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Automotive key fobs are a staple of the auto industry but have remained largely unchanged for an extensive period of time. The keyfob performs it’s basic functions through RF technology to let you communicate with your car remotely. Luxury car maker Audi is looking to do away with this technology to help add to the premium classification of its vehicle line up.

Audi demoed a wearable that completely replaces a standard key fob and adds additional functionality. Adario Strange of Mashable reported that the smartwatch is looking to become Audi’s remote starter replacement.

The new smartwatch starter was tied to Audi’s A7 sedan, the same vehicle that drove itself to CES without any human intervention. Surprisingly the smartwatch showcased was not powered by Android, but instead a re-iteration of WebOS. This operating system is being pushed by LG on its smart tv and future wearables as it bought the open source operating system.  The smartwatch also has a sort of fail-safe to allow you to unlock your car even if the watch is dead. The watch features NFC as a way to unlock which a conventional remote is unable to do when not charged.

Details on availability or a time line were also scarce leaving us to wonder when we can interact with our car while glancing at our watch.

 

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Big news came out this week from 9to5Mac regarding the Apple Watch, courtesy of the iOS 8.2 beta. News began with the finding of an Apple Watch companion app which 9to5Mac was able to get their hands and provide a complete breakdown of. The app simply name “Companion” outs several key features of the Apple Watch.

Customization: Being able to customize a device is a pillar of user interaction. The Apple Watch with its now famous circular grid style home screen will allow users to re-arrange icons to their liking. On a more personal note users can create a virtual monogram of 1-4 letters allowing them to imbed their initials or the like on the clock face.

Functions: Users will be able to enable a small circular red dot on the watch face as an indicator of a new notification. This can be likened to an LED light on some smartphones. For the more business minded amongst us, Apple Watch will allow you to receive a stock quote directly on the watch through a specific watch face.

Messaging: The Apple watch will not feature a keyboard function, however responding to messages is still completely possible without interacting with your iPhone. The Apple Watch has the ability to respond to text messaging via voice commands. A user will be able to send actual voice messages or transcribe your voice into text. If you are responding to an iMessage the ability to enable or disable read receipts is also available. Finally if you are not a fan of constant notifications on your Apple Watch you will be able to disable text message notifications on the watch. Furthermore you can  set it to only receive notifications from certain contacts, allowing you to ignore overzealous friends or family members.

Health and Fitness: The Apple Watch companion app features the now standard gamut of health and fitness options. Heart rate tracking is built in, allowing you to measure your heart rate at a glance, this can be disabled as well. Calorie counting and pedometer functions are built in as well.

Passcode: Security on the Apple Watch will be similar to that of your iPhone. You can set a numerical passcode to unlock the watch independently from your iPhone. If you unlock your iPhone your Apple Watch will also unlock automatically allowing for easy device continuity.

Other: With the companion app it was outed that the Apple Watch will indeed have onboard storage. This storage will be accessible to users to use as they please. Lastly you will be able to access a sort of mini-settings app on the Watch showing you how much storage you have left, what you have stored and other basic information like serial number.

It is only a matter of time till Apple enthusiasts can get hands through an Apple Watch, and Plastic Mobile cannot wait!

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French-Italian outerwear brand, Moncler, recently added a unique flair to its marketing efforts with the release of a Facebook app, Snow Experience, to interact with its consumers. The app requires users to take a picture of themselves with a “snowy” filter depicting winter like conditions.

Plastic’s Lead Digital Strategist, Parisa Durrani, works with some of Canada’s top brands to develop and execute their digital strategies, and sat down with Luxury Daily to talk about Moncler’s recent social media initiative. “The app is merely a campaign to garner awareness about [Moncler] products and associate them with cold weather,” she said.

Parisa also commented on the longevity of the app saying “The app is most likely to have a short life cycle, considering it is on Facebook and could lose its appeal after one picture is taken, The likelihood of repeat usage is minimum.”

She added that the brand could have done a better job by recommending some of their products in its Snow Tracker section.

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Deloitte ushered in the new year via its TMT Predictions 2015 event, used to showcase its biggest technology, media and television predictions. Plastic Mobile was there to see what Deloitte had to say about 2015. The list of predictions was informative and detailed with census data as recent as last week to back up the bold predictions they were making. Lets look at a few quickly:

Mobile Pay: In 2015 Deloitte predicts that the mobile pay landscape will finally catch fire and go mainstream. It is expected that there will be a 1,000% increase in the number of consumers using a phone to pay at least once a month. This prediction was specifically based on NFC payments, not barcode scanning.

Media Content: Media content has evolved over the years and purchasing habits have evolved with it. Millennials in 2015 are expected to spend $750 annually on media content, this could represent up to 15% of their income and outweighs the percentage older generations will be spending.

Smartphone: Smartphones will still remain strong in the forthcoming year with an expected 1.35 billion sold globally. The smartphone category is growing by 12% year over year. You would be mistaken to attribute this to new consumers, 1 billion of the devices sold will represent upgrades of older smartphones with only 350 million attributed to new customers.

