5 09, 2013

Frank Mini-Me Piller: Get Yourself 3D-Printed, Keep Your Young Self Forever

By | 2018-06-14T06:33:55+00:00 September 5th, 2013|3D Printing, Cases-Consumer, Customization Trends, Design, Fabbing, Technologies & Enablers, Virtual Models|

Doob 3d printing
has developed far beyond a trend by now. Potential applications are manifold, ranging from medical gear to entire houses. And now you can even have a detailed replica of yourself printed in a variety of sizes, a kind of 3D printed Mini-Me, to give it away to your friends or just place on your shelve to keep a memory of your young, energetic self for the decades to come.

In Germany, there are several companies offering this service. I used Doob, or Deep End Productions, located in Duesseldorf, Germany. Founded by Vladimir Puhalac and Torsten Bernasco Lisboa, the companys offers 3D photographs to everyone. While standard sizes go from 15 to 30 coms, you can also get a lifesize figure (for 15K Euro onwards, the 30cm version go for about 300 Euros).

All you have to do is to show up in their studio and be photographed from all sides, simultaniously, by a 50 cameras (this process is called Photogrammetry"). These pictures than are transferred into a 3D model, which then is hand-modelled into the final 3D file. This file then is placed on a standard 3D systems prototyoing machine that can print in full color.

The founders are coming from the medical field and have a strong background in 3d modelling. Their first company is providing replicas of ears, noses, and breasts to unfortunate patients who lost these bodyparts. With this background, they discovered the stereo litography, and developed a quite efficient procedure to develop your "doppelgänger". After the photograph, a 3D model is created that then is manually prepared for the final print. While the later procedure takes about 2 hours, I believe it can be brought down.

They now opened a first store in Duesseldorf, but plan to enter the US and Japanese market, too, within the next months.

The result is really stunning, and while I belive that in general people like to see themselves, it really is a great feeling to have yourself as a mini-figure. But also everyone else found this really cool.

This is why I believe that this kind of 3D printing service may become the killer application that makes 3D printing a mainstream business application:

  • Established market. Our parents all used to go once every few years to a professional photographer for a family picture. While this market has almost disappeared, this 3D printing service may foster its revival.
  • Fast. The print is based on a photograph, not a 3D scan. This means you can also have a child, dog, or something similar quickly moving on your arm.
  • The quality is really stunning. You can see the pattern of your t-shirt or even your tatoo perfectly (I almost feel sorry that I did not have a tatoo to be printed on my figure).
  • Prices will go down rapidely. While the current price of 200-300 Euros is quite high, there is plenty of room for adjustments (I estimate that material costs are below 10 Euro).
  • There are many more options for business model innovation: You and your favorite soccer star in one print; you and your baby belly (very popular with German moms to be); the partners of a law firm greeting their clients on the reception desk, you holding a poster and a bunch of flowers proposing to your wife to be, …
  • Local production: While delivery in the moment takes a couple a weeks and is done in a central facility, production can be brought down to a couple of hours, opening an entire new market in malls and amusement parks.

So when you have the chance and like to experience a reall fun application of 3D printing, then get your doob, too.

Update: Here are some other posts about this technology and the picture taking:

Captured Dimensions and Twinkind (similar services)

– Report about COKE Israel advertising campaign featuring Mini-figures


5 11, 2012

Lumographics: 3D Configurators in Mass Customization [Interview]

By | 2018-06-14T06:49:54+00:00 November 5th, 2012|Design, Interview, Personalization, Technologies & Enablers, Virtual Models|

LumologoSeeing is believing. This old yet certainly often correct phrase describes one of the phenomena of human psychology: No matter how great your product is, no matter how well you describe it in text, one subpar image can ruin the entire impression and make your would-be customer decide against the purchase.

This is especially true when it comes to products for which buying decision is mainly based on aesthetics. Customers usually (more or less) instantly recognize what they like but are often bad at describing it with words – or transforming a product description into a mental picture of the product.

Mass customized products add to this by putting the "burden" of design into the customers hands, enabling him to decide which combination of design factors looks best – and, forcing him to do so.

