TECH TRENDS TO DIE FOR

From the kitchen to the fitting room, today’s [retail bytes] takes a look at the coolest technology advancements of the moment.

HoloLens reaches your ‘inner designer’: If redoing your kitchen doesn’t sound like a bundle of laughs – particularly if the male of the species needs to be involved – fear not: help is at hand. Seattle-based home improvement company Lowe is bringing much needed relief to the design process, by inviting couples to use Microsoft HoloLens to design new spaces together. Customers can pull their pinned fabric samples and appliances from their Pinterest boards into the HoloLens and be shown the ‘nearest match’ from the Lowe inventory. Husbands will queue up to redesign your kitchen, and get a free trial on HoloLens, as it is still priced at a stratospheric $3000. Still, a weekend in Seattle anyone?

Give them a camera and they will come: For live action video enthusiasts, it’s time to swap the geeky-looking GoPro for a rainbow-coloured new camera-cum-glasses released by Snapchat. “Spectacles” are the first hardware attempt from the teen social network, and with a 115% degree-viewing field the product will suit millennials’ love for live action photography.
With a touch of a throwback to Google Glass, the release shows that Snap Inc. – the parent company – is already thinking about Pokémon GO-like Augmented Reality functionalities.

We guess you’ll be able to hunt for virtual monsters while skiing or snowboarding, with the no-hands approach replacing having to fiddle with your slippery phone while out and about. For now, you can send short Snaps via Bluetooth connection or wait for a wi-fi connection to be available to download at higher resolution. Battery life is much better than Google Glass, up to one day, so we give it a thumbs up despite the Spectacles coming with a rather steep price of $130. One to try.

Time for videos to smarten up: Videos are dumb, right? On videos, brands have to show all of us exactly the same product, not personalised to what we actually need to see. Surprise surprise, video conversions are low even with shoppable content. However, help is at hand, as US-based start-up Eyeview can take your brand video assets and serve them to the right person in the right place with a photo of a map to the nearest store and a time-based voucher relevant to the local weather and news. No more digging around sites for the usually well-hidden Store Locator. Beat that Amazon!

No cheating allowed, Topshop! All brands cheat. Well, not all, but size 12 in Topshop or New Look is not size 12 in Banana Republic or Evans. Sizing is used to flatter, to make the customer feel good – usually at the cost of taking the truth at least one size down. To bring true size back, TrueFit is offering Fit Genome, based on baseline anonymised customers’ physical dimensions data from multiple brands that can show on a scale if the brand sizing runs small or large. The truth may not be flattering, but a more realistic fit is necessary to cut down returns. Are we ready for a dollop of truth in the virtual fitting room?

Style meets tech at Kate Spade: Fans of Kate Spade will be pleased that at last she is joining the wearable trend, with a licencing deal with Fossil. New smart watches are launching in the UK first, with two fitness trackers and two hybrid smartwatches to land at the end of September. The cool cat theme will go down well in our country of cat lovers, while Kate has focused on very feminine designs and feel. The inevitable rose gold is there and, although the specification of the product is vague, it’ll gain traction with the fit-but-stylish girls brigade.