Tyra Banks smiled a toothy grin and chatted idly with a captive audience this week, showing off her new pixie haircut. She later flipped a blond-streaked auburn lock at the crowd, asking in a half-mocking tone, “How do you like me now?”
Ms. Banks was not on the set of her daytime television show or modeling on the runway at New York Fashion Week. She was staring into her smartphone camera while using a test version of Periscope, a live-streaming video app that Twitter introduced on Thursday, one among a surge of such apps with names like Meerkat and Camio that are taking the social media world by storm.
The premise of Periscope, Meerkat and others is simple: Capture video of yourself doing anything from exploring a new city to playing with your dog, all using nothing more than your smartphone camera. The apps notify others that you are streaming live video of yourself, and you can share it with your friends and followers.
The concept is hardly novel and has resulted in numerous start-up flops in the past. For years, entrepreneurs have tried to make live-streaming video catch on with the masses, with companies like YouNow, Justin.tv and Livestream offering their own takes on personal broadcasting.
But recently there has been something of a renaissance of live-streaming apps. And companies likeTwitter and eager venture capitalists are spending millions of dollars on what they bet will be the next big thing to catch on with consumers.
“The world is way more ready for this than it was a year ago,” said Kayvon Beykpour, chief executive and co-founder of Periscope, which Twitter acquired this year. “We have the benefit of entering this market when people are more sold on the idea of live broadcasting.”
Driving the shift are technological advances and the ubiquity of smartphones, as well as years of people getting more comfortable with revealing information about themselves online through text and photos. With the new video apps, the comedian Jimmy Fallon has live-streamed a monologue rehearsal for his late-night talk show, the “Today” co-host Al Roker has broadcast the backstage hubbub at the morning show and Silicon Valley venture capitalists have trained smartphone cameras on themselves when they engage in activities like taping podcasts or making presentations.
“All of a sudden, the world’s pockets are full of good cameras and good screens with good data plans and good social platforms to let everyone know you’re broadcasting,” said Chris Sacca, founder and chairman of Lowercase Capital and an early Twitter investor.
In a statement, Ms. Banks said Periscope was a “wonderfully voyeuristic platform and it boggles my mind that the things that I’m sharing are able to be experienced by others live.”
Yet the current crop of live-streaming apps face a history of video app failures. Viddy, a video-capture start-up that was a Facebook darling in 2012 and raised tens of millions of dollars, experienced early spikes in activity and at one point was seen as the “Instagram of video.” Socialcam, a competitor, was looked at much the same way. Both apps fizzled or were acquired after consumer interest waned over the course of a summer.
That isn’t preventing Twitter from betting big on the technology. The San Francisco-based company spent close to $100 million to acquire Periscope months ago, before the app had even been introduced, according to two people familiar with the matter. Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive, is particularly “obsessed” with using the app to capture real-time video, just as Twitter captures real-time conversations, these people said.
Mr. Beykpour said one advantage of Periscope was the short lag time between the stream and the ability to send text responses to the person streaming, essentially letting people communicate with the broadcaster in near real time. Periscope also takes advantage of a user’s Twitter followers to rapidly build a potential audience, and the app suggests other active Periscope users as people to follow. In addition, the app lets users store videos for replay or sharing later.
Although Periscope operates independently of its corporate owner — much like the Twitter-owned short-form video app Vine — it has access to Twitter’s money and technical support.
But Periscope has competition, including Camio and — in particular — Meerkat, which appeared this month and has gained traction with consumers and celebrities. In a matter of days after Meerkat was introduced, its use exploded and it soared to become the 177th most downloaded app in the United States and the 22nd most popular social networking app, according to App Annie, a mobile analytics firm. Meerkating, which describes the act of someone shooting a video live stream, is becoming a verb.
Much of that traction came from Meerkat’s breakout popularity during South by Southwest, the technology and music conference held in Austin, Tex., this month, where a number of fledgling start-ups have gained momentum by creating buzz.
Periscope was under development for a year, but Twitter failed to quickly introduce and market the product after it bought the company in January, the people close to Twitter said. That let Meerkat swoop in to take the spotlight. About two weeks ago, Twitter restricted Meerkat’s access to its social graph, which meant that a user’s Twitter followers would not automatically show up in Meerkat.
Success for Ben Rubin, Meerkat’s founder, did not come overnight. He is a founder of Yevvo, another live-streaming video app that made its debut in 2012 yet saw little traction. Eventually Yevvo rebranded itself Air, which also flopped.
