Sunday, November 25, 2012

New DIBS E-commerce Survey 2012

Credit: DIBS
DIBS Payment Services, Northern Europe’s leading supplier of functional, secure and innovative payment services for commerce via Internet, has published new data about e-commerce consumption in nine European countries. DIBS manages transactions for more than 14000 customers and has unique access to data about consumers, shopping behavior and shopping volume.

The new DIBS E-Commerce Survey 2012, conducted in the third quarter of 2012 by research agency YouGov, provides extensive insights on e-commerce in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, UK, Germany, France, Poland and Spain.
According to the survey the total e-commerce market is estimated to 226 B€ in the nine countries for 2012. E-commerce is a massive commercial opportunity, but still just a fraction of total household consumption. Consumers buy online increasingly frequently, but the average consumer completes still just more than one online purchase per month.
Per capita consumption in Northern Europe and the UK is higher than in continental Europe. The interval stretches from 439 euros per capita in Poland to 914 euros per capita in Norway for the last six months. But the gap is closing since consumers from Poland and Spain report growth, whereas consumers from Northern  Europe, France and the UK report lower average consumption than last year. Below some highlights from the report:

Convenience Shopping

  • European consumers shop online primarily to increase convenience in everyday life.
  • As many as 73% of the consumers expect to maintain or increase their online spending over the next 12 months.

M-Commerce takes over

  • Smart phones and tablet computers have become important 
  • Mobile solutions are becoming increasingly integrated in digital sales and a natural choice for many consumers.
  • An impressive 28% of the consumers aged 15–34 have purchased products and services via smart phones. 
  • Consumers who have started buying with their phones expect to do it even more in the future. 

Multiple payment choices

  • To avoid losing sales opportunities it is critical for merchants to cater to very different payment preferences across Europe.
  • Consumers opt for the perceived safest and easiest method.
  • While a lot of consumers prefer to pay with cards, other options such as online bank transfers, invoices and micropayment services are also popular.
  • Consumers tend to abandon an online purchase if the stores lack their preferred payment method.
All data is based on consumers’ opinions and estimates through internet panels in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, UK, Germany, France, Poland and Spain. The survey was conducted with over 9,000 internet users, men and women aged 15 to 74, in a representative sample of the population in terms of gender, age and region. Accumulated data for the whole region has been weighted so that the respondents in each country represent its proportion of the total population in the nine countries.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

9.3 billion mobile subscriptions in 2018

Credit: Ericsson 2012
The latest Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) Mobility Report, formerly known as the Ericsson Traffic and Market Report, reveals that approximately 40 percent of all phones sold in Q3 were smartphones. Data traffic doubled between Q3 2011 and Q3 2012, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 50 percent between 2012 and 2018, driven mainly by video.

  • Approximately 40 percent of all phones sold in Q3 2012 were smartphones and the growth of smartphone data traffic is expected to exceed the overall average 
  • Mobile data traffic doubled between Q3 2011 and Q3 2012, and is expected to grow 12 times between 2012 and 2018, driven mainly by video 
  • Total mobile subscriptions are expected to reach 6.6 billion in 2012 and 9.3 billion in 2018 
  • There were an additional 13 million LTE subscriptions in Q3 2012, and numbers are predicted to reach 1.6 billion by 2018  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Christmas present 2012: Headphones

Credit: HUI
The Swedish retail research institute, HUI Research, has announced headphones as the Christmas Gift of the Year 2012.
HUI motivates that headphones fill multiple purposes and has become a part of contemporary lifestyle. They are a symbol of today for the mobile and always-online trend where new digital services raises fast and rapidly change consumer behaviour.

Today we have access to music, video, news directly in our smartphones, tablets, laptops, PC’s or MP3 players. We can consume anything at new places and around-the-clock. Headphones are a key driver for utilizing the new technologies and they make it much easier to use the time spent going from A to B much more efficient.

Since 1988 HUI Research has announced a new product each year as the Christmas Gift of the Year. The products have been varied from, small, cheap and expensive. In order for a product to be assigned Christmas Gift of the Year one or more of the following criteria must be met:
  • The product has to be new or have raised new interest that year
  • The product needs a high sales value or have a great number of sold units 
  • The product has to represent something typical of that year
The work of announcing the Christmas Gift of the Year is ongoing throughout the year. A project team is created each year after summer and the Christmas gift is normally announced in november. A compete list of earlier years Christmas gifts can be found here.

Swedish consumers expect to spend about 2200 SEK on Christmas gifts this holiday season according to a new consumer survey conducted by Tradera and Ebay in eleven European countries. More than a thousand consumers aged between 16 and 64 years in each country have been surveyed.
But many of these consumers will be unhappy with their presents and login to popular auction sites to make a better deal. Most popular auction goods are fashion, toys, hobby, home appliances and books. The number of deals on Christmas eve have bubbled in the last years at Swedish Tradera. Christmas present dealing seams to become a new Swedish tradition.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ikea starts with hearing loop

The Ikea store in Uppsala will be the first department store in Sweden using a system with hearing loops. It is a local initiative in collaboration with the Swedish Trade Federation, which will hopefully get many followers in both Ikea and other trading venues.
The newly installed technology at IKEA forms a "bubble", where buyers and sellers can speak freely. The customer has the receiver in his hearing aid, and signs showing where technology exists.
There are about 800,000 deaf people in Sweden. Many of these experience shopping as a messy and difficult environment. But with relatively inexpensive technological means, these customers can get help when shopping. Experts believe that many stores and shopping centers will follow as part of efforts to increase the accessibility for customers with different types of disabilities.
(Source: FriKöpenskap)

Message from the Fixing guru: hack the world, fix it!

