How a digital factory can transform company culture

September 19, 2017 Leave a comment



Companies are beginning to use digital factories as incubators of more agile ways of working, often filtering the best attributes of the factory culture back to the larger organization.

A digital factory often calls for a whole new set of rules, including increased agility, new technology solutions, and cross-functional teams. Those differences have often spelled success for companies trying to develop and push out new digital capabilities quickly. In this episode of the McKinsey Podcast, senior partner Rohit Bhapkar and partner Joao Dias speak with McKinsey’s Barr Seitz about the challenges leaders might face in building digital factories and how to set themselves up for the best results.


How a digital factory can transform company culture

Podcast transcript

Barr Seitz: Hello, and welcome to the McKinsey Podcast. I’m Barr Seitz, global publishing lead from McKinsey’s Marketing & Sales and Digital Practices, and I’m very happy to be joined today by Joao Dias, a partner based in McKinsey’s Cologne office, and Rohit Bhapkar, a senior partner in our Toronto office.

They are also the coauthors of the article “Scaling a transformative culture through a digital factory.” For today’s conversation, we’ll be discussing what a digital factory is, how senior leaders can overcome the management challenges in setting one up and running it, and what it takes to get started.

So, let’s dive in. Joao, I’d like to ask you the first question. In your article, you make the point that companies have had plenty of successes with small-scale digital pilots, but they start to run into real problems when they try to scale those digital programs across the business. Why is that? And why is setting up a digital factory one way to address that issue?

Joao Dias: Thank you, Barr. The issue that most companies face is that, when they start doing digital transformations and digital projects, they realize that they need to break a lot of rules. They need to break the rules on how to allocate people into the initiative, or how to fund the initiative, or even what technologies to use or what project models to use.

And it’s OK to do it in a pilot. Oftentimes, the CEO and most senior people pay a lot of attention to those pilots, and they help bend the rules or they just dictate that, for that short period of time, it’s OK to do as they do. But a CEO or a senior-executive team cannot spend all their time paving the way for it to happen.

That’s where a digital factory comes in. A digital factory is basically an organizational construct where you end up allowing for a number of rules to be different. Within that digital factory, it’s OK to work in an agile manner. It’s OK to use a different technology set. It’s OK to host a number of things on a quasi environment, for example. So the digital factory ends up being the setting of a whole new set of rules that allow people to work differently and give the senior team the space to then just sponsor it and support it instead of fighting every single fight, every single day.

Barr Seitz: Rohit, what exactly is a digital factory? Can you explain what one looks like, how it operates, and maybe give an example of a digital factory in action?

Rohit Bhapkar: Building off what Joao was talking about, one element is the culture and the operating model of the digital factory. This is generally a place where teams will work in very different ways than they may work in the rest of the organization. You can think of a digital factory as a construct of ten to 50 teams, squads, pods, whatever the name is. Usually each of these teams will be eight to 12 people, and they’ll be working on projects that build the digital capabilities of the organization.

As an example, a common thing for one of these teams to be working on is digitizing a customer journey like credit-card onboarding or small-business account opening. What you’ll have is a cross-functional team that comes together for a period of time to reimagine and build something really new for the bank. The team will generally have people from the digital factory, so people like designers, developers, product owners. And it might have some people from the legacy business, which helps with the whole culture change—so people from risk and operations and other parts of the business that are relevant to reimagining this journey.

The teams will work in what we call agile sprints. Every couple of weeks, they build some new part of the journey. They test it with customers, they refine, and they iterate.

Once they have something that they feel is worth testing in the market, they’ll create what we call an MVP, a minimum viable product. That will then be tested with a subset of customers and then eventually become the new way of credit-card onboarding or small-business account opening for the bank.

Another common element I see is the factory can be a place where some people maybe go work every day, and other people come a couple of days a week because they’re part of a project team. Or maybe people do a rotation through the factory. The factory can often be used as a tool for the broader organization to slowly transform itself, as well, over time.

Joao Dias: One exciting thing I find in digital factories is that yes, there are a number of things that are common across digital factories, but they are also very different. I’ve seen in a banking client of mine in Europe where they ended up having multiple branches of these factories because they thought it was important to locate the factories relatively close to the businesses that they were supporting. And so you would have factories in multiple cities, in multiple locations, all of them operating under the same rules and the same set of operating principles but located in different places.

Another client of mine, a much smaller organization, a very lean private-equity-owned institution, they ended up creating a digital factory that is very similar to the organization itself. It’s also very lean, very small, located in one of the floors of the main building. You can see how the factories end up mimicking the organizations that they belong to.

Barr Seitz: Are there any sectors that are in the lead when it comes to developing digital factories? And why is that the case?