 3D visualizations as part of a configurator is one option companies have to make life a bit easier for their clients and increase chances to sell a product. Well visulized products give an instant idea of what one will gain for his money and how it will change with different options selected. As with most configurator-related things, though: If it is being done the right way.

Since 3D modeling and the required software coding is certainly not easy, seeking professional help is usually a good idea. One such company to assist mass customization ventures in presenting their products in the right light is LumoGraphics.

Being in the business of professional-grade 3D configuration systems since 1998, the German company works for industry mayors such as Mercedes-Benz, helping them to visualize their line of buses in full 3D.

Marc HerlingMarc Herling, CEO of LumoGraphics and speaker at the MC2012 conference in June, was kind enough to answer some of our questions about 3D modeling as a service, as a business model, as an enabler and how mass customization companies can profit from it.

FTP: Marc, your company Lumo Graphics offers
completely individualized 3D products visualization, which is a good example
for service customization. What kinds of services and products do you
offer and how far can they be individualized to each client of yours?

MH: Lumo
Graphics offers solutions for 3D visualization and configuration based on our
standard platform LumoLogic. With LumoLogic users can combine their complex
product structure and variants with the configuration logic and a real-time 3D visualization.
Besides the services for project management and support Lumo Graphics also
offers additional tools like LumoLogic DataPreparator for process integration
and LumoVis as a 3D visualization engine.

FTP: Can you tell a bit about what you have in store
for companies?

MH: Lumo
Graphics works for a lot of customers especially in the complex B2B area. They
all like the integrated and complete solution of Lumo Graphics with 3D
visualization, configuration management and data integration. With Lumo
Graphics companies can avoid failures in the implementation of a 3D
configurator, because of our one stop shopping approach.

FTP: In your presentation at the MC2012 you used the
term YGWYW (You Get What You Want), as an evolvement of the classical WYSIWYG
(What You see Is What You Get). Can you tell more about how 3D imagery changes
the product/buying experience for shoppers when using online configurators?

MH: It is
widely known that seeing is believing. We also quite often talk about that an
image is worth more than 1000 words. So if a customer decides for a complex and
often expensive product he needs a qualitative decision support that is given
by 3D visualization. Products are not only being sold by a rational decision
process but quite often by an emotional aspect, especially in aesthetical
design decisions. 3D visualization also helps customers to understand the
overall possibilities of a product and its variants. So at the end the customer
will get a compelling impression of its own product and forces a correct and a
comprehensible decision.

FTP: Getting a really professional 3D visualization
is most likely more expensive than having a photographer shooting my products.
For which companies do you think these additional costs are outweighing by the
added value of 3D imagination? In other words: For whom are the costs worth it?

MH: If a
company sells products with no or only limited variants than it may be cheaper
to hire a photograph. But in a case that your products have a lot of variants
then it is impossible for a photographer to cover all of them in a given
timeframe and budget. And you always need to wait until the product exists. With
software like that of Lumo Graphics you will be able to manage thousands of
variants and their graphical representation quite easily.

FTP: Do you think 3D product demonstration is
especially suited for MC companies because of the fact that consumers (=
non-professional designers) are integrated into the product design process?

MH: Absolutely.
You have millions of possibilities for a 3D visualization especially in e-commerce.
MC companies need to have a graphical representation of their products because
it makes the customers decision so much easier. Why? In Mass customization the
customers always have a fear of a wrong decision because the product does not
exist before he orders it. So he does not know if it will work (Functional failures)
and if it will look like he is expecting (Aesthetical failures). So the 3D
visualization  assists the customer in his
decision process.

FTP: Can you tell more about the (emotional)
importance of presenting the consumer a more realistic image of what he’s going
to buy?

MH: Think about
dating sites or Facebook. Why does every user of these sites choose an
excellent or a funny picture? The eye believes realistic pictures. And the
pictures create involvement. It’s the same with product visualization. I want
to buy the best looking and working product. If the visualization of a product is
nearly perfect the involvement goes up!