Now investors are eager to fund Meerkat. The companysaid Thursday that it raised $14 million from the venture capital firm Greylock Partners and other investors, including the YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley and the actor Jared Leto. In an online post, the Greylock partner Josh Elman said he invested in Meerkat because “it feels like we are at the dawn of a new era for live video.”
“Think of the selfie culture these days,” Mr. Rubin said. “Culturally, we’ve reached the point where cameras are more familiar and people have started to feel comfortable with video.”
Live-streaming video has many applications, including for real-time news. On Thursday, during a fire at an apartment building in the East Village, numerous Twitter users live-streamed the event with Periscope and Meerkat.For some users, live video streaming has now become almost a daily event. “I like the random, serendipitous nature of it,” said Ryan Hoover, founder of Product Hunt, a San Francisco-based start-up that provides guidance on products from other start-ups. Mr. Hoover said he streamed himself using Meerkat two to three times a week and was an avid watcher of other people’s videos.
He pointed to Jeff Needles, a friend from Twitter. Mr. Needles has recently hosted 24-hour “Meerathons,” in which he streams himself on Meerkat around the clock.
Others entrepreneurs, like Justin Kan, have tried and failed in some forms of live-streaming personal video. His early start-up Justin.tv was a 24/7 live feed of his own life.
“We weren’t able to retain an audience because, really, we just weren’t that interesting,” Mr. Kan said in a recent interview. Eventually, he found success. Mr. Kan sold Twitch, a gaming-focused streaming start-up, to Amazon for about $1 billion last year.
Live-streaming video also poses certain challenges. Some people do not wish to be recorded without their permission, something difficult to prohibit when everyone with a smartphone can freely stream video using the app.
At the start-up incubator Y Combinator’s demo day in Silicon Valley this week, audience members were told not to live-stream the presentations because doing so might violate rules prohibiting general solicitation for funding set forth by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Live-streaming video’s appeal to operators of sex cams is also obvious. Some of the apps offer settings, such as private broadcasting, that could promote the practice.
Mr. Beykpour, Periscope’s co-founder, said that pornography violated the app’s terms of service and anyone watching a video could report it for a violation.
“Our focus now is to keep it a safe place,” he said.
CESTER, England — For an English monarchy that has lasted more than 1,000 years, there can have been few more improbable occasions than the ceremony of remembrance here on Thursday for the reburial of one of the most bloodstained medieval sovereigns, King Richard III, who was slain in battle seven years before Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World.
After three days of viewing by thousands who lined up for hours to file past the bier in Leicester’s Anglican cathedral, Richard’s skeletal remains, in a coffin of golden English oak with an incised Yorkist rose and an inscription giving the sparest details of his life — “Richard III, 1452-1485” — were removed overnight from beneath a black cloth pall stitched with colorful images from his tumultuous times.
With the solemn ceremony laid down for monarchs through the ages, the coffin was borne to a marble tomb adjacent to the cathedral’s altar by a party of 10 British Army pallbearers wearing red sashes over their khaki uniforms and rows of glinting medals attesting to their service in the country’s most recent wars, in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
With the tomb topped by a black marble plinth, the king’s remains, in a lead-lined inner coffin, were then lowered into what the Anglican prelates presiding at the service described as his final resting place. That placed him barely a stone’s throw from his ignominious grave for the past 530 years, in ground beside the cathedral, where frightened Franciscan friars disposed hastily of his corpse after his defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field outside Leicester on Aug. 22, 1485.
That first grave lay in oblivion for centuries, unremarked until it was discovered beneath a municipal parking lot beside the cathedral in September 2012, in what has been hailed as one of the most astonishing archaeological hunches in modern history. The acknowledged good fortune of the archaeologists, who found what proved to be Richard’s bones within hours of their digger making its first cut in the buried ruins of the Greyfriars priory, was followed by what others in the field have described as an exercise of extraordinary scholarship, involving a closely knit team of experts in archaeology, engineering, forensics, genetics, geology, history and medicine, many of them from the University of Leicester.
Their work confirmed “beyond a reasonable doubt,” as the Leicester scholars have described it, that the bones were those of Richard. Critical to their findings was that the nearly complete skeleton included a deeply curved spine, evidence of the bone disease known as scoliosis that prompted later accounts that Richard was a hunchback.
