Marketing Trends in 2012: Traditional Expensive Advertising No Longer Effective, Says Expert

Newswise — Traditional product advertising — full-page magazine ads and 30-second television commercials — may be going the way of the rotary phone. Emerging concepts such as crowdsourcing, viral Internet campaigns, product placements and guerilla promotions will dominate the marketing and advertising landscape in 2012 and beyond, says a marketing expert at Washington University in St. Louis.

“Traditional expensive advertising is no longer effective given all the clutter, as well as the emergence of technologies, like digital video recorders, that block the ads from even being viewed, much less absorbed, by consumers,” says Seethu Seetharaman, PhD, the W. Patrick McGinnis Professor of Marketing at Olin Business School.

Seetharaman says the success of “ingeniously crafted” inexpensive viral ad campaigns, such as BlendTec’s “Will it Blend?” YouTube campaign for its blenders, indicates that such non-traditional, low-cost/high-impact promotional campaigns will be on the rise moving forward.

Product placements, though they’ve been around a long time, will continue to gain popularity as well in place of more traditional advertising, he says.

“The movie Transformers 3 created a record, even by Hollywood standards, in terms of the number of brands that were ‘product placed’ within the movie,” Seetharaman says. “This will catch on in the future, although the concept of product placements goes back to the times of the Marx Brothers.”

The reason for its reemergence, he says, is that there are very few opportunities these days to get consumers in a “captive” mode of having no choice but to take in the brand being advertised.

“One of those few opportunities is being stuck in a dark auditorium, consuming entertainment, having no choice of whitening out a brand on screen, or using a DVR to fast-forward,” Seetharaman says. “In fact, product placements are also on the rise in sitcoms, video games and other media for the same reason.

“In fact,” he says, “pre-movie advertising interspersed between movie trailers will increase as well.”

Social media will play a critical role in product development, as well as advertising.

“I think crowdsourcing is only going to increase,” Seetharaman says.

Crowdsourcing refers to the open innovation model, pioneered by sites like Threadless.com, where customers design and vote on new product designs.

This allows them to take active charge of the new product development process, rather than reacting to product concepts developed by firms, he says.

“This product development model has already moved to information markets like the Huffington Post, and is now moving to high-ticket products such as furniture and cars, albeit for limited target markets for now,” Seetharaman says.

Given the popularity of campaigns such as the T-Mobile Flash Mob, one is more likely to see non-traditional “grassroots” campaigns get more noticed than traditional billboard advertising in city streets.

“With the explosion of smartphones, these grassroots campaigns are swiftly recorded by people and then posted on YouTube in short order, which then makes these guerilla campaigns go viral in a big way,” Seetharaman says. “This ‘guerrilla promotion’ style of advertising will blossom in 2012 and beyond.”

Released: 12/21/2011

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/marketing-trends-in-2012-traditional-expensive-advertising-no-longer-effective-says-wustl-expert

Truly Amazing….New Cotton Fabric Cleans Itself When Exposed to Ordinary Sunlight

Imagine jeans, sweats or socks that clean and de-odorize themselves when hung on a clothesline in the sun or draped on a balcony railing. Scientists are reporting development of a new cotton fabric that does clean itself of stains and bacteria when exposed to ordinary sunlight.

Newswise — Imagine jeans, sweats or socks that clean and de-odorize themselves when hung on a clothesline in the sun or draped on a balcony railing. Scientists are reporting development of a new cotton fabric that does clean itself of stains and bacteria when exposed to ordinary sunlight. Their report appears in the ACS’ journal Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Mingce Long and Deyong Wu say their fabric uses a coating made from a compound of titanium dioxide, the white material used in everything from white paint to foods to sunscreen lotions. Titanium dioxide breaks down dirt and kills microbes when exposed to some types of light. It already has found uses in self-cleaning windows, kitchen and bathroom tiles, odor-free socks and other products. Self-cleaning cotton fabrics have been made in the past, the authors note, but they self-clean thoroughly only when exposed to ultraviolet rays. So they set out to develop a new cotton fabric that cleans itself when exposed to ordinary sunlight.

