Monthly Archives: July 2014

Futuristic Fashionware

By: Jenifer Wetterau

Wearable technology is all the rage, but the craze goes beyond connected eyewear such as Google Glass and smart watches like Apple’s upcoming iWatch. Our smartphones have become fashion accessories in their own right, as we dress them up to reflect our personality just like we dress up our outfits with jewelry. Now we have the merger of fashion and function.

Wearables are no longer just plastic fitness trackers; they have evolved into more fashion forward accessories that people will enjoy being seen wearing outside of the gym. In fact, designers are creating more female-targeted devices that look like real jewelry and offer features that can do everything from alerting you to important calls, measuring sun exposure, purifying the air, even sending a security alert if you feel you may be in danger.

On the forefront of this trend is Cuff, a line of accessories that each come with a hidden wireless device that connects directly to your smartphone. Products include bracelets, necklaces and a key chain, all accompanied by the CuffLinc device. Each piece of Cuff jewelry has a button you can press in case of emergency. Once pressed, a group of pre-configured contacts are alerted that you need help. The Cuff app could be used for seamless security such as alerting police during an assault or those with health problems alerting family members when in need, like the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” Life Alert.

But what about your fingers? Shouldn’t they get in on this futuristic fashionwear? That’s where Ringly, a connected smart ring comes in. You set your preferences on the accompanying iPhone or Android app and it alerts you via customized notifications with a vibration and flashing light whenever you receive a text, call, or email from specific people. So even if you have your hands full carrying your purse, gym bag and Starbucks for the office you will know that your car’s here, your meeting is in ten minutes, your boyfriend texted, without having to dig around for your phone.

Emergencies and messages aren’t the only uses smart jewelry is employing. Netamo’s JUNE is a connected smart bracelet that measures your sun exposure throughout the day. Cut to resemble a diamond, the facets of JUNE play with the sun’s rays. That data is communicated to your smartphone and, taking into account the current UV levels, JUNE determines the best SPF cream for your skin. It also reminds you in real-time when it’s time to put on your hat and sunglasses or move into the shade. A stylish way to protect yourself from sunburn and premature aging!

A bit less fancy, but still really cool is Fin, a connected thumb ring that converts your whole palm into a gesture interface. It has sensors that recognize each segment of your fingers plus Bluetooth to link to other devices like your smartphone, TV or any wearable device. Basically, you assign different functions to each finger segment and you can perform a function just by touching the relevant segment with your thumb. A simple touch can send an emergency alert, silence your phone, move to the next track on your playlist and pick up a call – all without taking out your phone! Your fingers can be your numeric keypad. You can switch on or off or change the channel on your TV just using your palm, or operate home automation devices. The possibilities for visually impaired people are amazing. Simple taps can dial a number, interact with social media, take notes or control their wheelchair.

Wearable technology has already seen success in the sports and fitness industry. It will be interesting to see if the trend catches on in the fashion industry and translates into other ventures. Are you currently, or do you think you would wear smart jewelry?

As always we welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Luis Suárez Scandal

By: Gina Mason

So far, the World Cup has not disappointed fans. With unbelievable goals, exhilarating overtime matches and a sea of passionate and patriotic fans, the World Cup has truly lived up to the four year hype (and it’s not over yet!). However, there has been one questionable incident that left fans shaking their heads in disbelief and asking each other, “Did that really just happen?”

The incident that I am referring to happened last week when Uruguay’s star forward Luis Suárez took a bite out of his opponent…literally! Near the 80th minute of play in the Uruguay vs. Italy game, Suárez and Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini collided near the penalty area and fell to the ground. Chiellini began frantically yelling and pulling down his shirt to reveal marks on his shoulder while Suárez grabbed his teeth in pain. Although at first it seemed be accidental, the deep bite marks on Cheillini’s shoulder said otherwise. Following the game, Suárez claimed that he had “fallen” into Chiellini, but anyone watching the game unfold could clearly see the bite marks and odd actions by Suárez on the instant reply. Although no immediate actions were taken by the referees during the game, Suárez was punished by FIFA a few days later. He was handed a suspension for nine (international) Uruguay matches, four months from all football (overall) and was fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($112,000).

In an attempt to repair his image, Suárez issued a public apology on his Facebook and Twitter account:

“After several days of being home with my family, I have had the opportunity to regain my calm and reflect about the reality of what occurred during the Italy-Uruguay match on 24 June 2014.

Independent from the fallout and the contradicting declarations that have surfaced during these past days, all of which have been without the intention of interfering with the good performance of my national team, the truth is that my colleague Giorgio Chiellini suffered the physical result of a bite in the collision he suffered with me. For this:
• I deeply regret what occurred
• I apologize to Giorgio Chiellini and the entire football family
• I vow to the public that there will never again be another incident like this.”