Wearables: These devices have been a hot topic and media buzzword for several months now. Deloitte predicts that in 2015 these devices will become a staple of enterprise solutions, not consumers, as previously predicted. These devices will drive innovation through cyber-fying workforces.

3D-Printing: Seen as a mix between niche and mass market product, 3D printing in 2015 will find its home within enterprise. Again Deloitte has predicted that this technology will move back to an enterprise solution while consumer markets dwindle. The ability to rapidly prototype and create part replicas with precision while maintaining costs will prove an invaluable solution.

The conference provided by Deloitte this morning will now visit several other cities across the world to share its predictions. Plastic Mobile was able to get a head start on what are expected to turn out as some of the biggest tech trends as predicted by Deloitte.

Rounding up CES 2015

By on January 09, 2015

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It is well known that what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas. That is, of course, unless you’ve been trapped under a rock because when it came to CES 2015, nothing stayed a secret.

The myriad of news from CES didn’t trickle out slowly but hit us like a tidal wave. CES 2015 covered everything in tech, and nothing was left behind. Throughout the show floor we saw products ranging from smart home to drones, wearables and beyond. Let’s quickly recap some of the biggest products and trends that hit the floor this year:

Smart Home: The idea that all the autonomous appliances in your home should be able to communicate freely and be controlled remotely was indisputable this year. The wine cooler talked to the washing machine, the fridge and stove become best friends and in control of them all was a mobile device of your choice. Every major company at CES demonstrated some sort of smart home device from the simplistic such as a wifi security system to a pot plant that can water itself via your phone. Qualcomm showcased a complete smart home in the form of a hotel room where attendees could play with the devices using qualcomm tech. Smart Home was undoubtedly one of the most important themes at CES this year.

Auto: As mobile began to gain dominance over the last few years, automakers have started to capitalize on the technology within their vehicles to create a “wow” factor beyond car design or performance. Several companies were on hand this year showcasing concept or new model cars. Audi and BMW showcased self driving cars that can operate with or without a driver.

BMW, in particular, setup a literal crash course and dared conference goers to attempt to crash the vehicle. As expected (and thankfully), nobody succeeded.

Audi integrated wearables with its latest sedans incorporating all the features of a remote starter into a WebOS powered smartwatch. Over the next couple year we can expect to see cars controlled completely by mobile and key fobs that are touch based with full LED displays.

Wearables: Before we dive into this one, we will just say they were everywhere. It is as if nobody dared to show up at the conference without one for fear of being left behind when this market explodes. Wearable tech at the conference went above and beyond the synonymous smartwatch. We were able to see rings, belts, jewellery and even shoe in-soles that had mobile connectivity each with their own distinctive features. Wearable technology has moved far beyond a simple pedometer or the ability to read your text messages, the products showcased at CES went far beyond what we thought wearables could do.

CES 2015 has been a fun time for everyone at Plastic Mobile. The conference provided us with content to discuss and surprise other co-workers with. As CES 2015 draws to a close we look forward to seeing all the mobile tech and developments from the conference become a consumer reality this year.

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It would be expected that as CES enters its final day the excitement and entertainment would begin to wind down, however on the penultimate day of the conference there is still no sign of companies, journalists or innovators slowing down. Las Vegas is still buzzing with self-driving cars, fitness wearables and of course start-ups looking to make a splash.

Everyone loves pets; whether you are a cat or dog person, it’s hard to resist a cute ball of fluffyness running around without paying attention to it. Pet owners hate to be away from their pets and as far as we can tell, pets hate being away from their owners. Enter the “Petcube”, designed to solve all your pet detachment issues and keep you two closer together than ever before.

The “Petcube” is a combination of technologies that will embed your pet into your daily life, even when you are not at home. The device is a camera that features wifi connectivity and compatibility across mobile devices. It has built in lasers so you can do that thing your pet loves so much. The “Petcube” features several intuitive features that allows you to interact with your pet anywhere. Using the mobile app you can watch your pet via the camera built in and speak voice commands to it. The laser is touch controlled and as you drag your finger across the app a laser will replicate the movement in front of your pet keep in entertained while you are taking a lunch break. The device is a sleek 4-inch cube that features a 720p camera and two way audio.

“Petcube” will be available in February for $199.

Keeping us closer together than ever with our furry loved ones has deemed the “Petcube” our CES 2015 Pick of the Day! Look out for our CES 2015 wrap up tomorrow!

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The second day at CES was nothing short of revolutionary with product announcements and demonstrations coming from startups all the way to massive industry players. Smart home products were buzzing throughout the conference combined with showcases of wearables, laptops and curved displays.

Since the introduction of cables, their functionality has been essential but their clutter and hassle were always a negative side effect. Energous’ “WattUp” is looking to bring mobile device charging to the forefront of the cable clutter issue. “WattUp” a device agnostic wireless charging system that is not only contactless, but can also charge devices from up to 15-feet away!