FTP: Do you have figures or specific customer
feedback on how implementing 3D visualizations improved sales or customer

MH: Franz Rapp,
Designer of Mercedes-Benz Buses told us: "We introduced the 3D interior
configurator in order to give our customers reliable support in making
decisions about our highly complex products. After well over 1000 successful
consultations, we have demonstrated that we're right on track with Lumo

customers told us that they reduced the failure rate and the cost of change by
more than 20%.

FTP: How does cooperating with you work in practice?

MH: As I said
before we are a solution company. So if a company identifies the need for 3D visualization
we advise them based on our expertise and technology. After the decision for an
implementation we need to find and prepare the product data (geometries,
dependencies, and so on). In that step we also generate the 3D models and
visualizations of all products parts. After that we install LumoLogic and build
the rules for the real-time visualization. If the customer uses a configuration
toolkit we integrate it. And of course we support the customer in all

FTP: Pretended I was a medium sized MC company
asking for assistance to set up a 3D configurator for my online store. Which
services/products would you recommend to me and how would the process evolve
from there?

MH: First of
all you need to ask what kind of value do you expect from using a 3D
configuration process. Will your product fit and do you have all the product
data? Just a simple example. Would mymuesli.com sell so much more by using a 3D

If you
think and believe that the 3D configurator will help you to get more revenue or
to cut costs or to increase the efficiency of your processes, than we will
advise the customer based on our solutions. And we also talk about the
investment in Hard- and Software. If all checkings  generate a positive ROI than we will offer
the customer the LumoLogic and LumoVis products.

FTP: How easy is it to maintain a 3D configurator in
my online store?

MH: The main
part in maintaining a 3D configurator is the administration of the product
logic. So do I need to stay flexible to change parts in the product database or
does it take long periods of time to get updated 3D models whenever I want to
change something?

LumoLogic we offer a very easy administration tool to combine product parts
with 3D images and configuration rules.

FTP: Can you talk about business figures at all, how
well-received are your services on the MC market?

MH: Depends on
your definition of the MC market. We have a strong position at B2B MC companies
that sell complex products. We don’t have such a strong position in the B2C
segment of the market. But with our strategy we grow approx. 40% per year in the
last years.

FTP: Do you have more traditional or mass
customization companies, and how is the trend there?

MH: We serve
nearly 100% traditional mass customization companies. By that we mean companies
that sell traditional products but with the mass customization approach. But quite
often they don’t name it Mass Customization.

FTP: Obviously most MC companies are still relying
on classical 2D images for their product presentation, while rendered 3D models
have been available since many years. Why, in your opinion, do they still
hesitate to change to the third dimension?

MH: 3D has
quite often not a good reputation because many people believe that it is
complicated and expensive. But with the enormous boost for the 3D technology in
the last years the use of 3D became very easy. And with the enormous boost in bandwidth
we believe that the usage of 3D models in marketing and sales is going to increase.

FTP: What do you think of mass customization in
general, will it be "just a trend" or become (one of) the major
retail models of the future?

MH: Mass
Customization is in the B2B Segment a huge part of the technical solution
concept to deliver technical and design variants, so it is not a trend it is

FTP: Having worked with MC companies before, which
advice do you want to give to them, especially in regards to the importance of
and proper setup of visual product presentation?

MH: Start small
with only one product or product line but work on the process. 3D visualizations
are only one part of the complete configuration process. The full configuration
of the product is represented in a configuration management tool. But also look
at a tool based administration for 3D visualization and use standard software.
Also have in mind that you want to sell across more than one channel. Use 3D
models for configuration and real-time visualization but CGI (computer
generated images) for printed offers. With that you will be prepared fort he 3D
configuration future.

FTP: Marc, thank you very much for these insights! I am looking forward to see more (MC) products being represented in a more realistic way, using professional 3D technology, in the future.

25 10, 2011

#MCPC2011 Program Highlights: MC Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management

By | 2018-06-14T07:16:09+00:00 Oktober 25th, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Cases-Industrial, Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Customization Trends, Design, Events, MCPC2011, Open/User Innovation, Research Studies, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers, User Manufacturing, Virtual Models|

MCPC 2011In a series of postings, we present some of the program highligths of the MCPC 2011 conference. The following is just one of more than 50 sessions we will host on Nov 16-19 in San Francisco, CA.