Joao Dias: Let’s also be clear that the digital factory is a construct that serves the purpose of initiating and conducting the digital transformation of a business. It’s not the only construct for that. We see some sectors that are more developed, and particularly in some companies that are more developed, they end up doing the digital transformation in a much more organic way because their corporate centers already operate in a very agile way. They already have this set of rules applied to the normal company. So they don’t need to create this construct on the side. And we’ve seen that, for example, in banking, in some institutions in Europe.

Some other sectors, like pharma or energy, they tend to be a little bit behind because the customer behavior and the economic pressures are different compared to some of the other sectors. They tend to be in a phase where they do more pilots. Sectors like retail and consumer goods and media have been in the forefront of this for a long time, and you’ve seen them for a while having large-scale digital factories or even embedded in the organization.

Barr Seitz: If that’s the case, are the digital factories that banking, for example, is putting together applicable in terms of lessons that can be used for other sectors, such as pharma?

Rohit Bhapkar: As we’ve been talking about, a big component and a big reason for doing a digital factory, creating a digital factory, is the culture. The cultural challenge any large, complex, incumbent organization has as they attempt to digitally transform, there are similar challenges whether you’re a large bank or whether you’re a large telco or whether you’re a large oil and gas company. And so I do think the digital-factory construct is an important one to think about across all of those. All of the institutions are going to have to think about how do they recruit, attract, inspire, and retain a new kind of digitally native talent if they’re going to succeed going forward?

They’re all going to have to think about, when they do attract those people, how do they work in a way that is very, very different than the way they’ve probably worked for the last 20, 50, 100 years as an organization? This is around being more agile, being more customer centric, leveraging data and analytics in a different way.

In the factories I’ve seen that work very well, as Joao pointed out earlier, they challenge all of the norms of the organization, all of the existing rules around talent management, around operating model, around ways of working. They’re willing to try things and have them fail and then pivot. That kind of mind-set and that kind of environment is required for any organization that’s looking to go on this journey, sort of irrespective of what sector they’re in.

Barr Seitz: I want to dig into this point that you both have brought up on the idea of culture and how a digital factory can be an incubator for developing it. Rohit, you talked earlier about this idea of a digital factory being a place where you can infect the larger organization.

It’s an interesting visual, this idea of a culture farm around the factory, and, in fact, it highlights one of the main purposes of a factory. So, Rohit, could you talk more about how to set up a digital factory so that it really can be an incubator for digital culture?

Rohit Bhapkar: On the first point of how to start one, there are a couple of common things to have in place. One, you need leadership buy-in at the top of the organization, that this is an important piece of an overall transformation and that they’re going to be supportive not only in helping invest in and fund the factory but also in helping ensure that the factory is successful. So you need alignment and top-leadership support.

The name “factory” is interesting. With some of my clients, when we’ve chosen that name versus calling it a lab or an innovation center or something like that, the reason they liked “factory” is because they wanted the stuff that is produced in this construct, in this team, to actually be meaningful and real for customers, employees, and shareholders.

Having them work on things that are aligned with the business strategy and key objectives and top priorities of the business is a second, very important piece of this. If they’re just the lab that’s working on stuff that nobody will ever see or use, it may be a sexy idea at the beginning, but then it will fizzle out and it won’t infect the rest of the organization, as you put it.

Communication is a very important thing to think about in any transformation, especially one like this. How do you make sure people who maybe aren’t spending time in the factory understand what is going on there, feel a sense of pride and ownership for what is happening there, rather than maybe envy for what is happening there?

Using these kind of rotational ideas, where people are going to come spend four months, six months, a year working on a project in the factory is very important. Exporting the best ideas from the factory to the rest of the organization is very important, recognizing that the factory will be a test bed for some new ideas and maybe new tools and new types of capabilities, and the ones that really work and we think have relevance at scale, exporting those.

Joao Dias: Some organizations are very, very purposeful about that. So they will have organized programs for the senior group of the company to come and see and to sponsor elements of the digital factory and spend time there and discuss it. One traditional implication that I’ve seen in many clients is the expansion of agile operating models beyond the digital factory. People see how effective those are, how they help colleagues collaborate, how they help colleagues focus on the end product that they want to achieve instead of the internal bureaucracies. And so they realize that that is a big unlock for the new culture of the organization, and they start exporting it.

But there are others as well. Things like the design thinking that often comes into a digital factory, and having new skills such as understanding customers and what they want and how to design solutions for them.

Barr Seitz: You’ve talked very eloquently about how to export ideas from the digital factory into the larger business, but what sort of things can a business put in place to make sure that these ideas that come out of the factory, and are successful there, can really take and have an opportunity to flourish in the broader organization?

Joao Dias: I see three common struggles and three common themes that top managers end up having to take on themselves to support the development of a digital factory and then, as you were saying, the spread of it beyond. One is people. Finding the right leaders for the digital factory, not only at the leadership or at the top of the digital-factory level but beyond that.

