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"No amount of sophistication is going to allay to fact that all your knowledge is about the past and all your decisions are about the future."

- Ian E. Wilson




About Us

 

 

 

Strategic Foresighting Associates

Strategic Foresighting Associates is an information services consulting and training company that looks at advance technologies and their effects on our lives, our businesses and the environment around us.   The exponential growth in technologies today and tomorrow means that we have to be prepared for some grand changes down the road.  It is imperative that we know about them so we can plan ahead.

 

We help guide you through planning and preparing today, tomorrow and what lies ahead. Our company draws on expertise of trained professionals from various fields and sectors, balanced between academic and corporate worlds to provide superior training and services for all. 

 

 

We offer advanced technology seminars.  Our most popular seminar is “Interview with Technology” that covers key advancements in nanotechnology, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and robotics.  We also offer deep dives into specific areas of technology based on the requests.  Here are some of the past seminar topics:

 

"The Effects of the Upcoming Nanotechnological Advancements on Our Lives".

We’ve compiled an in-depth overview of how upcoming advancements in nanotechnogy may impact our lives in the next 10 to 25 years.  We’ve reviewed multiple sources and summarized what we thought were learnings.  Nanoscience concerns a basic understanding of physical, chemical, and biological properties on atomic and near-atomic scales. Nanotechnology, narrowly defined, employs controlled manipulation of these properties to create materials and functional systems with unique capabilities.  While many of these applications could be possible in the near future, companies have been shying away from publicizing the use of nano-scale science and technology. Many companies are scared of consumer perception, and think consumers may have the same adverse reaction to nano-scale science and technology as they did to genetically engineered foods. 

We will explore this and many other areas of nanotechnology impacting our lives now and in the near future.

 

 "Does Technology Inspire or Inhibit Creativity?

How does technology inhibit creativity?  Now, the internet is truly a great thing…but it separates us from human contact.  How do you really learn about human interaction without being face-to-face with the people and getting exposure to daily life?

Technology exposes us to different things that we otherwise would not see or experience: from being able to hear thousands of your favorite songs anywhere with your i-pod, to talking to your best friend from Mt. Blanc on your iPhone.  Technology is rapidly changing around us, opening up new doors to creativity.  Let us show you how it is important not to miss those doors, as we can use them to our competitive advantage.

 

“How Technology is Shaping the Future of Retail”

Shopping is part of all cultures. At times it’s the way we meet the basic needs required to get through our daily lives. At other times, it’s an exciting adventure of discovery and fun.

There are two key attributes that drive our retail behavior.  They are experience and convenience. And both of them are evolving at a fast pace as new technologies become available.  Let’s talk about the experience first. 

Retailers have been always trying to differentiate by providing a unique shopping experience.  Jordan’s Furniture, a Massachusetts-based company has its flagship store in Framingham built with a New Orleans looking central promenade where at certain hours of the day a Mardi Gras show occurs, complete with lights, music and dancing characters.

American Girl stores, not only cell dolls, but they also offer the hairdressing services for your doll, after which you can take your doll out to tea in the café area where they are high chairs for dolls.

Story - a store in NYC that has a point of view of a magazine, changes every 4-8 weeks like a gallery and it sells things like a store.

We’ve traditionally used media to drive consumers into stores.  If marketers could get us across the store threshold, their job was largely done.  In other words, the store was the end of the marketing funnel – the goal line so to speak.

Increasingly, stores will instead act as branded media.  They will function less as places that simply sell products and more like interactive galleries, showrooms and workshops – places where consumers can have aesthetic, visceral and emotional experiences with the brand – that can’t be replicated online. In this sense the store will become the customer’s first brand touch-point – not the last.  The entry point of the marketing funnel.

And the key factor in this is Information Technology.  The Gartner Group projects that by 2017 the CMO will Spend More on IT Than the CIO.  And this will drastically change the retail experience.

Addidas is installing the world’s first Virtual Footwear Wall.  It uses state of the art touch-screen and precision real-time 3D rendered products allowing customers to select footwear on a virtual shelf.