Their report describes cotton fabric coated with nanoparticles made from a compound of titanium dioxide and nitrogen. They show that fabric coated with the material removes an orange dye stain when exposed to sunlight. Further dispersing nanoparticles composed of silver and iodine accelerates the discoloration process. The coating remains intact after washing and drying.

The authors acknowledge funding from Donghua University and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Released: 12/16/2011

Source: American Chemical  Society (ACS)

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/new-cotton-fabric-cleans-itself-when-exposed-to-ordinary-sunlight

Environmental Update….Affordable Solar: It’s Closer Than You Think!

Photo Credit: Sarah Bird, Affordable solar power is on the horizon, says Joshua Pearce, pictured here with a high-tech photovoltaic panel.

Newswise — It’s time to stop thinking of solar energy as a boutique source of power, says Joshua Pearce.

Sure, solar only generates about 1 percent of the electricity in the US. But that will change in a few years, says Pearce, an associate professor of electrical engineering and materials science at Michigan Technological University. The ultimate in renewable energy is about to go mainstream.

It’s a matter of economics. A new analysis by Pearce and his colleagues at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, shows that solar photovoltaic systems are very close to achieving the tipping point: they can make electricity that’s as cheap—sometimes cheaper—as what consumers pay their utilities.

Here’s why. First, the price of solar panels has plummeted. “Since 2009, the cost has dropped 70 percent,” says Pearce. But more than that, the assumptions used in previous studies have not given solar an even break.

“Historically, when comparing the economics of solar and conventional energy, people have been very conservative,” says Pearce.

To figure out the true cost of photovoltaic energy, analysts need to consider several variables, including the cost to install and maintain the system, finance charges, how long it lasts, and how much electricity it generates. Pearce and his colleagues performed an exhaustive review of the previous studies and concluded that the values given those variables were out of whack.

For example, most analyses assume that the productivity of solar panels will drop at an annual rate of 1 percent or more, a huge overestimation, according to Pearce. “If you buy a top-of-the-line solar panel, it’s much less, between 0.1 and 0.2 percent.”

In addition, “The price of solar equipment has been dropping, so you’d think that the older papers would have higher cost estimates,” Pearce says. “That’s not necessarily the case.”

Equipment costs are determined based on dollars per watt of electricity produced. One 2010 study estimated the cost per watt at $7.61, while a 2003 study set the amount at $4.16. The true cost in 2011, says Pearce, is under $1 per watt for solar panels purchased in bulk on the global market, though system and installation costs vary widely. In some parts of the world, solar is already economically superior, and the study predicts that it will become increasingly attractive in more and more places.

In regions with a burgeoning solar industry, often due to favorable government policies, there are lots of solar panel installers, which heats up the market.

“Elsewhere, installation costs have been high because contractors will do just one job a month,” says Pearce. Increasing demand and competition would drop installation costs. “If you had ten installers in Upper Michigan and enough work to keep them busy, the price would drop considerably.”

Furthermore, economic studies don’t generally taken into account solar energy’s intangible benefits, reduced pollution and carbon emissions. And while silicon-based solar panels do rely on a nonrenewable resource–sand–they are no threat to the world’s beaches. It only takes about a sandwich baggie of sand to make a roof’s worth of thin-film photovoltaic cells, Pearce says.

Based on the study, and on the fact that the cost of conventional power continues to creep upward, Pearce believes that solar energy will soon be a major player in the energy game. “It’s just a matter of time before market economics catches up with it,” he says.

The study, “A Review of Solar Photovoltaic Levelized Cost of Electricity,” was coauthored by Kadra Branker and Michael Pathak of Queen’s University and was published in the December 2011 edition of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 15, Issue 9, pages 4470-4482.

