Some businesses have changed the way we live and Illy Coffee is one of them. CEO, Illy Coffee, Andrea Illy comes from a illustrious family with coffee running in his veins. His grandfather, Francesco Illy was the first person to invent the espresso machine and at one time, the company held 17 patents. For more than 70 years, Illy Coffee has been at the forefront of innovation.
And then there is CEO, On Demand Books, Dane Neller who has made it possible to print, trim and bind paperback books at a penny a page, with the help of his espresso book machine. This has made it possible for him to print only a single copy of any book. He has plans to use the vast reservoir of written content available, that can be printed anywhere in the world.
Both these men have made consumers their focal point and made sure that their respective businesses keep that in mind. Neller says, "In our case, the consumer wants the product cheaply and immediately. And that's what we are delivering with our book machine. You can get any book now, at any time at a fraction of the time. So, in the end, the consumer is king and that determines what your technology is going to do."
Window-shopping at Ralph Lauren
Just how much more fun shopping can be made is proved by Ralph Lauren. The ace designer's 25,000 sqft Manhattan store has put up an innovative touchscreen on its store window. So, as people walk by, the touchscreen grabs their attention and they can touch and call up merchandise. Right now, they have only their range of tennis clothing up but this is going to expand to their casual wear as well.
The screen is a transparent sheet right on their huge store window and people can browse as well as buy the clothes standing right there, without even having to step into the store at all! With a credit card swipe machine also fixed onto the window just beside the touchscreen, this use of technology has given window shopping a whole new twist!
Senior Vice President at Ralph Lauren, David Lauren is impressed with the way people have taken to this concept, that he plans to extend to all the other stores.
Schank feels the same way about Illy developing better and better espresso machines, so, that people can enjoy the same great cup of coffee at home, as they would do in Italy! And this is a espresso fan expressing his desire. So, this is the kind of consumer feedback that makes technology get user-friendly, so that eventually, everybody has access to it and can learn how to use it.
Similarly, there are other inventions in the works that could prove revolutionary, and one of them is RFIDs, which is chip that carries information about each and every product it can be embedded into. It has no battery or keyboard. When it hears a radio signal, it lights up and sends out a serial number. So, if accepted by everyone, it could do away with barcodes and barcode scanners for good. It will become the easiest way for packages to say 'who' they are and 'where' they are! Ultimately, this could lead to change in supply chain, supermarkets and payroll processes.
This is a way of using technology to enhance our own efficiency. But Schank also sees this as something that will build communities and it is something that will help with education. He feels that a virtual world like Second Life, that was created by the CEO, Linden Lab, Philip Rosedale has the potential to teach students about entrepreneurship while they are still studying in school. It can help a law student practice law before he/she even hits the street, looking for their first job.
So, in the sense of defining what innovation truly means, then creating a memorable experience as well as changing the way the world interacts, this invention - a virtual world - is truly going to be the way forward for the way people and technology interact.
Written for moneycontrol.com
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