Successful Mass Customization not only depends on the design and proper employment of the consumer backend (configurator). Of equal importance is the organizational structure "behind the scenes" that allows a company to actually keep the promiss of individual production while still remaining profitable. In this session we will hear expert advices about the key aspects of successful MC Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management.


Sessions 7.4 (Nov 19): MC Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management

Modeling & Simulation of MP-MC Apparel Manufacturing

Apparel companies that initiate Mass-Customization (MC) must identify a suitable manufacturing (assembly) strategy, which is vital for their success. Most companies that produce apparel using Mass Production (MP) systems, are interested in investigating if the existing systems can be used to implement a MC strategy.

In this part Muditha Senanayake (Cal Poly Pomona) and Trevor Little (North Carolina State University) will explore the opportunity to mix MP and MC using computer modeling and simulation. Based on varying sizes of bundles and varying frequencies of products tested on simulated production lines they will present their observations of the production system performance. As a result they will present possible implementations of mix manufacturing strategy and its limitations.

Using a Simulation-Based Framework to Design Supply Chain Offering Mass Customization in the UAE

Mass Customization has emerged as a successful business model that can address the contemporary challenges of global markets. Although companies have adopted various levels of MC, a major challenge for firms is to efficiently design their supply chain in function of their MC offers, which also needs to support the involvement of customers in the innovation process. Marc Poulin will present a work in progress of a simulation framework that enables UAE firms to design supply chains that offer MC products and services. Using the leading edge simulation software SIMIO he will model and simulate supply chain models in the UAE.

Methodology for Implementing the Right Supply Chain for Mass Customization

In this presentation Luigi Battezzati (University of Milan) will focus on the definition of preliminary implementation guidelines in order to define the proper supply chain for different products (emotional, functional), manufactured by different companies (mass or handcraft producer), in compliance with different winning criteria impacting on critical areas for Mass Customization

Listen to the full content of these talks at the MCPC 2011, Marriot SFO Airport, San Francisco, Nov 16-19, 2011:

– Conference Website and Registration

– All info here in one compact MCPC flyer

Conference hotel and travel (rooms fill quickly, book now!)

– All posts about the conference in my blog

22 09, 2011

#MCPC2011 Program Highlights – CEOs Report on Best Practices in MC and Personalization – Learning from experience

By | 2018-06-14T07:16:56+00:00 September 22nd, 2011|Cases-Consumer, Cases-Industrial, Co-Design Process, Customization Trends, Events, Furniture - Home, MCPC2011, Personalization, Technologies & Enablers, Virtual Models|

MCPC 2011In a series of postings, we present some of the program highligths of the MCPC 2011 conference. The following is just one of more than 50 sessions we will host on Nov 16-19 in San Francisco, CA.

This will become a very exciting session based on MANY years of experience. The unifying element of these three talks are the capabilities of making mass customization happen. Learn about Robust Processes and Solution Space design in the first talk, a leading application of Choice Navigation in the second, and get the whole story and update of MVM – a pionieer in virual models.

Sessions 6.1 (Nov 19): Best Practices in MC and Personalization – CEO Presentations

Case Study: The Transition from Engineer-to-Order to Mass Customization in the Fire/Rescue Industry

David Gardner (Founder and Principal of mass-customization-expert) has over 30 years of experience in the design and integration of innovative business process and information technology solutions for "start-up" as well as established companies.

His case study presentation will focus on the key business drivers behind the transition from an engineer-to-order business model to the mass customization business model in the fire/rescue industry. He will examine the steps undertaken to make the transition and the challenges encountered overcoming company and industry inertia.

LOFT – a 24/7 Anywhere Showeroom – Staging a Multiverse Experience

In this presentation, Conny Dorrestijn (Chief Marketing Officer of NedSense) will present his companie's business case for LOFT which is based on two major external drivers: the ‘personalization and ME experience 24/7 anywhere’ demands of a global audience and rapidly increasing costs, competition and complexity of the textile & apparel industry. He will show how the LOFT customer experience engine offers a showroom experience anytime, anywhere and demonstrates the full collection of various textiles, floorings and wallpapers on the customer’s desired real object through the unique LOFT 3D scan technology. Conny Dorrestijn will explain how LOFT enables designers and manufacturers to offer their sales teams and end users, through their websites, the opportunity to upload their own 2D pictures which are instantly converted into 3-D environments in which the user can interact.