Released: 12/8/2011

Source: Michigan Technological University

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/affordable-solar-it-s-closer-than-you-think

Move Over Vegetarians, Make Way for the Flexitarians

Newswise — CHICAGO- While the number of consumers who follow strict vegetarian or vegan diets in the U.S. is relatively small, research shows that the number of consumers who are reducing their consumption of animal-based products is on the rise.

These “occasional” vegetarians (also called flexitarians) can be categorized into two groups, semi-vegetarians and meat reducers. Semi-vegetarians follow a vegetarian diet part of the time, but still eat some meat and dairy products. Meat reducers are not trying to follow a vegetarian diet, but are just trying to reduce the amount of meat they eat. In the November 2011 issue of Food Technology magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Associate Editor Karen Nachay writes about how manufacturers are increasingly targeting these groups with better-tasting products, attractive packaging and product variety.

Due to the increasingly popular flexitarian lifestyle, large food manufacturers like Kraft Foods, ConAgra Foods, General Mills, and others have acquired smaller vegetarian food producers or launched their own lines of vegetarian food products. Three-quarters of MorningStar Farms’ consumers are flexitarians; therefore the company is constantly developing new flavors and products that appeal to these consumers.

In the past, processed vegetarian burgers were bland and tough, and usually only die-hard vegetarians were the targeted consumers. There are an increasing number of people who are interested in eating healthier or want to reduce their meat intake without sacrificing taste. Whereas today, updates in processing technologies, food flavors and sauces are making it possible for vegetarian food manufacturers to create foods with more meat-like textures, better flavor and convenience that are more appealing to flexitarian consumers.

Up until recently, soy and wheat protein were the main proteins used in vegetarian meal options. But today with so many people having soy and wheat protein allergies, vegetable protein, from sources such as peas, are being used. Beans and chickpeas are especially popular in vegetarian restaurant items as well.

Released: 11/16/2011

Source: Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/move-over-vegetarians-make-way-for-the-flexitarians

Web Search Is Ready for a Shakeup, Says University of Washington Computer Scientist

Newswise — A University of Washington computer scientist is calling on the international academic community and engineers working in industry to take a bolder approach when designing how people find information online.
In a two-page commentary titled “Search needs a shake-up,” published in the Aug. 4 issue of the journal Nature, UW professor of computer science and engineering Oren Etzioni calls on experts to, literally, think outside the search box. The piece is being published on the 20-year anniversary of Tim Berners Lee unveiling his World Wide Web project.
Etzioni doesn’t mince words. In the article, he writes that the main obstacle to progress “seems to be a curious lack of ambition and imagination.”
In a phone interview, Etzioni was more conciliatory.
“The piece is meant to be provocative,” said Etzioni. He acknowledged that the leading search engines have hired many smart people – including hundreds of UW graduates.
“Despite all the talent and the data that they have, I don’t think that they’ve been ambitious enough,” he said. “This piece is meant to provoke people, to challenge them to go further, to think outside the keyword search box.”
Etzioni imagines a future in which someone would speak a question, such as: “What was the score in today’s Mariners game?” or “Where’s the nearest restaurant that serves great sushi?” and the computer would find an answer by looking through all the data available on the Internet.
It’s an ambitious goal. But last winter’s Jeopardy matchup, in which IBM’s Watson supercomputer trounced the best human players in the show’s history, tested a computer’s ability to immediately answer complex questions.
“I think the Watson Jeopardy thing is a great demonstration and has galvanized me, personally, to say just how far the technology has come,” Etzioni said. “With the current state of the art in research, coupled with an engineering investment, they were able to produce a system with superhuman performance.”
And as the ability to do intelligent searches increases, so does the demand.
“More and more, we’re going to be accessing the web through mobile devices with tiny screens,” Etzioni said. “As you do more and more of that, it becomes harder and harder to type in keywords and see long lists of blue links.”
“People are going to be clamoring for more intelligent search and a more streamlined process of asking questions and getting answers,” he said.
Etzioni proposes that instead of simply looking for strings of text, a web search engine would identify basic entities – people, places, things – and uncover the relationships between them. This is the goal of the UW’s Turing Center, which he directs.
The Turing Center has developed an open-source tool called ReVerb that uses information on the web to determine the relationship between two entities.
“It’s an important first step, but there’s a lot more to do,” Etzioni said. “My hope is that people reading this article will build on it to develop better and more powerful open information extraction systems.”
Scientists and students may use such tools to answer specific questions, such as defining a technical term or finding the risk factors associated with a certain medical procedure.
“Sometimes people are going to want a quick answer, sometimes they’re going to want primary sources,” Etzioni said, “but it’s different ways of slicing and dicing the information that’s out there.”
Etzioni was quoted last weekend by the New York Times about Microsoft’s long-term project to develop a better search experience in its Bing search engine. The article mentions Farecast, an airfare-prediction tool that Etzioni launched in 2003 and is now incorporated in Bing’s airfare search engine.
“Over the next year, I think that we will see substantial progress towards intelligent search,” Etzioni said. “We are seeing it today in shopping search, with Decide.com, and we are seeing it in the preliminary steps that Bing and Google are taking, but the best is yet to come.”