The studies also established that a catalog of nearly a dozen wounds, including two ferocious blows to Richard’s skull from a sword and a halberd that would have killed him instantly, comported closely with contemporary accounts of how he died, toppled from his horse in boggy ground, after two hours of combat at Bosworth that placed him only yards away at his death from Henry Tudor, the victor at Bosworth Field who succeeded him on the throne as Henry VII.
The scholarship laid the groundwork for Thursday’s ceremony, where the few hundred seats that were available were as keenly sought-after as any at Wimbledon’s Centre Court. Crowds running into tens of thousands lined Leicester’s streets to watch Richard’s coffin pass on its way to the cathedral last weekend. The ceremonies drew hours of live television coverage and days of newspaper headlines, almost as if Britain had lost a 21st-century monarch.
The presiding cleric at the cathedral service was the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the worldwide head of the Anglican Communion. Some saw his presence, and the fact that the reburial took place in an Anglican cathedral, as an anomaly, since Richard was a devout member of the pre-Reformation church in England, and thus a Roman Catholic, who died well before Henry VIII’s break with Rome in the 1530s.
But any misgivings between the two churches were smoothed over when England’s foremost Catholic prelate, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, presided at a service welcoming Richard’s coffin to the cathedral on Sunday, and delivered a sermon that offered what many saw as a deft message of reconciliation to the contending schools of thought about Richard’s legacy as king.
To those seething at the spectacle of a notoriously violent monarch being rehabilitated by the church, the cardinal cautioned that power in Richard’s time was “invariably won or maintained on the battlefield and only by ruthless determination, strong alliances and a willingness to employ the use of force, at times with astonishing brutality.”
The recovery of Richard’s bones has spawned a raft of new books about the fallen king, and the BBC is planning a new television series to be titled “The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses,” with the role of the king to be played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Mr. Cumberbatch, who has been identified by genealogists as a third cousin 16 times removed of King Richard, attended the cathedral ceremony on Thursday and read a poem specially written for the service by Britain’s poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.
Notably absent from the cathedral on Thursday was Queen Elizabeth II. Perhaps wary of the controversy stirred by the honor being accorded the man who has come down through history as the most vilified of her predecessors — a man identified on the monarchy’s official website as having “usurped” the throne from its rightful heir — Elizabeth, 88, limited her role to an anodyne message on the opening page of the order of service for the reburial, noting the “importance” of the occasion.
“The reinterment of King Richard III is an event of great national and international significance,” the queen’s message said. “Today, we recognize a king who lived through turbulent times and whose Christian faith sustained him in life and death.”
The most senior royal at the ceremony was the countess of Wessex, a former commoner who is married to Edward, the third of Elizabeth’s sons. Another high-ranking royal among the guests was Richard, Duke of Gloucester, a 70-year-old cousin of the queen. His first name and title are the same as Richard’s before he seized the throne, and he is a patron of the Richard III Society, which has campaigned for a rehabilitation that would recognize Richard’s work in the field of legal innovations, including steps to widen court access for the poor.
For Richard, the years since the discovery of his bones have marked a remarkable comeback. For more than 500 years, he has been popularly cast as one of the most odious villains of English history — the “poisonous, bunch-back’d toad” of Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” reviled as a child killer for his role, as Shakespeare and generations of historians have depicted it, as the prime mover in the smothering murders of the two young brothers known as the Princes in the Tower.
Their killings have come down as among the most heartless in English history. The boys were Richard’s nephews, aged about 13 and 11, one of them the rightful heir to Richard’s dead brother Edward IV, but they stood athwart their uncle’s ambition for the throne.
The grim legend that has been Richard’s legacy still draws widespread support, and its proponents have been vociferous in condemning this week’s events in Leicester. One of the country’s most widely circulated newspapers, The Daily Mail, told its readers this week, “It’s mad to declare this child killer a national hero.” The Times of London ran a similar headline of its own: “A glorious return for one of history’s biggest losers.”
Since the 1700s, there has been a minority voice among writers and historians that has cast Richard as the victim of a conspiracy by the Tudors, whose dynasty was founded on Henry Tudor’s victory. Among these protagonists, Shakespeare is seen as having won favor at court as a spin doctor for the Tudor cause, especially for Queen Elizabeth I, who, this version contends, wanted Richard’s reputation blackened to strengthen the Tudors’ own shaky legitimacy.