MyVirtualModel 2.0

Gregory Saumier-Finch (General Manager of My Virtual Model) will give insight into the new iteration of My Virtual Model's virtual garment presentation software, including 2-D to 3-D image conversion technology. MVM has been a pioneer in the field. After some hickups and shakes, the company is back in business, Gregory, emplyee #3 of MVM and with the company for over ten years, will share his expiernces and advice in this upcoming field of MC.

Listen to the full content of these talks at the MCPC 2011, Marriot SFO Airport, San Francisco, Nov 16-19, 2011:

– Conference Website and Registration (reducted rates until Sept 30)

– All info here in one compact MCPC flyer

Conference hotel and travel (rooms fill quickly, book now!)

– All posts about the conference in my blog

17 01, 2009

MVM Visual Search – Free Webinar on new shopping personalization technology

By | 2018-06-14T11:10:40+00:00 Januar 17th, 2009|Clothing, Events, Personalization, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers, Virtual Models|

In September last year, My Virtual Model (MVM) unveiled a first-of-its-kind personalization technology in a partnership with Sears and IBM (Note: I am using the term personalization according to my own definition, i.e. it refers to a customized shopping experience – I will work on an update on this definition soon).

Struggling retailer Sears is investing heavily in its web-site to counterbalance decreasing sales in stores by a great web experience, probably the right way to do! As part of this effort, Sears.com was the first company in the world to integrate MVM's new 3D visual search and e-commerce capability on its site. Now, after the x-mas shopping rush, Sears confirmed that the technology significantly improved and enhanced a consumer’s online shopping experience. Sears was the first retailer to apply both a visual search and virtual model to an entire catalog online.

The Sears site allows consumers to recreate their in-store shopping experience online by enabling them to search for merchandise using images versus words, and to virtually “try on” selected items using a personalized model of themselves to ensure that the style, color, pattern and fit are right before purchasing.

It is a great advancement in personalization and online experience (Disclaimer: I served on MVM's board of directors, so I may be a bit biased in my positive evaluation 🙂

Next week, Louise Guay, President and Founder of My Virtual Model, is offering a free series of Webinars where the visual search application will be demonstrated, and where Louise also will comment on the achievements and challenges of this technology.

Louise will make a 30 minute presentation on:
– January 21, 12PM (ET)
– January 21,  4PM (ET)
– January 22,  4PM (ET)
– January 23, 12PM (ET)

To register for a Webinar, go here.

Topics of the Webinar:

  • 3D Visual Search: use Key-Images to find what you are looking for sooner.
  • How to create a scalable solution that covers 100% of your product assortment.
  • Outfitting: create inspirational fashion looks.
  • Targeted recommendations based on shopper’s profile and behavioral patterns.
  • How to uses MVM to drive qualified traffic to your site.
  • News from the Virtual Model community.

(Jan 20, 2008): Today, MVM announced its new Jeans Finder in cooperation with IndiDemin:


For more information, go their site. More information about indiDemin is in this previous posting.

3 01, 2008

Virtual Fashion Technology: New blog covers major pesonalization technology

By | 2018-06-14T12:56:26+00:00 Januar 3rd, 2008|Clothing, Design, MC/OI on the Web, Technologies & Enablers, Virtual Models|

Virtual fashion blogRecently I learned about a great new blog published by Elaine Polvinen, a professor of Fashion Textile Technology at Buffalo State College in Buffalo, New York. Elanie writes about „Virtual Fashion Technologies„, a main enabler of mass customization and personalization in the fashion industry.

She wants to document with her blog the transition and expansion from traditional 2D designs to 2D Digital to 3D virtual for apparel textile product design, development and retailing.

