Midlands-based Alison Smith of Pesky People and Birmingham’s ClustaLabs have emerged from an exceptionally strong field of creative businesses and developers as winners of Nokia’s Pitch ‘n’ Win mobile app development competition. Following an initial written application process that attracted entries from across the UK, teams behind the eight strongest ideas were invited to an exclusive one day event at Birmingham’s Zellig building at the Custard Factory, featuring top level speakers from Nokia and international creative agency, Wieden + Kennedy.
After keynote speeches from international guests including Nokia’s Head of Content and Partnerships, Keith Varty, and Wieden + Kennedy’s Interactive Creative Director, Andy Cameron, the eight teams each pitched their ideas to an expert panel, who were then faced with the difficult decision of picking just one winner. In fact, the quality of ideas presented was so strong that the judges ended up picking two.
Talking after the event, Nokia’s Keith Varty said "The panel was blown away by the breadth and quality of ideas presented at the Pitch ‘n’ Win event in Birmingham; we look forward to working with Pesky People and Clusta to deliver truly innovative apps for Nokia smart phones."
Birmingham’s ClustaLabs presented a groundbreaking app idea capitalising on Nokia’s exciting developments with NFC technology (Near Field Communication). This proved an irresistible proposal for Nokia, who decided to present a second award with an offer to take the app into further development. ClustaLabs’ Innovations Manager, Chris Harkin, said “Clusta was delighted to attend The Nokia Pitch ‘n’ Win event in Birmingham. We were proud to be announced as the winners and are now eager to continue our relationship with Nokia. As a leader in digital advertising, we understand the potential of designing NFC Apps for Nokia and hope that our concept will become a unique feature within Nokia’s Store. We thoroughly enjoyed the day and are very much looking forward to seeing how this project continues to evolve over time.”
Presenting the awards, Nokia’s Head of Developer Relations, Greg Merten, said “Alison’s Go Genie app will be a great example of ‘connecting people’ through innovation. We are also excited about developing Clusta’s innovative NFC app, and look forward to seeing both apps available to Nokia smart phones owners.” For further information, please visit: http://goo.gl/bo8Pl
It’s safe to say that paper isn’t the only thing coming out of a printer these days. Freedom of Creation design house have produced bags, furniture and jewellery while James Yoo from the Institute of Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University has talked of bio printing; printing skin directly onto burn victims. The list of materials that can be popped into a 3D printer is growing. Be Your Own Souvenir project from Blablablab in Barcelona took it to the next level in advertising, allowing people to print models of themselves using the Microsoft Kinect.
The 3D printed Bikini N12, created by Continuum Fashion in partnership with Shapeways, looks set to change the fashion world. It may be ready to wear, but it is not cheap at $450. Although one wouldn’t be the first person to put their hand up to wear what appears to be a piece of plastic chain mail, the material Nylon 12 is strong, flexible, waterproof and apparently it becomes even more comfortable when wet, so that’s there excuse.
Future 3D printing has the potential to reduce labour costs and waste, however its real potential lies in custom made clothing. Imagine being able to design your own clothes, no templates, drawing, dying or stitching involved, it’s just you and your printer. Spotted somewhere wearing an outfit you like, take a picture and the 3D printer will do the rest, maybe it will become the next Primark?
So what could this mean for the future of clothing brands? Will they cease to exist? Instead of wearing the Prada, will I be wearing Gemma? I might be getting a little carried away, but is it really that farfetched? Dress shirt makers Blank Label already allow their customers to do all the work for them, designing their own fabrics, styles, sizes etc and Threadless even has a community that submits and scores their own t-shirts, which they just take and place on sale. So is this good crowd-sourcing or just cunning laziness? Well, I can’t answer that but if Kate Moss starts to collaborate with consumers to create a range of TopShop 3D fashion, then I’ll have one.
