warming to AR, VR

AR Developers Make Their Cases for First Uses of Technology

Turning the car’s windshield into an AR screen for navigation, a mobile AR device that helps the blind navigate the real world, and a mobile app to envision that couch from the furniture store in your living room. These are all real-world AR applications that their creators are touting as a good first step into nascent consumer products. GlobalData research director Avi Greengart, who moderated the CES 2018 panel on augmented reality, noted that AR developers have had to find a way to create customized solutions using limited existing hardware and software.
Continue reading AR Developers Make Their Cases for First Uses of Technology

Facebook’s Facial Recognition Features Spur Privacy Debate

Facebook is debuting facial recognition that will automatically notify users when their photo is posted; the feature is part of the social media company’s answer to criticisms from European regulators, the U.S. and elsewhere that it is disseminating fake news and hate speech, as well as not respecting privacy rights. The feature is based on technology already in use to suggest tags for people in posted photos. Although the company hopes it could help combat some abuses, it may raise more privacy issues. Continue reading Facebook’s Facial Recognition Features Spur Privacy Debate

Artificial Intelligence at CES 2018: Expect More of the Same

If measured in press impressions, 2017 has most definitely been the “Year of AI,” But looking past the hype, a few things are clear: 1) progress in actual machine intelligence capability has been slow and fragmented; 2) applied AI is still the domain of less than 20 companies; and 3) still, machine learning (not AI) is being deployed across enterprise domains of numerous business sectors and creating big value. Similarly, and since it will take another year or two for current advances in machine learning to trickle down to the consumer sector, we’re not really expecting much breakthrough in AI or even machine learning at CES 2018. Continue reading Artificial Intelligence at CES 2018: Expect More of the Same

Smartwatches, Fitness Bands Still Dominate Wearables Sector

At last year’s CES, wearables were a viable category but had lost a bit of the luster of previous years, as consumers were deluged with competing fitness bands, smartwatches and even smart fabrics and jewelry. Although many of the entrants were intriguing, nothing popped out as revealing the path forward. CES 2018 promises to be similar, with some notable exceptions. Shipments in the wearables market are at an all-time high, but few manufacturers think wearables will have a significant impact on their bottom line in 2018. Continue reading Smartwatches, Fitness Bands Still Dominate Wearables Sector

Amazon Introduces New ARKit Shopping Feature to iOS App

Amazon’s new AR addition to its iOS app, called “AR View,” allows customers the ability to visualize products in their own home. Thousands of products are viewable across a range of categories for both the office and home. By utilizing Apple’s ARKit, the experience unfolds in real-time, allowing the customer to rotate both the object and change its perspective. By introducing the new feature, Amazon joins other retailers such as Target and IKEA that have all recently introduced augmented shopping experiences to their mobile platforms. Continue reading Amazon Introduces New ARKit Shopping Feature to iOS App

Amazon to Debut New Delivery Service in 37 Cities Next Month

Amazon is introducing Amazon Key, a service that, via a smart lock and a security camera, allows its couriers to unlock the consumer’s front door and drop a package inside. Similarly, Latch, a startup that makes smart locks, inked a deal this summer with Walmart online shopping site Jet.com to pay for its locks to be installed in 1,000 New York City apartment buildings. Amazon Key, which starts at $250, is a kit that includes an Amazon Cloud Cam (available separately for $120) and a Yale or Kwikset smart door lock. Continue reading Amazon to Debut New Delivery Service in 37 Cities Next Month

Amazon Debuts B2B Version of its Popular Prime Membership

Amazon is following up the success of its Prime membership for consumers by launching a new Prime membership aimed at businesses. Investors worry that Amazon will wrest revenues from traditional industrial suppliers, much as it did with retail operations and bookstores among other businesses. For that reason, the news that Amazon now offers Business Prime Shipping had an immediate impact on WW Grainger, whose shares dropped as much as 4.6 percent, and Fastenal, whose stock dipped as much as 4.2 percent. Continue reading Amazon Debuts B2B Version of its Popular Prime Membership