The public response of the past week appears to have been driven in part by the jamboreelike atmosphere that has swept Leicester. The weekend procession in which Richard’s coffin was driven to Bosworth and back featured people dressed in medieval suits of armor, period dress and the habits of Franciscan friars, some shouting “Long live the king!” The enthusiasm continued as the coffin, on wooden trestles beside the cathedral’s baptismal font, was opened to the public for what amounted to an extended lying in state. At one point, the waiting time ran to more than four hours.
Some saw the message encoded in the public acclaim less as one of embracing the idea of Richard as a “good king,” as he has been described by Phil Stone, chairman of the Richard III Society, than one of redemption beyond the grave, a theme that has had a compelling force, across all ages and religions.
That theme was pervasive in the reburial service, perhaps captured best when Archbishop Welby, standing beside the grave as the coffin was lowered, invoked forgiveness for Richard. “We have entrusted our brother Richard to God’s mercy,” he said, “and we now commit his human remains to the ground, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
Correction: March 26, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated the title of the most senior member of the royal family in attendance at Richard III’s reburial. She is the Countess of Wessex, not the Duchess.
Yoga-wear retailer’s shares jump despite currency issues, port delays hurting its outlook
Lululemon Athletica Inc. gave a weak outlook for its current quarter and the full year. Photo: Getty Images
March 26, 2015
Lululemon Athletica Inc. said Thursday that sales grew a better-than-expected 16% in its holiday quarter as traffic improved, fueling hopes that the yoga-gear maker is rebounding after a recent slump.
Shares gained 7% to $65.20 in late morning trading.
Still, Lululemon gave a soft outlook for its current quarter and full year, saying that shipping delays at West Coast ports and bad weather on the East Coast have dragged down its sales. The company said it also is struggling with the impact of weak currency in Canada and Australia, where it does about a quarter of its business.
Analysts have said Vancouver, Canada-based Lululemon may be on the cusp of a turnaround after setbacks stemming from a recall of some yoga pants for being too sheer. The recall, which dented its reputation and cost it tens of millions of dollars, was followed by a shift in consumer tastes toward more elaborate designs over basics that caught Lululemon flat-footed as it struggled to improve quality and quell infighting on its board as well as high executive turnover.
Lululemon has revamped its product line to include more embellished and patterned items now fashionable among its customer base as it pushes back against competition from lower-priced rivals such as Gap Inc.’s Athleta brand. The new approach, however, has increased lead times and depressed margins, as printed fabric is more expensive to produce than basic black or gray.
In the latest quarter, Lululemon said new silhouettes and colors drove momentum in its women’s bottoms category, while its men’s category also posted strong growth.
Lululemon’s same-store sales increased 5%, excluding currency fluctuations, while direct-to-consumer net revenue increased 20%. Gross margin narrowed to 51.5% from 53.5% a year earlier, pressured by factors including foreign exchange and airfreight costs.
The yoga-wear company had originally given a disappointing outlook for the quarter, but in January boosted its forecast and said it entered the new year in “very good shape” thanks to improving trends and strong results during the holidays.
Inventory pileup has been a problem for Lululemon in recent quarters as it has struggled to strike the right balance of seasonal and core merchandise.
Overall, for the period ended Feb. 1, Lululemon posted a profit of $110.9 million, or 78 cents a share, up from $109.7 million, or 75 cents a share, a year earlier. The company had forecast earnings of 71 cents to 73 cents a share.Revenue grew to $602.5 million from $521 million a year ago, topping the company’s projection for $595 million to $600 million. Lululemon said the weak Canadian and Australian dollars brought down its revenue by $13.2 millio
For the first quarter, Lululemon forecast per-share earnings of 31 cents to 33 cents, below analysts’ call for 39 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters. The retailer forecast revenue of $413 million to $418 million, missing the $442 million in revenue analysts had projected.
For the year, the company estimated per-share earnings of $1.85 to $1.90, while analysts had expected $2.06 a share in earnings. Revenue is expected to be between $1.97 billion and $2.02 billion; analysts had expected $2.05 billion in revenue
Returns are a challenge area for many ecommerce brands, partially since it can be tough to prioritize creating an easy and free return process for customers when so much focus already goes into having them make purchases in the first place. For this reason, some brands that do a great job in showcasing products and ensuring that customers find what they want and receive it quickly still lag behind in this area. However, there are some stats out there that are challenging the idea that return optimization can be safely tabled during the pursuit of other targets. In fact, according to an infographic released by Trueship.com, the average rate of returns from ecommerce purchases is one in three, while 79% of shoppers want a free return shipping offer when they make a purchase.