Sounds too good to be true right? Well to demonstrate “WattUp” turned a Las Vegas hotel room into a wireless charging cradle. The device works similar to an internet router, you place it in one section of your room and it takes care of charging your devices.

Lets break down the tech specs of how it actually works. “WattUp” features connectivity via LE Bluetooth and RF. The device acts a router within your room, it identifies devices through Bluetooth and then sends out directed RF signals on the same bands as wifi which your device converts into DC power. This device is all about connectivity! It can even create a closed or public network for charging and can prioritize devices based on low battery.

“WattUp” should be available by 2016 with a host of accessories for devices that don’t already include the charging tech. Read more about the “WattUp” on their website http://www.energous.com/overview/

Leading the wireless charging revolution while leaving your cables in the dust makes Energous’ “WattUp” our favorite product of CES Day 2 2015! Check back tomorrow for another pick as CES 2015 reluctantly begins to wrap up.

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CES 2015 is upon us from Las Vegas with countless tech inventions and innovations to captivate us all week!

Wearables, wearables, wearables! The idea of turning everything you wear into a smart device has caught on with many companies trying to distinguish themselves through innovation in both design and technology. Wearables have expanded beyond just smartwatches, however.  Bragi has introduced “The Dash” at CES 2015, a wireless ear-bud style headphone that has all the features of a smartwatch and more.

Let’s start with a few tech specs of “The Dash”, it is a pair of earbuds that connect simultaneously to your phone and each other wirelessly. These earbuds feature touch control, 4GB of onboard storage and a battery life rated for 3.5-hours. The Dash will appeal to the fitness crowd with its inclusion of an accelerometer, heart rate monitor and even a oxygen saturation sensor. Further niche features include the option to hear ambient noise, personal trainer feedback and in the future real time language translation. The Dash is able to do everything from basics like skip a track to sending advanced fitness data back to a smartphone of your choice whether it be Android or iOS.

“The Dash” is already available to early backers of a KickStarter campaign. General availability is scheduled for Spring 2015 with a price tag of $300.

Far beyond your traditional earbuds and a new take on wearables Bragi’s “The Dash” is our favorite product of CES Day 1 2015. Rest assured Plastic Mobile will bring you a Tech Pick of the day at CES 2015 for the rest of the week!

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Italian outerwear label, Moncler, recently leaped into the mobile space with the launch of its first mcommerce mobile app which allows users to both shop and consume content. Moncler aims to provide its audience with a more convenient and contained shopping experience through its app.

Plastic’s VP of marketing and business development, Salome Sallehy, addressed Moncler’s mobile initiative with Luxury Daily saying “I think that this is just a first step for Moncler on mobile, some brands do it the other way around in that they first launch with branded content on mobile and then proceed to bring a more complete brand experience by including commerce in later versions.” However, “Moncler has brought their core offering first and the content will likely follow. Neither approach is really the best.”

When asked about the need for a mobile app Salome said “A mobile app allows for use of the native functions of a mobile device such as location, push, time and date as well as the device security features, allowing Moncler to provide a more contextual customer experience for the user.

“For example, when a customer is detected to be in proximity to a Moncler store or vendor a personalized message can be pushed to the customer.”

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Recently our President and COO Melody Adhami sat down with Luxury Daily to discuss the mobile gaming marketing efforts of the British department store Selfridges. The department chain is building awareness for its in-store helpers through gaming efforts, the game is called “Elfridge and the Enchanted Forest” which is available on desktop or as an app on Apple devices. The premise of the game is the consumer plays as one of the retailer’s in-store helpers to save Christmas and performs similar tasks to that of a sales associate, suggesting thoughtful gift ideas for stumped customers.

“Gift shopping adds a layer of complexity because the best person to facilitate the decision is usually also the recipient of the gift. Offering a service that mobile users can turn to make those difficult gift decisions is a utility that is likely to be appreciated by the users and allows them to fulfil the social validation of the purchase.” Melody shared. “Mobile users are already in the habit of turning to their smartphones in the shopping experience.” “They take and share photos, check out product reviews, and do price comparisons to help make buying decisions.

Between October 23rd – December 24th, Selfridges sales associates were referred to as Elfridges for a festive twist. For instantaneous help, customers will be able to  interact with the Elfridges via Twitter for quick gift recommendations; they could tweet the department store between 10am – 8pm using the hashtag #AskAnElfridge and include the chain’s Twitter handle @Selfridges with details about who the gift is for and their ideal price point.

“Over the years we’ve seen a steady surge of mobile game activity over the holidays when people are spending time with family,” Melody added. “Games and entertainment sharing has become a popular social pastime at the dinner parties and the holidays lend themselves well to the occasion.

“This is a time when mobile users are seeking new gaming experiences, and tying it to a customer service offering is very timely because the service stays top of mind for customers as they’re being entertained,” she said. “Both the game and the Elfridges service are in high demand at this time and will likely yield results as pairing utility and gaming is a winning combination in mobile.”