Here is a selection of her recent posts:

# Transformational Avatar Retailing: The Missing Link For Mass Customization?

# A Conversation with Louise Guay from My Virtual Model

# Avatars in Second Life for Retail Marketing? It’s Not Only Coming – it’s Here! – Part 1Part 2Part 3.

# Highlights of MCPC 2007 in Montréal, Canada: Part 1Part 2

And much more at http://fashiontech.wordpress.com

6 10, 2007

MCPC 2007 Starts: The International Mass Customization Community Gathers at MIT

By | 2018-05-07T15:31:28+00:00 Oktober 6th, 2007|Customization Trends, Events, MCPC 2007, Research Studies, Virtual Models|

The MIT Stata Center - Home of the MCPC 2007 ConferenceWow, these were a couple of very loaded weeks of preparing the MCPC 2007 conference. But now the fruits of all this work are there: Hundreds of mass customization enthusiasts are arriving in Boston to meet at MIT during the next days.

The conference will start tomorrow (Sunday) with pre-workshops and then the big opening keynote of B. Joseph Pine. Joe will discuss the origins of the mass customization movement that led to the MCPC, his views on the current state of the art, and where his continuing search for how businesses can add economic value through their offerings is leading him — and where it could take us.

After Joe, Brennan Mulligan will present the latest from Zazzle.com. The company recently relaunched its website and introduced a number of new services that enable consumers to even easier create their own stuff and sell it to others in their own MC mini shop.

I am very excited to here what they will say – as the other 160 speakers in the remaining two days. But most exciting will be to meet

As you have realized, I did not find the time to blog really a lot during the last weeks, and will be very busy also during the conference. But the guys from the Openeur Blog are with us reporting from the MCPC, and I also think that Adam Fletcher from Spreadshirt / HipHipUK will post a line or two.

I will provide my comprehensive report after I return from Boston. If you cannot join us, there again will be the opportunity to order the conference proceedings with a full text version of many papers.

Talking about joining: If you do not have a private jet or live on the East Coast, it may be a bit difficult to arrive in time for the MIT event, but you still can make it relaxed and in time to the great MCPC 2007 Business Seminar at HEC Montreal on October 11th . It will provide a focused top-management-view on mass customization in retail and the future of virtual identities.

During the Montreal event, more than 30 top executives from the industry will talk, plus some very great keynotes from Don Tapscott and the leading Supply Chain Manager at Dell !!

8 11, 2006

Adidas Finally Adds Experiment & Service to its Mi Adidas Product – New mi Adidas Innovation Center Opened in Paris

By | 2018-05-07T15:33:17+00:00 November 8th, 2006|Cases-Consumer, Co-Design Process, Customization Trends, Footwear, Offline Customization, Sneaker, Technologies & Enablers, Virtual Models|

Adidasparisstore1I recently wrote about the opportunities of bringing mass customization into stores and selling the experience as much as the custom product (see the DNA Style Lab posting). Now Adidas, a premier example of mass customization in my talks and lectures, has expanded its in-store presence with a huge new mi Adidas retail outlet in its new Paris flagship store.

The 1,750 square meter Paris adidas Sport Performance store occupies two floors on the Avenue de Champs Elysees and features a wide selection of adidas products. The core part of this store is a pimped mi-adidas sales system, called mi Innovation Center (mIC):

„The „mi Innovation Center“ will change the way consumers shop and their expectations at retail. It is a true first and we are thrilled to premier the mIC in Paris offering customers a whole new dimension of interaction with adidas products,“ Karen Feldpausch-Sturm, Senior Vice President of Global Retail for Adidas, is quoted in a press announcement. Adidas, headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, plans to roll out the new high-tech concept stores in major cities worldwide, including one in China in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Features of the new customization unit in the mIC include:

# A large glossy, black cube is the focal point of the center. Here, customers can customize their own „mi adidas“, using now a larger flat-screen configurator to alter the details of the shoes by simply pointing a finger to the screen. Laser and infra-red technology then translate the gestures into commands. Foot scanning and pressure scanning is done as in the mi adidas stores before.

# New is also a virtual mirror where users can see their personalized shoe on their own foot without even removing ones shoes!