This is a pretty standard PR apology and it seems to contradict his previous statement of “falling into Chiellini.” Also, I found his apology to be slightly disingenuous especially considering that in a previous incident he posted a video apologizing where he appeared to be very remorseful.

The most interesting thing to be about this whole situation is that given his previous history of unsportsmanlike conduct, it is surprising he has been able to compete at all. After all, he has a pretty long rap sheet of indiscretions including several other incidents where he bit an opponent. (You don’t get the nickname “The Cannibal” for nothing). To give you some background information, his first biting incident occurred in 2010 in a Dutch league where he bit Otman Bakkal on the collarbone and was subsequently suspended for eight matches. The second incident occurred just last year when he bit Chelsea defender, Branislav Ivanovic in the arm and was suspended for 10 Barclays Premier League games. In addition to biting his opponents, Suárez has a history of showing a lack of sportsmanship by making racist remarks, punching, kicking and/or pulling his opponent’s hair, giving opposing fans “the finger” as well as faking an injury.

It is sad to see such a talented individual behave in such a poor manner during sporting events (especially those on an international stage). Although, unsportsmanlike conduct happens in every sport, it is hard to believe that more serious sanctions have not been placed on him for his actions. I am really interested to see how things will unfold for Suárez and I only hope this will be the end to all of his shameful actions on the field.

You be the judge. What do you think of this situation and his apology? Do you think his apology was sufficient or do you think he should have said more? Do you think FIFA’s sanctions were justified or too harsh? How do you think this is going to affect his marketability moving forward?

Barbie: From Blonde Bombshell to the Boss

By: Gina Mason

With sales declining, Barbie may no longer be America’s sweetheart, but she sure is getting a lot of press lately. For the second time this year, the creators of the blonde beauty have made some bold moves to keep people talking about her. In an attempt to modernize the 55-year-old doll, Mattel has pulled out all of the stops to keep her relevant in our world dominated by technology and electronic toys.

So what did they do? Last week, Mattel released its newest Barbie doll and announced her 2014 career of the year. However, this new Barbie is much more boss lady than blonde bombshell. This Barbie in particular is not only blonde and beautiful, but she is a business owner. Dressed in her signature pink and equipped with start-up essentials like a tablet, smartphone and briefcase, Entrepreneur Barbie is ready for business.

In addition to her new look and personal mantra of “If [you] they can dream it, [you] they can be it,” this Entrepreneur Barbie was inspired by some of the most powerful female CEOs in the world. According to a Mashable article, “Mattel partnered with a power team of real female leaders — otherwise known as Barbie’s “chief inspiration officers,” or CIOs — who have founded their own businesses, including Girls Who Code, Rent the Runway and One Kings Lane, among others.” These CIOs not only assisted with the concept of Entrepreneur Barbie, but they also shared some of their best business tips with Barbie’s budding business owners.

On top of Barbie’s new look, job and business background, Mattel took its campaign one step farther and created a digital strategy around the doll. After all, what startup business in 2014 doesn’t have a digital strategy? For the younger Barbie fans, Barbie.com offers explanations of what an Entrepreneur is and how they can become one along with career-themed games and activities. For the older, social media using Barbie fans, Entrepreneur Barbie and her CIOs hosted a Pink Power Lunch last week that featured a Twitter chat with the hashtag #BarbieChat. Mattel also created a LinkedIn page for Entrepreneur Barbie that lists her job as ““Dream Incubator” where she “act[s] as a consultant, helping girls around the world play out their imagination, try on different careers, and explore the world around them.”

So far, there has been mixed opinions on Entrepreneur Barbie. Some love the concept and think that Entrepreneur Barbie will inspire young girls to become businesses owners. Others feel that slapping some technology and a CEO title on a doll is a poor representation of female business owners. Some also feel that Entrepreneur Barbie is a strategic move by Mattel to make up for the Sports Illustrated fiasco that occurred a few months ago.

For those of you who didn’t hear about the Barbie controversy, Mattel partnered with Sports Illustrated and the doll was featured in the 50th Anniversary edition of the infamous Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Some of you may be thinking, “Barbie in Sports Illustrated?” The answer is YES. Sports Illustrated featured Barbie as “the doll that started it all” and she had an #unapologetic attitude. This was a bold move for the toy brand and it was not well received by the public. Mothers and feminist everywhere were furious over the bathing suit babe Barbie in the sports magazine and felt that it was furthering the unrealistic expectations of beauty and the objectification of women.

Whatever the reason for Entrepreneur Barbie’s creation, I think anything that inspires young girls to go after their dream is something positive. That message is essential young girls and it should be reiterated more frequently whether it comes from a doll, a pop star or their parents.

What did you think of Entrepreneur Barbie? Did you think she was a hit or a miss? Do you think Mattel is doing a good job at keeping Barbie relevant or do you think the doll is nearing the end of her time?

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.