Released: 8/3/2011     Source: University of Washington

Via Newswise

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/579279/

Auto News: KBB.COM’S 2011 TOP 10 COOLEST NEW CARS UNDER $18,000

The Fiat 500 was named the Coolest New Car Under $18,000 for 2011 by Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com

IRVINE, Calif., June 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The expert editors from Kelley Blue Book’s www.kbb.com, the leading provider of new car and used car information, today name the 2011 Top 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000. In a new twist on an annual list published by Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com, this year the editors ranked their top choices from 10 to one, naming the 2012 Fiat 500 as this year’s No. 1 affordable ‘Cool Car.’

Getting a bargain is special in good economic times, but in economic times like these — when the economy is teetering, home prices continue to fall and fuel prices inexplicably bounce up to near-record levels — getting a bargain is more special than ever.

Despite the rising specter of inflation, there are still plenty of new cars available for less than $18,000. Of course, all of them will accomplish the basic tasks that cars are engineered to accomplish – they go, they stop and they keep you out of the weather. But in the kbb.com editors’ vast experience with cars costing less than 18 grand, not all of them are cool, and certainly not all of them are fun. But then there are the select few, the cars that not only do everything one wants and needs a car to do, but those that also do it in an engaging and enjoyable manner.

“There are great deals to be had on many new cars under $18,000, but only a handful of them really possess that cool, difficult-to-describe ‘it’ factor,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com. “Each year the competition keeps getting tougher in this affordable segment, with more personality-filled, amenity-laden, versatile vehicles entering the marketplace. In ranking our top picks this year, the 2012 Fiat 500 took the top prize as our No. 1 choice. After 28 years out of the U.S. market, Fiat is making huge waves with the new 500 and in our books, it is the leader of the ‘Cool Cars’ parade.”

As you might imagine, two criteria — fun-to-drive and fun-to-own — are critical in the roll-up to what the editors freely admit is a very subjective “cool factor,” the over-arching number-one criterion. Each of the cars on the list is available for purchase at $18,000 or less, using Kelley Blue Book’s exclusive Fair Purchase Price as the yardstick (Kelley Blue Book’s Fair Purchase Price is the price consumers typically are paying for a car, based on actual new-vehicle transactions and updated weekly for changing market conditions). Paying less than sticker also is pretty cool, so here, counting down from numbers 10 to one, are kbb.com’s Top 10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000:
Kbb.com’s 2011 Top 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000