That typically means finding people from within who are really scarce, who are the ones who will be needed in other parts of the organization, and therefore makes it a very painful trade-off that needs to happen. Oftentimes, it also means going out to the market and finding new blood to come in, which in some organizations can be painful, as well, particularly organizations that are more used to developing from within.

The second element is mandate and power, if you will—making sure that the digital factory has the set of governance opportunities or governance mandates to execute on what they need to execute. And it goes from very high-level, critical, business-related stuff, like being able to very quickly approve a new sales process that comes out of that digital factory and spread it through the organization or launch a new digital product online.

But also some more mundane and simple decisions arise, such as being able to make changes to an IT system and put it online live in very quick timeframes. Then the third one is, well, it’s about money. These digital factories do require resources, and they require funding to be allocated to this. If every single initiative within the digital factory has to go through a traditional funding-request process of a company, the whole digital factory is a nonstarter from the beginning.

So this whole notion of allocating strategically, allocating resources for the digital factory and protecting it, it’s an important decision that oftentimes is difficult for top management to do. But in my experience, if you, early on, as a top-management team, grind through these difficult trade-offs and difficult decisions, it paves the way for the digital factories to flourish and then to expand beyond it.

Rohit Bhapkar: A couple of things I’d push folks to think about. One is being very clear about what is the culture change we’re trying to create. We can talk a lot about culture and being faster, but I think clarity from the top team on what is the culture shift we’re trying to create is very important, and making sure everybody in the organization understands that.

One of my clients framed it as a series of four performance-oriented culture shifts they wanted to make and then four what they called customer-oriented culture shifts they wanted to make.

Then, as Joao alluded to, it’s all about leadership. You have to have leaders throughout the organization, at the top of the house and throughout middle management, who are committed to helping drive the change and helping their people through that. The factory can only do so much.

Another piece that the factory can be a big help with is creating symbols or lighthouses of the change we’re trying to create. If one of the things you’re trying to move is this idea of velocity and building things faster and doing things faster, if the factory can help show that it can be done, it will inspire others in the organization. It will quiet those who say, “Oh, we’ve never been able to do things in a fast way, and so why would we believe we can do it now?”

Barr Seitz: Rohit, I’m sure you would agree that very few businesses have not already tried something in terms of a digital transformation. Everyone’s launching pilots and trying experiments. How would they pivot from what they’ve been doing to moving toward more of a digital-factory model? And how would you advise them to start?

Rohit Bhapkar: There are a couple of different ways I think about it. One is you can maybe start the factory as a virtual factory, if you will, in that you tie together, like how Joao was describing, a few of the different initiatives that are already going on under the same set of rules and culture and operating model.

The times I’ve seen where people have made really bold bets on this, it’s been around getting a clear sense of what is the mission for the digital factory going to be. In a banking context, you might say the digital factory is there to support the migration of our customers in terms of digital sales, service, and engagement and building the capabilities to support our customers.

In an energy company, you might say, “We want to dramatically increase the level of automation and monitoring that happens in our mines,” thinking a little bit about, OK, so what is the talent we need to be able to start to deliver on those things; starting to think about the number of people we’d need, how many of those can come internal, how many can come external; starting to think about, as we talked about earlier, the culture shift we want the factory to help create and what does that mean for the setup; then, as Joao pointed out, thinking about the ring-fenced funding and leadership for the factory and what it’s going to require.

Barr Seitz: I really like that point about how important it is to get a clear sense of what the mission is for the digital factory to be successful. And it’s a good point for us to end on because I’m afraid we’re out of time. Thank you, Joao and Rohit, for joining me for this conversation.

Joao Dias: Thank you, Barr.

Rohit Bhapkar: Thank you, Barr.

Barr Seitz: You can read their article, “Scaling a transformative culture through a digital factory,” on, and you can keep up with the latest from McKinsey on digital topics by following us on Twitter, @McKinseyDigital. Thank you for joining us today.McKinsey.pngMcKinsey.png

Categories: Uncategorized

Oli Gardner, computer vision, and 102 million reasons AI will change everything — VB Engage

September 14, 2017 Leave a comment


This week, Travis and Stewart discuss the implications of the largest AI funding round in history, let alone one of the biggest Canada has ever seen. They also dig into eBay’s foray into computer vision, how image search will be bigger than conversational UI, and what is going on in the world of rewarded video ads.

We then launch our CTAConf series of interviews with the amazing and outgoing Oli Gardner of Unbounce, in a session that was recorded live on stage in front of 1,000+ people in Vancouver. Get ready to have your mind blown.