This is a very special story about amazing fixing guru, inventor and entrepreneur Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh. I met her recently at the Good Friday Meeting in Stockholm where she told her exciting story and demonstrated her revolutionary invention, surgu.
While studying for her MA in Product Design at the RCA in London in 2003, Jane had a bit of an idea. “I don’t want to buy new stuff all the time. I want to hack the stuff I already have so it works better for me.” It took her some years of thinking, experimenting before inventing and launching the new self-setting rubber that can be formed by hand. She called it sugru, the irish word for 'play'. It moulds like play-dough, bonds to almost anything and turns into a strong, flexible silicone rubber overnight. So far more than 140,000 people in 119 countries use sugru to help with everything from fixing their sink to paragliding and deep sea diving.
In November 2010 TIME Magazine listed sugru alongside the iPad as one of the top 50 inventions of 2010.
Sugru is pretty amazing, and I have already fixed my iPhone cables with surgu!
Read Jane's new Fixing Manifesto here.

Surgu is one example of a new kind of companies that provide creativity tools and knowledge for a new DIY culture driven by gaming, designing, sampling, hacking, prototyping, self expression and crowdsourcing. There is a strong focus on using and learning practical skills and applying them creatively in digital and analog environments. Some envision already the dawn of a new "arts and crafts" revolution based on robotic assembly, 3D printing and programmable matter. A new generation of garage inventors and makers is already investigating how a better and more sustainable future might and should be. Jane is one of these great innovators who make and take responsibility.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Let the store come to the people

Credit: Mathem, Stockholm Central Station, the leading e-grocery company in Sweden launched a virtual food store in the Stockholm subway station Östermalstorg in 2012, where curious commuters could test shopping with their mobile phones by scanning  relevant barcode to order different products from a virtual shopping display. Later on the company also opened virtual food stores in Gothenburg and Malmo.
The idea was copied from South Korea, where Tesco Homeplus in 2011 launched the world’s first virtual Homeplus Subway Virtual Store in Seoul. The store was the result of further development of the advert concept created by Cheil Worldwide, that won the Grand Prix and the International Festival of Creativity held in Cannes, France in July 2011.

Credit: Mathem, Östermalms subway station, Stockholm
The growing trend in Smartphones in South Korea means that virtual grocery shopping is even more accessible and convenient than ever before. Tesco Homeplus found out that virtual grocery shopping is most popular amongst 20 to 30 year olds, and the company is opening new stores close to a local university and other pedestrian areas. In 2012 Tesco Homeplus expanded the trial of its virtual stores to more than 20 bus stops in South Korea, giving busy commuters the opportunity to do their grocery shopping 'on the go.'

Monday, November 05, 2012

Toyota tests Ha:mo Urban Transport System Credit

Credit: TMC, Ha:mo station
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), in cooperation with the Toyota City municipal government, transportation companies and others, recently announced tests of an optimized urban transportation system called "Ha:mo". The system will select optimal means of transport for users based on the operational status of public transport systems and traffic conditions.  Vehicle-sharing stations are to be installed at four locations within Toyota City, providing a car-sharing service using "COMS" ultra-compact single-occupant electric vehicles (EVs) manufactured by Toyota Auto Body Co., Ltd.
The term Ha:mo is being given to TMC-developed systems that seek to provide user-, town-, and community-friendly transport support through the effective use of public transportation in combination with motor vehicles and other forms of personal mobility.  The system for the tests comprises two elements: "Ha:mo Navi", which links individual users, transportation system operators and communities to enable searches for seamless yet low-emission transport routes, and "Ha:mo Ride", an ultra-compact EV sharing service designed to accommodate short-distance travel in urban areas.
The Ha:mo tests were selected as part of the Next-Generation Energy and Social System Demonstration Projects sponsored by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and are being conducted under the Toyota City Low-Carbon Verification Project.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

New robotic ball for risky operations

Soldiers, fire fighters, and search and rescue workers put their lives on the line every day so that we don’t have to. Life-saving imaging technology exists that could make their jobs safer, yet current applications are too expensive, classified, and impractical for wide-scale use.
Boston-based start-up Bounce Imaging is developing ultra-low-cost, easy-to-use imaging systems to meet the needs of soldiers and first responders, allowing them to explore potentially hazardous spaces without exposing them to harm.
The ball robot with its six cameras snaps pictures while its sensors detect air quality, temperature, radiation and other hazards. It then beams the data to mobile devices.

Bounce Imaging was selected as a Gold Winner at MassChallenge 2012 ($50K prize), the largest startup accelerator in the world. The company was also named one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2012!

Indoor Cloud Experience

Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde has developed a way to create a small, perfect white cloud in the middle of a room. It requires meticulous planning: the temperature, humidity and lighting all have to be just so. Once everything is ready, Smilde summons the cloud out of the air using a fog machine. It lasts only moments, but the effect is dramatic and strangely moving.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Robotic Future of Retail

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University see the future of retail — with AndyVision, technology that helps to improve the shopping experience for both customers and retail staff.
AndyVision is a robotic inventory system that takes the form of an autonomous robot that can patrol and scan the aisles and shelves of a retail store. The robot generates a detailed aisle/shelf-level interactive store map that can be displayed on an in-store digital sign for customers to browse the virtual world of the store using gestures or a touchscreen interface. The project is part of Priya Narasimhan's work as head of the Intel Science and Technology Center for Embedded Computing at CMU.