10: 2011 Hyundai Elantra
Who knew good value could be so cool? The all-new 2011 Hyundai Elantra is an all-around package of slick design, convenient features and fuel-efficiency — every Elantra gets 40 miles per gallon on the highway…
 9: 2011 Nissan Cube
We agree with Huey Lewis: it is hip to be square, at least when it comes to a car like the Nissan Cube. The polarizing squares-meet-circles design theme gets a lot of attention, but the Cube’s attractiveness is more than skin deep, with features like a sliding and reclining second-row seat, an overabundance of head room and a headliner design that mimics the concentric circles created by a pebble dropped into a pond…
8. 2011 Volkswagen Jetta
Germany! It’s a country practically brimming with freaky coolness, exemplified by Rammstein, Kraftwerk and, of course, Volkswagen. The latest rendition of VW’s Jetta captures much of Germany’s quirky-cool spirit while being expressly engineered for an American appetite…
7. 2012 Ford Focus
European automakers have long subscribed to the idea that a well-packaged car doesn’t need to be large in size. Ripping a page out of that playbook, Ford has brought the compact, Euro-sweetened 2012 Focus to America, offering head-turning looks, sporty handling and a healthy standard equipment list in an efficient and affordable package…
6. 2012 Honda Civic
Cool doesn’t always have to be in your face. Take the 2012 Honda Civic, for example. Its attributes read like a thought-out online dating profile: Good looking but not flashy, low maintenance and easygoing…but happy be your partner in crime for any adventure (insert winky face here)…
5. 2011 Kia Forte Koup
Having an attractive car that others haven’t seen – that’s cool. The 2011 Kia Forte Koup isn’t just the sportiest-looking car on our list, its standard-equipment list includes a satellite-ready audio system, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and USB/iPod integration, so it looks cool and acts cool…
4. 2011 Honda Fit
Fun, flexible and funky, the Honda Fit remains an instantly unanimous choice for our annual cool cars list. Even the crisper, better-equipped Fit Sport comes in under our $18,000 ceiling…
3. 2011 Ford Fiesta
It’s on our list for the second year in a row and we have a feeling the Ford Fiesta is going to be another perennial favorite. Its European looks and well-crafted interior outclass everything else in the category, and its sharp driving dynamics and nimble handling still impress us every time we get behind the wheel…
2. 2011 Mazda3
At some point we’re going to have to give the Mazda3 a lifetime achievement award for its unequaled streak of appearances on our annual list of coolest cars. For the 8th year in a row – every year of the cars existence, in fact – the Mazda3 has earned a spot on our list for its standout sheet metal, excellent interior and exceptional driving dynamics…
1. 2012 Fiat 500
Regardless of what the Hello Kitty mafia would like to believe, cute isn’t cool. Not usually, anyway. But that’s because cute is rarely backed up by substance, as it is in the 2012 Fiat 500…

To see all of the information about this year’s ‘Cool Cars’ list, including full editorial commentary and reasoning behind each of the editors’ picks, visit the 2011 Top 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000 story in kbb.com’s Latest News section at http://www.kbb.com/car-news/all-the-latest/10-coolest-cars-under-18000-_-2011-edition/

Source: Kelley Blue Book

Related Link:  http://www.kbb.com  


Technology News: Going Green at Home Made Easier with iPhone App; Homeowners Can Control Home Appliances Remotely

Newswise — FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Technology just made being “green” easier. Computer science researchers at the University of Arkansas and University of San Francisco have developed an automated energy-management system that monitors energy generation and consumption in off-grid and grid-tied homes that use solar energy or wind power. As part of the system, an iPhone application warns homeowners of critical battery situations, suggests appliances to turn on or off, recommends ideal times to execute tasks that require greater power and adjusts power states of devices to reduce energy consumption.

“We’ve built a system that strikes a balance between totally automated control, which might irritate homeowners by turning off the television while they’re watching a program, and reactive or manual techniques that really are not sufficient to prevent critical battery situations or energy outages,” said Nilanjan Banerjee, assistant professor of computer science and computer engineering at the University of Arkansas. “Our system simply alerts the homeowner of critical situations and then suggests which appliances to turn off. From anywhere, as long as they have their smart phone, homeowners can then use the software to direct the system to shut off the suggested appliance or a different one.”