Ever wanted to just jump into a Mini and race across Paris, Milan, Tokyo or New York? Well now you can in Google Maps latest mash up; Mini Maps. An ideal platform for creativity, Google Maps is no longer a site for navigation, but instead one for zombies, graffiti, ash-clouds and more zombies apparently. Well if they cannot take over the real world, then the virtual one will just have to do, as proven by Fleck and the ever increasingly popular Royal Wedding Zombie application. Here, you pitch your zombies against the might of Buckingham Palace’s guards, who let’s face it, stand a better chance than Leicester City Council, according to the BBC.
Yet, Google Maps is actually becoming a vital part of social media. Whether its health, shopping or the environment, designers continue to develop numerous useful and provocative ways of expressing information. I mean, just take a look at these; Singapore’s Dengue Fever Map, HealthMap & Toronto’s Start STP Map, yet what about other areas of health? Does retail therapy count?
A new phase that has hit the online high street is geo-tagging real time purchases on Google Maps. Zappos, ThisNext, The Book Depository and Net-a-Porter have all experimented within this realm, highlighting current trends and demonstrating the influences that people have on one another’s purchases. Groupon now hopes to capitalise on this, letting consumers view their nearest deals in Chicago, yet how long will Google Maps mash ups last within a Microsoft dominated world and can it become more physical? Just check out this video below for a little bit of inspiration:
NFC may not be a public buzzword as of yet, but major brands including Nokia, Barclay and McDonald’s have all jumped on the near field communication bandwagon, or what I like to call, the contactless technology express.
The list of things that you can do with radio frequency identifiers and near field communication is endless; boarding passes, mobile wallets, loyalty cards and public transport to name a few, explaining why companies like Oulu Smart Touch Project seem to be having endless fun, coming up with route tracking and weather prediction technology through NFC checkpoint.
Timo Arnall’s ‘Address Book Desk’ in 2005 blended RFID tags, post-it notes and phone technology to create a streamlined approach to calling friends. Although some may say that this was actually a bit pointless, including myself, this technology can be practical, even dare I say it, radical.
Newcastle University’s research facility created the ‘Ambient Kitchen’ where RFID tags were installed in product packaging, placing sensors on cupboards, kettles, sugar bowls, almost everywhere and anywhere, so that they could analyse what users were doing and project information into the room when necessary, including recipe advice and medication reminder. This was proven to be a massive success, although if one listened very careful, then you could actually hear the eco-system moaning under the weight of silicone, plastic and copper, to name a few.
NFC and RFID seems an ideal partner in customer service. I mean, check out ‘Health Buddy’ in 2008, an electronic personal trainer that monitored physical performance based upon calories burnt, time and effort or even Adidas recent in-store virtual shoe wall for further inspiration.
One thing is for sure, or at least to me, is that the rise of NFC and RFID will in evidently lead to the demise of USBs, credit cards, keys, cash, power sockets and most importantly, wires. Just imagine a world without wires; I shall leave it there for now.
Ever wondered if Twitter could become the next resource of electricity? Well, maybe it’s just me, but after speaking to Gemma about the Mercedes-Benz campaign, it got me thinking. What if social media could bring families together, rather than breaking them apart?
Whether its texting, twittering, emailing or calling, actually talking to your siblings, parents, even grandparents will never be the same again. So, is this a source of untapped potential? Parents are finding it more and more difficult to engage with their children and a continuous escape goat seems to be technology. Yet, I ask you to consider it within a positive light, what if communication could in fact power your home?
I apologise in advance for the word that I am about to bring up, buts it’s important, honest. I mean the recession and money has to now go hand in hand with progress, whether this is technological, vocational, well-being, you can no longer escape it. Therefore, maybe your next meter reading will be of your Tweet count, rather than the amount of kJ you have consumed. Hence, can your family’s social networking presence contribute towards your overall gas and electricity bills? If so, is this morally right, wrong or maybe I am actually going into it a bit too deep and need to take a step back?
However, imagine the possibility, that’s what we do at ClustaLabs. So watch out NPower, Twitter looks set to become the next electricity supply company, but will it be free and will Twitter pay for it? Probably, just as long as you keep on tweeting.