Is it worth holding out on free return shipping if it creates loyalty?
An interesting question in ecommerce in general is how to think about the real value of new versus return customers, and whether it is ultimately better to focus on acquisition versus retention. Many studies have pointed to the benefits of increasing customer retention efforts in terms of overall profit generation. In an article by Retention Science, several studies were pointed to, among them a Bain & Company report that stated a 5% increase in customer retention efforts could lead to a 25-95% increase in company profitability. These stats are pretty compelling, and may be grounds for companies that have been holding out on free return shipping to reconsider their stances.
If free shipping is going to be a major cost center, consider ways to offset that cost.
The logistic costs of free shipping can vary greatly depending on the volume and physical size of products being shipped. In order to offset these costs, some strategic thinking may be required. One of the keys to turning a return scenario into a positive is treating it as an opportunity to surprise and delight your customers. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of assuming that a customer who returns something simply doesn’t like your products and is effectively ending the relationship. In reality, offering free returns has been shown to be a powerful driver of loyalty and repeat purchases. Pivoting a return into an exchange or even a larger purchase made using store credit can turn the negative scenario of a return into an up-sell opportunity.
Drought remains an all-too-common news story in the US but the silver lining is that a growing number of people are curious about how they can cut back on their water waste, and in many cases are willing to think outside the box to do it.
This clever measure of your overall water consumption helps you understand the direct and virtual ways in which you use water. The “direct” part of your water footprint is the amount of water you use in and around your home, school or office throughout the day. The hidden or “virtual” part includes the water it took to produce the food you eat, the products you buy, the energy you consume and even the water you save when you recycle. Virtual water makes up the majority of your water footprint.
As people learn about their virtual water use they’re realizing that water isn’t an infinite resource and that there is plenty we can do to use water more efficiently – which benefits both the environment and the wallet.
The growing interest in virtual water is just fine by us since it represents the bulk of an individual’s water footprint. Here are eight ways we indirectly use water and impact water resources:
Food’s virtual water
1. The food you eat makes up the largest part of your overall water footprint – about two-thirds. The more processed foods, meat and dairy we eat, the more water we consume. Diets that include large amounts of meat, cheese and eggs require more water than diets that consist mainly of vegetables and grains. Similarly, diets that are made up of highly processed foods (like candy, chips and ready-made meals) require far more water than those that incorporate more whole foods like fruits and vegetables. We probably don’t need to tell you that eating more fruits and veggies is better for you, too, do we? (When it comes to reducing your meat consumption, think of Meatless Mondays.)
2. Wasted food translates to wasted water. About 25 percent of all freshwater consumed annually in the US is associated with discarded food. On a global scalethat’s a little more water than the volume of Lake Erie that is being wasted. The good news is that there are many effective ways to reduce food waste.
Energy’s virtual water
3. You might find this shocking but your electricity consumption factors into your water footprint, too. That’s because the nation’s power plants – nuclear and fossil fuel-fired plants in particular – use a tremendous amount of water. Many of these thermoelectric power plants rely on outdated cooling technology that withdraws millions of gallons of water daily. In all, thermoelectric power plants account for a stunning 45 percent of total water withdrawals in the United States, including both freshwater sources such as lakes, and saline water sources, such as estuaries.
4. Most renewable energy sources require little to no water. Switching to renewable energy – particularly wind and solar – can put a big dent in your water footprint. “Small-scale solar photovoltaic systems on rooftops,” according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “have suddenly become the most commonly built, most numerous electric generators, with individuals making decisions based on the cost of the solar panels and the price of their local electric utility.” In addition to shrinking my carbon footprint, one of the reasons I installed a rooftop solar electric system on my home was to reduce my water footprint.
5. You can waste less water by using energy more efficiently. This means doing things like converting to energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs. Conservation can also help, e.g. turning off or unplugging electronics and appliances when they’re not being used. Five to ten percent of residential electricity use today is lost as “standby power,” feeding our plugged-in electronics and appliances when we’re not even actively using them. By plugging your electrical equipment into a power strip, you can cut power to several devices – e.g. TV, DVD player and surround-sound system – at once when you shut off the strip. Or convert to a “smart” power strip, which are surge protectors that cut power to other devices when a primary device is shut off.