Competition Ramps Up to Host Amazon’s New Headquarters

Amazon, which invited U.S. cities to submit a proposal to become the company’s second headquarters, reports it has received responses from 238 cities and regions, representing 54 states, provinces, districts and territories. The project is expected to cost $5 billion over almost 20 years. New York, Boston, Atlanta, Nashville and Austin have said they submitted proposals, as did hurricane-battered Puerto Rico and several locations in Mexico and Canada. Reportedly, only seven U.S. states did not enter the contest. Continue reading Competition Ramps Up to Host Amazon’s New Headquarters

Money20/20: Companies Partner on AR Shopping Prototype

Mastercard, Osterhout Design Group (ODG), and Qualcomm are betting that augmented reality will be a powerhouse for future shopping. To test the waters, they put together an exhibit of a prototype retail experience that is on display, with clothes from Saks Fifth Avenue, at the Money20/20 event in Las Vegas. The prototype combines AR glasses, iris authentication, and integrated mobile payment, and uses photorealistic AR that lets the consumer look at the clothing and view digital details (such as the price) on the AR glasses. Continue reading Money20/20: Companies Partner on AR Shopping Prototype

Walmart Elevates Profile With Anticipated Lord & Taylor Deal

Walmart, to build a more powerful online shopping destination that can better compete with Amazon, is on the verge of adding Lord & Taylor to its website. Walmart’s idea is to transform its site from a destination for discount goods to an online mall that would feature such higher-end brands as Lord & Taylor. For Lord & Taylor, the online traffic would be welcomed at a time that fewer consumers are visiting department stores. Jet.com and men’s clothing company Bonobos, both owned by Walmart, could also join the site. Continue reading Walmart Elevates Profile With Anticipated Lord & Taylor Deal

Insiders Say Amazon Close to Launching its Own Sportswear

Amazon is reportedly getting ready to enter the private-label sportswear business, through initial deals with Taiwanese vendors including Makalot Industrial Co. and Eclat Textile Co., say people familiar with the matter. Makalot produces clothing for popular retailers such as The Gap, Kohl’s and Uniqlo, while Eclat makes apparel for Lululemon Athletica, Nike and Under Armour. Insiders suggest that no long-term contracts have been signed yet, since the project is so new and the manufacturers have thus far only produced small amounts as part of a trial.

Continue reading Insiders Say Amazon Close to Launching its Own Sportswear

Voice Shopping: Target Expands its Partnership With Google

Target announced that it is expanding its partnership with Google to cover a number of initiatives: consumers will be able to shop Target via Google Express home delivery (including by voice), Target’s REDcard payment card will be integrated into Google’s shopping platform, and new support for store pick-ups of purchases made through voice will be introduced. Amazon’s biggest rival Walmart announced in August that it would also team with Google for voice-based shopping efforts. The moves could help Google Home compete with Amazon’s Alexa-powered smart speakers. Continue reading Voice Shopping: Target Expands its Partnership With Google

Amazon May Soon Deliver Packages Inside Homes and Cars

Amazon is now working on delivering packages inside peoples’ homes and car trunks. The e-commerce giant is on the verge of inking a partnership with Phrame, a manufacturer of a product that fits around a license plate, with a secure box that holds the keys to the car. Users can unlock the box with their smartphone, and remotely grant access to a delivery person. Sources say that Amazon is also working on a smart doorbell device that would give its delivery drivers one-time access to a person’s home. Continue reading Amazon May Soon Deliver Packages Inside Homes and Cars

States Are Battling Sales Tax Loopholes for Amazon Vendors

Starting December 1, shoppers on Amazon will most likely have to pay sales taxes on goods purchased from third-party merchants, in addition to paying tax on those bought directly from Amazon. That’s because, on that date, at least some vendors will begin collecting taxes to receive partial amnesty from back taxes in almost half of the U.S. states, including Florida, New Jersey and Texas. The deadline for the partial amnesty deal is October 17, so it is not yet clear how many merchants will take it. Continue reading States Are Battling Sales Tax Loopholes for Amazon Vendors

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