Banerjee, Pat Parkerson, associate professor of computer science and computer engineering at the University of Arkansas, and Sami Rollins, professor at the University of San Francisco, installed a suite of monitoring tools in an off-grid, solar-powered home in Fayetteville, Ark. The researchers collected generation and consumption data for 55 days, 14 days during the summer of 2010 and 41 days in November and December of 2010. In addition to monitoring power-generation devices of the photovoltaic system, their system also tracked individual appliances, including a refrigerator, washer and dryer, hot-water heater and even a television and lamps.

Data collected by the monitoring system demonstrated important findings. First, energy harvested from the solar panels and energy consumed by the house were both highly variable. This was true within a single day, across several days and across seasons. Although generation and consumption varied greatly, they did so in a predictable manner.

Second, the study demonstrated that traditional energy-management techniques are insufficient in off-grid homes. The widespread assumption is that the ideal time to run appliances that require a lot of energy is between 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. However, the researchers discovered that considering the state of the battery, it was better to run appliances during the day – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Finally, the data showed that manual and reactive techniques do not prevent critical battery situations. The homeowner in the study was conservative with energy consumption and carefully monitored battery voltage. Still, he had to rely on a backup generator approximately 25 percent of the time because he could not predict times in which harvesting solar energy was low.

“All of these findings point to the need for a feasible, automated, proactive energy-management scheme,” Banerjee said.

The control system performs three important tasks. It predicts when a home’s energy storage is likely to be critically low and notifies users/homeowners in advance so they may take proactive measures to reduce consumption. Also, by predicting when energy harvested is at its peak, the system advises users/homeowners of ideal times to execute tasks, such as running a dishwasher or clothes washer, that require a lot of power. Relying on information collected on each appliance, the system suggests energy conservation. For example, based on information provided by the system, users could adjust or reduce the temperature of the refrigerator by a few degrees without negatively affecting its performance.

The researchers have expanded the project to sharpen their understanding of performance of specific appliances. Parkerson is designing hardware circuits with sensors to better monitor and control individual devices and appliances. This will enable the researchers to understand why specific appliances consume energy the way they do. Although they have not yet analyzed new data, the researchers predict that it relates to ambient light and ambient temperature, both inside and outside the house.

“Our goal now is to try to understand why energy is used the way it’s used,” Banerjee said.

The researchers are seeking additional off-grid and grid-tied homes for further studies. The information they collect will remain anonymous, and volunteer participants will receive a free system application to monitor and manage energy within their homes.

Off-grid homes account for only 1 percent of all dwellings in the United States. However, the research also applies to grid-tied homes – homes that produce their own power but are also connected to the grid – and may help these homeowners receive tax rebates or possibly sell energy back to power companies. In the United States, the number of grid-tied homes with solar power grew by 40 percent in 2009. In addition to tax rebates and selling energy back to power companies, off-grid and grid-tied homes decrease reliance on fossil-fuel energy production and do not harm the environment because they rely on clean energy sources such as sun and wind.

Released: 6/27/2011
Source: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Via NEWSWISE

Related Link:

 http://www.newswise.com/articles/going-green-at-home-made-easier-with-iphone-app-homeowners-can-control-home-appliances-remotely

New Products: Cobra to Showcase Cobra Tag™ and Other Consumer and Mobile Electronics Innovations at gdgt live in New York

Cobra Tag. (PRNewsFoto/Cobra Electronics)

NEW YORK, June 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Cobra Electronics Corporation (NASDAQ: COBR), celebrating 50 years of innovation in 2011 as a leading designer and manufacturer of award-winning consumer and mobile electronics, today announced it will showcase some of its newest and most innovative new consumer electronics devices as a sponsor of gdgt live in NY, a high energy gadget showcase which kicks off the CEA’s CE Week in New York City. The event takes place June 21, 2011, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. at the Altman Building, 135 West 18th Street, in the heart of downtown Manhattan.

