Conductive Charging Bus – Utah State University students have designed and built a conductive charging platform for an electric bus. The system puts chargers at bus stops so that the buses can be constantly recharged as they follow their routes without plugging in, effectively extending their range while behaving as their petroleum powered counterparts do. It’s not a stretch to imagine these sorts of charging stations being made solar and installed in parking lots so that electric cars can be charged while visiting a business. This changes car usage in a way that retailers need to consider. No fuel required which means a change in business model for fuel stations. If it gets that far, they need to remember marketing myopia – they are supporting the transportation needs of consumers and are not the petroleum business.
Electric cars may not happen tomorrow, but the wave is certainly moving in that direction. Tesla plans to turn a profit, ranges are allegedly improving, charging is getting faster, and now cordless charging is becoming increasingly realistic.
Body Scanners – Bloomingdales are installing body scanners from me-ality to help customers nail down the sizes once and for all! Strange that there are many who avoid the body scanners at the airport, but that others may choose to pile in to get their bottoms sized in a body scanner so their jeans fit more flawlessly. Similar booths, different perspective. There have been a number of these digital sizing schemes over the years, and they certainly make sense, but they are up for challenges discussed previously. Challenges exist for any solution, but if clothing retailers can get their specs nailed down and ensure their vendors meet tolerances consistently this could reduce the returns problem for online shopping.
UPDATE 2013-04-22: Gizmodo visited a site and tried it out.
Amazon Records – Early in 2013, Amazon launched a service called Amazon AutoRip whereby customers that have already purchased CDs will automatically have that music added to their Amazon Cloud Player library. The AutoRip service was recently updated to also include vinyl record purchases.
While it sounds like a small service addition, this is a clever and relatively simple automation for Amazon that provides music lovers one more reason to buy from Amazon. Music lovers who prefer to purchase actual media copies of music can also leverage soft copies now, and Amazon can offer a service not available from iTunes and other online music stores that only offer digital copies. At the same time, Amazon makes themselves even more attractive than traditional record stores.