6.Gasoline and oil consumption are also tightly bound to water use, because refining oil requires large quantities of water. For instance, it is estimated that the United States withdraws 1 to 2 billion gallons of water to refine nearly 800 million gallons of petroleum products every day. Driving less, carpooling and using public transportation as much as possible are good ways to avoid fossil fuel use and save water.
Water’s virtual water
7. To move and treat water you need power, which needs… water! Wait, what’s that now? The process of moving drinking water requires electricity. So does the wastewater treatment process, and there is water embodied in that electricity. So by using water more judiciously – e.g. capturing rainwater for certain uses around the house and wasting less water in general – we save electricity and therefore save much more than the water you saved directly.
8. Yes, even bottled water has a water footprint. The amount of water that goes into making the bottle packaging could be six or seven times more than the water inside the bottle. Want to kick the bottled water habit? Here are some helpful resources.
If you weren’t familiar with the water footprint concept before, hopefully you now can see why so many are interested in this subject. For more than 100 other water-saving tips check out this page.
AUSTIN, Texas—Target (NYSE:TGT) is using mobile, not just as means to deliver discounts, but as a way to solve problems for its shoppers and create a more personalized experience that instills loyalty.
That was the message delivered by Target’s VP of Product, Alan Wizemann, at RetailLoco, which was held in conjunction with SXSW Interactive. Sponsored by the Location Based Marketing Association, RetailLoco is a one-day event focused on mobile marketing.
Mobile is now critical to Target’s growth. In fact, it’s so critical that Target CEO Brian Cornell has dubbed the retailer’s strategy “Brick and Mobile.”
“Mobile is becoming increasingly important to all digital retailers, and given the profile of our guests, it’s particularly important for Target, as mobile accounted for more than 40 percent of our digital orders in the fourth quarter,” said Cornell during a conference call with analysts. “And notably on Black Friday, 10 percent of our iPhone app revenue was from guests purchasing on their phone while they were simultaneously shopping one of our stores.”
To that end, Target is testing and evaluating a variety of mobile programs.
“Not one technology is going to be a solution for us,” Wizemann said. However, the plethora of technologies are also a double-edged sword: “There are multiple technologies and integration to multiple apps. You get too much noise, too much static.”
Rather than inundating shoppers with marketing messages, Target is choosing to focus on apps and features that solve problems for shoppers, preferably before the shopper realizes there is a problem, Wizemann said.
For Target, that means features that help shoppers navigate large stores, as well as time-saving devices such as organizational tools for creating lists. In-store pickup has proven to be a hit with shoppers—customers made more than 400,000 in-store pickups during the 2014 Black Friday week—and Target is currently testing curbside pickup at a handful of locations in California.
“Some of the testing around that data has been remarkably interesting, [particularly] around the speed point, but we’re not sharing that yet,” Wizemann said.
Target is testing “endless aisle” applications that will ultimately facilitate order fulfillment in stores and extend the product assortment to the retailer’s smaller stores, including Target Express.
“As we move into smaller stores, we want to have the same journey for our guests, the same assortment,” Wizemann said. “[Mobile] allows us to turn those screens into a more personalized experience. We can do some pretty amazing things with small-format stores with fulfillment methodologies.”
Target currently has two apps: the flagship Target app and the Cartwheel app created to deliver discounts to shoppers in-store. Wizemann said the retailer has begun to integrate components of Cartwheel into the flagship app, but as in most mobile initiatives, Target’s dilution of services into two apps may create problems that still need to be resolved.
“Both are leading in the app store from a retail standpoint,” he said. “We are finding guests are either in one or the other.”
President Obama Launches New White House Supply Chain Innovation Initiative; and Funding to Support Small Manufacturers
In Cleveland, Ohio, the President launches ninth manufacturing hub competition and announces measures to strengthen the small manufacturers that power America’s supply chains.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today the President is announcing nearly $500 million in public-private investment to strengthen American manufacturing by investing in cutting-edge technologies through a new, textiles-focused manufacturing institute competition led by the Department of Defense, and by sharpening the capabilities of small manufacturers through Manufacturing Extension Partnership competitions in twelve states. The White House, as detailed in a new report, is also launching a Supply Chain Innovation Initiative focused on building public-private partnerships to strengthen the small U.S. manufacturers that anchor the nation’s supply chains.