At gdgt live and throughout CE Week, Cobra will preview some of its latest CE and mobile electronics innovations. Among them, Cobra Tag powered by Phone Halo Technology, is an ingenious alarm and loss prevention system that consists of a smartphone app that is paired via Bluetooth® to a small, sleek key fob device. Owners download the free Cobra Tag app to their smartphone and then attach the Cobra Tag device to any item they wish to protect, such as car keys, a purse, or a backpack. The Cobra Tag system monitors the distance between the phone and tagged items and produces an audible alert if they become separated.

The company will also be demonstrating Cobra iRadar™, the industry’s most advanced smart detection system, providing Cobra customers with personal safety, driving peace-of-mind, and near real-time safety information updates. Other products on display during various events during CE Week will include Cobra PhoneLynx™, a unique and affordable solution to eliminating landline home phone bills, as well as the entire 2011 family of industry-leading radar detectors from Cobra.

“As we celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2011 and our long-standing relationship with the consumer electronics industry and the CEA, we are delighted to play a key role in the first-ever CE Week festivities in New York,” said Sally Washlow, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Cobra Electronics. “As most of us know, the ‘town that never sleeps’ is an easy place to misplace cell phones, purses, and backpacks, so it’s the perfect venue to preview our exciting new Cobra Tag device.”

“All of us at gdgt are excited to be kicking off CE Week in New York City with innovative sponsors like Cobra,” said Peter Rojas, co-founder of gdgt. “There’ll be tons of cool new gadgets to play with, free gdgt t-shirts and smartphone cases, and chances to win some amazing gear. It’s a great opportunity for users to interact with, and give feedback to, the companies creating the gadgets they can’t live without.”

SOURCE Cobra Electronics

RELATED LINKS
http://www.cobra.com

IBM and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Collaborate to Preserve Works of Art

Meeting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Cloisters Museum in New York, Paolo Dionisi Vici, Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Scientific Research at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Hendrik Hamann, Research Manager at IBM , discuss the implementation of a new environmental sensor network for buildings which will help the Cloisters Museum preserve some of the world’s great historic treasures and artwork (The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Don Pollard).

Physical Analytics Technology Can Predict Environmental Conditions within Buildings and Optimize Microclimates for Preservation of Works of Art

NEW YORK, June 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — IBM (NYSE: IBM) and The Metropolitan Museum of Art today announced the successful installation of a new wireless environmental sensor network at the Museum called Low-Power Mote that will help preserve the works of art in its world-renowned, encyclopedic collection.

This technology has recently been installed and is currently being tested at The Cloisters museum and gardens, the branch of the Metropolitan Museum devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. Located in northern Manhattan, The Cloisters has a collection of approximately 3,000 works of art, most dating from the 12th through the 15th century, ranging from illuminated manuscripts to polychrome wood sculptures, paintings, and tapestries.

“This pilot project has the potential to become an important tool in the Metropolitan Museum’s ongoing efforts to achieve the best environmental conditions for the works of art in our care,” said Paolo Dionisi Vici, Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Scientific Research at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “This new technology offers a real-time, detailed picture of the environment, and we are now working on an upgrade that will also monitor the actual reactions of the works of art to the environment. These developments have the potential for us to create ‘sensing environments’ for works of art that will provide constant feedback, enabling conservators, curators, and facilities experts to fine-tune their approaches to establishing and adapting as necessary the exhibition and storage conditions.”

Works of art are very sensitive to fluctuations in temperature, relative humidity, and other environmental conditions. To preserve them for posterity, the climate in the galleries is tightly controlled and sealed cases are used for the most delicate objects.