# But customization is not only high-tech: Customers are accompanied by specially trained „adidas experts“ who, like a personal trainer, advise on nutrition, exercise and products. With a portable hand-held PC, the sales associates record a consumer’s personal data and desires, creating a user profile that he/she can view at their convenience via the internet.

# In addition to the cube, the center also provides some insight into new approaches of selling standard products: At a table, a sliding carriage can be moved over a desired shoe and then specific product information will appear on the screen via Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

Update: On YouTube is now a Video showing exactly the new mi adidas customization process (thanks to Rebang for the link).

I don’t had the opportunity to visit this store in person, but a sneaker enthusiast posted a nice review on the BKRW blog (the reviewer seemed to have not heard before that Adidas is offering basically the same service since 2001, thus not in such a fancy retail outlet):

„Well, to be honest we were really impressed and can’t wait to test it for real (don’t worry we will be in the first row…) ! The concept is really simple, it’s a kind of NIKE ID applied to performance shoes. It means that you can customize our own performance shoes, according to the way u need it. You can change the design, change the colors, add some words or some special tags, but most of all you can even materials of the shoes : sole, mid-sole, chassis, uppers, studs… The truth is that ADIDAS is pushing the whole performance concept with the even way of customizing your shoes, because even being in MI INNOVATION CENTER is a travel into the future: as we said you are running on a video carpet, each salesman has a touch screen tablet to change into real time your adjustments and preferences, while you are directing your mouse on the menu screen by the means of a laser system of pointing…“

Is all this just another marketing gimmick?, asks Business Week in a report about this store.

My answer is yes and no. Regarding customization of the product, it is just a pimped up version of the mi adidas retail units that are in place since years. But regarding the overall strategy of customization, it is a large step forward. For the first time, the company is not focusing on the custom product, but on the custom service and experience users get when purchasing the shoe. The custom nutrition program and fitness guides offer much more value as yet-an-other color-option at NikeID. So while Nike had an easy win with the Ipod-Nike-combination offering individual tracking of your running behavior, I think Adidas has beaten its competition with this integration retail innovation by far – if they are able to scale up this system and deliver what they promise.

Business Week quotes Fiona Fairhurst, director of Zero Point Zero One, a sports consultancy in Nottinghamshire, England, on this:

„These days if you look around the gym, everyone is their own fitness expert. People know how to use heart-rate monitors and measure their own level of hydration …An individual will steer clear of a brand that doesn’t fit properly, no matter how exclusive that brand is. If you know that Adidas fits you perfectly and comfortably then they have a customer for life.“

18 10, 2006

Custom Fashion 2.0: How a new Korean project wants to lift mass customization in the apparel business to a new level

By | 2018-05-07T15:33:30+00:00 Oktober 18th, 2006|Cases-Consumer, Clothing, Co-Design Process, Customization Trends, Research Studies, Technologies & Enablers, Virtual Models|

IfashionlogoOn Monday this week, the i-Fashion project was launched in Seoul, Korea. I was invited to speak at the opening event of this interesting initiative. Its objective is to create an entire infrastructure for mass customization in the fashion industry by integrating a number of technologies which today have not been applied in larger scale. Sponsored by the Korean Ministry of Commerce & Energy with about US $7 mil., it combines a consortium of 9 apparel companies and a few technology providers.

IfashionmcstoreAs you would expect from a high-tech country like Korea, the exhibition on the opening even was dominated by numerous huge flat panel screens. These screens were, however, no sheer illustration but actual part of a totally new selling process. The entire process builds on virtual models which are generated by a 3D body scan of a consumer. The customer can then create on a touch-screen kiosk her new apparel, including the design of the fabric. Designs are illustrated real-time on the customer’s avatar. This avatar and virtual garments shall be also used in mobile applications (where South Korea is famous for) and traditional online shopping environments. Also this idea is not new, but has – to my knowledge – never been integrated in a real shopping infrastructure. One of the project partners, the Hyundai conglomerate, will open a test store in its department store chain already this year.