The President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, to create jobs and strengthen America’s leadership in advanced manufacturing technology, provides the resources to double the number of manufacturing innovation institutes nationwide to 16 by the end of 2016 and fulfills the President’s goal of building a network of up to 45 institutes over the decade. In contrast, the House Republican Budget released yesterday entrenches the harmful sequester levels of funding and proposes to eliminate the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, putting at risk critical investments in advanced manufacturing, workforce development and training, and innovation proposed in the President’s Budget.
After a decade of decline in the 2000s when 40 percent of all large factories closed their doors, American manufacturing is adding jobs at its fastest rate in decades, with 877,000 new manufacturing jobs created since February 2010. Ohio alone has added nearly 70,000 manufacturing jobs over that period. Manufacturing production is up by almost a third since the recession and the number of factories manufacturing across the United States is growing for the first time since the 1990s.
In addition to announcing new competitions for nearly $500 million in public and private investment the President is calling on Congress to do its part to make the bipartisan investments needed to strengthen manufacturing across the United States, including in places like Ohio.
Click here to find the new White House and Department of Commerce report on strengthening small manufactures: LINK
Investing Nearly $500 Million to Strengthen U.S. Advanced Manufacturing:
More than $150 Million in Public-Private Investment through a New Manufacturing Innovation Institute Competition
Today, the Department of Defense is launching a competition for leading manufacturers, universities, and non-profits to form a new manufacturing hub focused on revolutionary fibers and textiles technologies. The $75 million federal investment will be matched by more than $75 million of private sector resources.
This is the ninth competition for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation institute, and the first of eight new institutes that the President’s budget proposes to fund by the end of 2016. Returning to sequestration levels for appropriations, as the House Republican Budget proposes, would put this expansion at risk.
The first institute awarded is in Youngstown, Ohio. Only in its third year, it is already drawing investment to Ohio—including a $32 million job-creating investment in the region from GE—and advancing research that will help accelerate the speed of 3-D printing in metals by a factor of ten.
$320 Million Competition to Strengthen Small Manufacturers in 12 States
Non-profits in 12 states will compete for $158 million in Federal funds matched by $158 million or more in private investment over five years to provide technology and engineering expertise to small manufacturers through the latest round of competitions to strengthen the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)’s network of centers in these states.
Today, the President will tour MAGNET’s Manufacturing Innovation Center at Cleveland State University, the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership affiliate.
In contrast, the House Republican Budget proposes to end funding for the MEP, dealing a blow to the 30,000 small manufacturers the program serves, including the more than 450 Ohio manufacturers served by MAGNET, the Ohio MEP affiliate, in recent years.
New White House Supply Chain Innovation Initiative
The President will unveil a White House Supply Chain Innovation Initiative focused on building public-private partnerships to strengthen the small U.S. manufacturers and a new report on the need to further strengthen small manufacturers that form the backbone of America’s supply chains and play an increasingly important role in creating and retaining manufacturing jobs and investment in the United States.
More than $150 Million for a New Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute Competition:
As part of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, each manufacturing institute serves as a regional hub for leadership in emerging manufacturing technologies, bridging the gap between early research and product development by bringing together companies, universities and other academic and training institutions, and Federal agencies to co-invest in key technology areas that can encourage investment and production in the United States.
The new competition, kicked off by the Department of Defense is the ninth manufacturing innovation institute competition launched by the Administration to date, joining the eight institutes already underway. The Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute will ensure that America remains at the leading edge of fiber science, through a $75 million public investment matched by more than $75 million of private investment in researching, prototyping, and commercializing fibers with extraordinary properties. Known astechnical textiles, these modern-day fabrics and fibers boast novel properties ranging from being incredibly lightweight and flame resistant, to having exceptional strength and electronic sensors. With wide-ranging applications, technical textiles can forge the foundation of protective gear for firefighters impervious to the hottest flames, replicate the sensing capabilities of a smart watch into a lightweight fabric, or detect when a wounded soldier needs to be treated with an antimicrobial compression bandage.
After a decade of decline in U.S. manufacturing during the 2000s, the American textile industry is adding jobs for the first time in two decades, increasing shipments by nearly a fifth since the recession, and winning globally with a 45 percent increase in exports since 2009. Today’s announcement builds on this momentum in American textile manufacturing and lays the foundation for future leadership in the production of sophisticated fibers and textile technologies.