Working with experts at the Metropolitan Museum to address the complex environment associated with art conservation, scientists from IBM Research are implementing the comprehensive solution called Low-Power Mote technology. This involves time-stamped data collection through a wireless sensor network, data storage with real-time visualization, modeling, and analysis. This results in an ultra-low-power physical analytics technique that, combined with cloud computing capabilities, allows micro-environment sensing and more precise and accurate modeling.

In the initial phase, IBM has deployed 100 sensors in strategic locations in several adjacent rooms of the Museum, allowing for high-definition monitoring of the environment that captures the subtle dynamics of the space. Sensors measure temperature, humidity, air flow, contamination levels, door positions, light levels, and more. All of the data is fed into a software application where it is modeled to provide detailed real-time 3D temperature, humidity, and dew-point distributions. A distinct feature of this technology lies in its unique analytical capabilities, which leverage several physics-based models for optimum operation, and controls and make it possible to generate and visualize hydrodynamic flows in real time.

With this unique analytics technology, the Metropolitan Museum’s scientists and conservators will be able to probe localized variations in climate developing detailed microclimate maps of the galleries at The Cloisters. The measurements will also enable the Museum’s scientists to correlate the reaction of art objects to environmental changes in order to develop object-oriented tests and predictive models for art preservation more accurately. This advance, which represents a shift from monitoring the environment to creating a sensing environment, will eventually be expanded to the Museum’s main building on Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street in Manhattan as well.

SOURCE IBM Corporation
RELATED LINKS
http://www.ibm.com

New Products: mophie Announces workbook for iPad 2

MOPHIE IPAD 2 WORKBOOK mophie Announces workbook for iPad 2. (PRNewsFoto/mophie)

Smart Case with Interchangeable Color Straps Delivers Protection and Style

SANTA ANA, Calif., May 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — mophie™ today announced the availability of its new workbook iPad 2 portfolio case designed to provide protection and an improved user experience for the iPad 2. The light-weight adjustable case doubles as a stand, allowing infinite angles for viewing, typing and browsing, and features a magnetic integration that wakes and puts the iPad 2 to sleep upon opening and closing.

The workbook is as versatile in fashion as it is in function, adding an element of style with interchangeable elastic straps in complementary color combinations. The folio cases are now available in black and white and come with four mix-and-match closure straps in colors including magenta, yellow, cyan, purple, grey and black. Cases in gray, chocolate and purple are planned for release in the coming weeks, giving iPad 2 owners lots of options for protecting their device while also reflecting their personal style.

“mophie is driven to create products that are super functional without sacrificing style and design,” said Ross Howe, senior director of product marketing. “Creating the new workbook was a great opportunity for us to have some fun with fashion elements and color combinations while also delivering the real protection, portability and enhanced function iPad 2 users want.”

Black and white workbook folios with interchangeable straps are available now for $49.95 at mophie.com. Key features and benefits of the workbook include:

  • Infinite Viewing—The design and flexibility allows the case to act as a stand for the iPad 2, delivering an infinite number of viewing and on-screen typing angles to enhance functionality and increase productivity
  • Magnetic Closure – Wake your iPad 2 by opening the case; put it to sleep by closing
  • Multiple Color Combinations—Cases in black and white now available with gray, chocolate and purple coming soon
  • Mix-and-Match Straps – Interchangeable elastic straps provide a secure closure that caters to everyday style changes. Black cases ship with cyan, magenta, yellow and black straps, and white cases pair with cyan, magenta, grey and purple.
  • Tough Exterior, Plush Interior—The durable animal friendly exterior is easy to clean, yet fully protects the device from damages. The soft interior fabric ensures the iPad 2 is cradled snugly inside
  • Pass-Through Design—Enables full access to all ports and controls allowing users to simultaneously charge and sync the device without having to remove it from the workbook

For additional information regarding the mophie suite of products, please visit www.mophie.com.

SOURCE mophie

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