A co-speaker on an international seminar for this project was Prof. Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann, a leading expert in virtual modeling and the Director of University of Geneva’s MIRALab. I had heard of this lab before, but was astonished to see the scope of its activities. Prof. Magnenat-Thalmann reported from her work as part of the LEAPFROG project, an European project with the objective to modernize and ultimately transform the European clothing sector into a flexible knowledge-driven high-tech industry. Drivers of the project are a radical move towards rapid customized manufacturing through flexiblization and integration of cost-effective and sustainable processes from fabric processing to customer delivery and a new focus on customer service. MIRALab contributed to this project with the development of a 3D virtual try-on platform, including real-time body sizing and cloth simulation.

Projects like i-Fashion and LEAPFROG are very important for the realization of mass customization in the clothing industry as they go beyond automatic pattern generation (based on 3D scans) or flexible manufacturing technologies, but try to create an integrated platform where most of the traditional physical design, manufacturing, and sales processes are shifted to the digital domain.

Digital Printing of FabricsOne of the interesting parts of the project i-Fashion project in this regards is the large scale application of digital-printing for high-end fashion items. This enables the efficient productions of individual patterns and may solve the problem of huge inventories which are required for customization on the component level. i-Fashion Project partner Yuhan-Kimberley demonstrated their latest existing technology during the opening event. I was surprised by the quality of the printing process, but also its speed and cost efficiency (comparable to normal paper photo printing). Also, the garments do not need any further processing or finishing after the printing process. This technology, which shall be improved even further in the project, but first of all integrated in a complete business model, could allow also the legions of custom t-shirt printer a more sustainable production technology compared to today’s heat transfer process.

More project info in case you speak Korean: http://textile.konkuk.ac.kr/englishhome/index.html

Or contact the project;s director, Prof. Chang Kyu PARK from the Department of Textile Engineering at Konkuk University, Seoul (cezar@konkuk.ac.kr).

31 05, 2006

Linden Labs vs. the US Fed: How user-created content creates economic value

By | 2018-05-07T15:34:04+00:00 Mai 31st, 2006|Cases-Consumer, Co-creation, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, Virtual Models|

Lindenlab_vs_us_economyPhilip Rosedale, founder of Second Life and CEO of Linden Lab, is the recipient of the WIRED Rave awards in the business caregory. His achievements are presented in the form of a comparison of the Linden Lab’s economy with the US economy (represented by former Fed chief Alan Greenspan)… well not really a scientific comparison, but one that provides a nice insight into the scale and creativity of user-created products:

Second Life is a subscription-based 3-D virtual reality application operated by San Francisco-based Linden Lab. The game gives its users (referred to as „residents“) tools to add to and edit its world and participate in its economy. The majority of the content in the Second Life world is resident-created. Linden Lab actively promotes the concept that residents retain the intellectual property rights to objects they create (although they are required to offer Linden Lab an open license to it).

Since 2002, users have created a functioning economy based largely on services and real estate. As such, it is a perfect example of the crowdsourcing idea described in the previous posting – and another case for our concept of „interactive value creation“. (More background information at Wikipedia).

So where does this lead to? Here are some excerpts from the WIRED article „Rosedale vs Greenspan“:

Size of economy supervised:
Rosedale: $7.7 million per month.
Greenspan: $1 trillion per month.

Technique to encourage maximum spending:
Rosedale: Ensures that the Linden Dollar doesn’t appreciate against the US dollar, making it impractical and unattractive to keep Linden Dollars in savings accounts.
Greenspan: Ensured that interest rates remained low during periods of relatively slow growth, making it impractical and unattractive to keep US dollars in savings accounts.

Means of maintaining price stability:
Rosedale: Aggressively adding money to the currency supply as the overall size of the economy increases.
Greenspan: Reducing the supply of money by aggressively raising interest rates when inflation begins to rise.

Rosedale: “I’m not building a game. I’m building a new country.”
Greenspan: “But how do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values, which then become subject to un-expected and prolonged contractions, as they have in Japan over the past decade?”

Read more here. And in any case, the Second Life Economy is in the moment much faster growing than the US Economy, has a younger, educated and healthy population, no enviromental concerns, always good weather, and is in no war with anyone.