$320 Million Public-Private Manufacturing Extension Partnership Competition to Expand Services to Strengthen Small Manufacturers:
The more than 230,000 small manufacturers in the U.S. employ 42 percent, or almost half, of all manufacturing workers. However, small manufacturers often trail their larger peers in adopting the latest technologies and practices to increase their competitiveness and productivity, with many small manufacturers in need of access to capital and expertise to adopt the latest innovations in manufacturing – like 3-D printing, advanced sensors, and digital design – that can help sharpen their edge.
Across the country, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a state-federal network of 60 centers and 1,200 manufacturing experts, helps small manufacturers improve their production processes, upgrade their technological capabilities, and bring new products to market.
Today’s MEP competition will award nearly $32 million annually for five years across twelve states – an expected total of $158 million matched at least dollar-for-dollar by $158 million or more of non-federal funding – to strengthen and reinvest in this nationwide network of manufacturing expertise. Non-profits working with manufacturers in each of the twelve states will have the opportunity to compete for cooperative agreements to operate MEP centers and expand the range of lean production and technology acceleration services offered to small manufacturers, and help bring their products to market. Annual funding is subject to continued performance and the availability of appropriations. New MEP competitions are being launched in 12 states: Alaska, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
For more on the competition, applicants should visit the NIST MEP competition website. A public webinar for applications will be conducted on Monday, March 30th, 2015 at 2:00 pm EST.
A public-private partnership, the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership helps small manufacturers compete, increasing employment and investment across the country and generating a high return on public investment. Every dollar of federal investment in the MEP translates into $19 dollars of new sales for small manufacturers, or almost $2.5 billion annually across the 30,000 small manufacturers that MEP serves. Since it was founded in 1988, MEP has worked with nearly 80,000 manufacturers, leading to $88 billion in sales and $14 billion in cost savings, and helping small manufacturers create more than 729,000 new jobs. Today’s announcement represents the second round of competitions as part of a multi-year plan to launch new competitions to strengthen the MEP network of centers in every state.
New White House Supply Chain Innovation Initiative:
The new White HouseSupply Chain Innovation Initiative announced today follows on the President’s State of the Union commitment to improve the access of small- and medium-sized manufacturers to technologies and resources they need to improve their innovation and productivity through public private partnerships and new federal efforts.
As discussed in depth in a new White House and Department of Commerce report, a dense network of small manufacturers makes up the backbone of America’s supply chains, contributing more than 40 percent of all manufacturing employment. However, even as their share of U.S. manufacturing employment grows, small firms continue to face stiff challenges in innovation. As the new report finds –
Small manufacturers are playing an increasingly important role in U.S. supply chains and the manufacturing sector overall. Today, small manufacturers employ 42 percent – or nearly half of all U.S. manufacturing workers – up ten percentage points from their share in the 1980s.
Dense networks of these small manufacturers are vital to the process of taking a product from concept to market, and the exchange of manufacturing know-how across suppliers is essential for the diffusion of the new product ideas and innovative processes that give U.S. manufacturing its cutting edge.
However, because of the unique barriers they face, small manufacturers often lag their larger peers in adopting critical new technologies. For example, a recent survey found that fewer than 60 percent of small manufacturers were experimenting in any way with 3-D printing, a potentially transformative technology that is especially beneficial for small companies due to its flexibility. In contrast, over 75 percent of large firms were using the technology.
The White House Supply Chain Innovation Initiative will focus on public-private partnerships and new federal efforts to strengthen U.S. manufacturing overall by closing this gap.
Later this year, the Administration will convene a Supply Chain Innovation Roundtable of CEOs and representatives of leading manufacturers committed to partnering with the small businesses in their supply chains to accelerate technology adoption, strengthen the linkages within domestic supply chains, and to improve product design and process engineering. In addition, the Departments of Commerce, Energy, and Defense, as well as the Small Business Administration, will announce additional Federal efforts to help small firms adopt cutting-edge technologies and improve information flow within supply chains.
The Supply Chain Innovation Roundtable builds on the Administration’s successful SupplierPay initiative which has brought together close to 50 companies, including Lockheed Martin, Rolls Royce, and IBM, to strengthen small businesses by increasing their working capital.
While strengthening our capabilities at home, the Administration is also taking key steps to provide U.S. manufacturers with new markets and new consumers throughout the world. Through trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Administration is breaking down barriers to U.S. exports, leveling the playing field when it comes to labor and environmental standards, and, for the first time, focusing on improving the ability of small businesses to export to these new markets.