The wall is fully interactive allowing you to rotate and look at the product from multiple angles, zoom in to see the finest detail and get additional product information as well as watching supporting video material.

Smart mirrors in stores can understand your fashion tastes to recommend products that you’ll more than likely love. An array of sensors attached to every aisle and display case will know when you stare at a product. There will even be sensors that analyze your facial expressions to discover your mood and reaction towards a product display.

Several months ago Lowe’s took a huge step into new shopping experiences, launching a holograph-based virtual reality showroom named the Holoroom.  Say you’re going to remodel your bathroom. But you have trouble envisioning how the wall color, tiles and taps will look together. Step into the Holoroom, where they will be displayed in augmented reality, using your own bathroom’s footprint.  Customers using the Holoroom first use an iPad app to spec out the room they’re remodeling. As they select products from the Lowe’s catalogue to put in the room, the objects appear in a model in the app. The customers can move them aro.nd or delete them until they’re satisfied. At that point, they step into the hologram space at Lowes, point their tablet at the walls around them and have an experience of being inside their new bathroom.  Lowes features the Holoroom at the 2015 CES show

So we see a shift where the financial expectations of stores are changing.  Increasingly more and more brands will regard their stores less as sales and profit centers and more as a marketing and media expense.  Conventional store success metrics like sales per square foot and inventory turns, will steadily give way to marketing and media-based metrics.  A good day in-store won’t be entirely about how many products were sold but also about how many positive impressions were generated and how those impressions converted into social buzz and ongoing brand interactions.

Most of the today’s stores work to fill the customers cart with product.  The store of tomorrow will work to fill customer’s handhelds with branded media, applications and other digital incentives to form a relationship with the brand.  In other words, the store of the future will not simply aim to open the customer’s wallet but also to open their minds and hearts to the brand in its totality.

This concept represents a profound paradigm shift and one that will be problematic for many retailers to get their arms around.  For savvy retail brands on the other hand, it will represent the next frontier of retail supremacy.

Convenience is the second attribute that already is and will continue to drastically change retail experience

Shoppers in S. Korea can order their groceries with their mobile devices of the side of the train terminal.  Groceries then a being delivered to their home by the time they get there.

In the near future, more and more shoppers will be able to use location-based services within stores to assist with checking product availability, locating products, identifying alternatives and finding complementary items. Offers will be real time and one to one, which will create much more meaningful value propositions for consumers and higher success rates for retailers.

Some shoppers see coupons for a new cereal flash before their eyes as they search for Cheerios, while others browsing the dairy section will have information about the health benefits of soy milk pop up automatically on their iPads.

Wouldn’t that be nice if your mobile device also helped you identify items you liked and then ordered them for you?

Well, it is already here.  Last Wednesday Amazon announced Fire Phone.

The device’s Firefly feature offers image, text and audio recognition, letting users scan QR and bar codes, Web and email addresses, and over 100 million other items. This includes movies, TV shows, songs, household items, books, DVDs, CDs and video games. Fire Phone users can then access the relevant product details and order them from Amazon.com.

Now, imagine what happens when we add more artificial to this?

Ray Kurzweil predicts that by 2018 there will be personal assistant search engines with AI capability. It will be more like a human assistant that you can talk things over with, that you can express complicated, even personal concerns to. If you’re wearing something like Google Glass, it could annotate reality; it could even listen in to a conversation, giving helpful hints.

It will anticipate what you will like and suggest things that you would not necessarily think of yourself.

And then we have virtual reality that makes virtual shopping possible where we never have to go to any specific location and can have all the shopping experiences exactly where and when we want them.  We can even go test drive a car from the comfort of our own home.

But what this is not all!  The key technology to revolutionize both experience and convenience of retail is 3D Printing.  By 2020, we may be able to print custom clothes and other items using personal 3D printing or through the on-line ordering.  Last year, Nike 3D printed a sneaker.  Imagine the possibilities.

So here you have it – in the near future retail experience and convenience is going to be changed completely by IT, Virtual Reality, AI, and 3 D printing.

 

Are you ready for these changes?

It’s already here…You have no choice.