By listening to this episode of VB Engage, you will hear:

  • Welcome to VB Engage episode 62! [0:10]
  • Stewart is in SF this week, as he is bouncing around the world [00:45]
  • This week we begin our Unbounce CTAConf series of interviews with Oli Gardner, which was recorded ONSTAGE in front of 1,200 CTA attendees! [01:20]
  • Element AI raised $102 million, which is the largest round ever for an artificial intelligence company. [02:00]
  • Its value prop is Element AI, which helps turns the world’s leading AI research into transformative business applications. [02:45]
  • This is one of the biggest fund raises in Canada, so much so that the Prime Minister of Canada called the CEO of Element AI. [03:25]
  • Toronto is a hotbed for great startups. [03:55]
  • eBay announces computer vision search that helps you identify items using photos. [04:20]
  • User-generated content is such a valuable marketing tool that we had Damien Mahoney, the CEO of Stackla, on to discuss that in episode 57. [05:00]
  • You can take photos of things, and the AI will identify the products for sale on eBay. [05:20]
  • Google Lens visual search is launching soon, as well. [05:50]
  • Pinterest also has a visual search tool that’s similar. [06:10]
  • eBay brings eCommerce and UGC together with visual search. [06:20]
  • Stewart predicts visual search and computer vision will become more popular than conversational UI. [07:00]
  • When you are in public, conversational UI lacks privacy. [07:25]
  • Travis predicts visual search and AR. [07:45]
  • Rewarded video ads grew 80 percent in the past year, according to Tapjoy. [08:20]
  • The conversion rates on rewarded video ads are much higher than industry standards. [09:45]
  • Last week at TUNE’s Postback conference, the main topic of discussion was mobile advertising. [11:00]
  • Travis keeps seeing this fitness trainer management app, which he’s obviously not in the demographic for! [11:45]
  • Travis and Stewart enter the stage at the Unbounce CTAConf in Vancouver. [12:20]

  • After the quick intro and some average jokes, Oli Gardner, cofounder of Unbounce, comes onto the stage. [14:45]
  • This episode quickly earns the NSFW label beside it in the podcast store. [15:00]
  • Now our podcast is going to get all of the traffic! Cuss words are the future! [15:40]
  • “Unbounce markets marketing to marketers using marketing content to help them be better marketers.” [16:10]
  • 99.2 percent of Unbounce’s conversions take place on a desktop. Either mobile isn’t that important in B2B marketing or Unbounce sucks at conversion. [16:40]
  • Travis asks how AI and machine learning will affect landing pages. [17:15]
  • AI could be using every test on every parameter and give you the exact recommendations most likely to convert. [18:00]
  • Some things aren’t predictive when it comes to website conversion. [19:00]
  • Emotional intelligence is what is missing from artificial intelligence. [19:50]

  • Digital empathy is not very far away. [20:15]
  • Unbounce’s data science team said they are working on neural networks to attempt to figure out design recommendations. [21:05]
  • What about the future of landing pages? Will AR or VR have landing pages? [23:05]
  • How do you turn a distraction into something delightful? You can watch people wear VR and monitor behavioral changes. [24:10]
  • Unbounce has a very balanced speaker lineup and has launched a great initiative to inspire and empower women speakers at conferences. [25:00]
  • The main concept came from five women in Unbounce around diversity and came up with #PresentHer, which has evolved into [25:50]
  • That will be a series of training to help women develop excellent presentation skills. [26:00]
  • What should marketers be thinking about the future of marketing with all of this AI, deep learning, and the technology explosion of the next 5-10 years? [27:00]
  • Continue to be a good person. [27:45]
  • Travis circles back to Oli’s earlier question about desktop conversions for Unbounce, which stands at 99.2 percent, and why mobile is so poor.[28:10]
  • It’s all about attribution. That’s the key for mobile, and it’s not quite there yet. [29:25]
  • We end the live session and do our end of show recap. [30:30]
  • BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. We have an off-stage bonus chat with the CTO of Unbounce, Carl Schmidt. [30:50]
  • This is like a DVD extras reel with Carl, except these are 4K extras. [31:25]
  • Carl’s team was leading a project test at the conference around “are humans or machines better at predicting the better conversion rate.” [32:00]
  • They tested their machine learning and AI game to see if their code can beat humans’ intuitive. [33:00]
  • 437 marketers took the test. People guessed the correct answer 50 percent of the time. A coin flip. And machines guessed it correctly 79.7 percent of the time. [33:55]
  • 3 out of 4 of those taking the test at #CTAConf were probably drunk marketers. [34:45]
  • CMO Jeremy Wallace should consider using this humans vs. machines conversion test as a game for non-CTAConf attendees. [35:10]
  • Connect with Carl on Twitter: @Schmidtdisturbr and with Oli: @OliGardner

Next week on episode 63, we have the second of our Unbounce CTA Conference interviews, with the Wizard of MozRand Fishkin.

If you missed last week’s episode, we interviewed the awesome Cathy Hackl, who is helping big brands get real returns from VR and AR, even at this early “Wild West” stage of the game. Cathy schools us in what works, what doesn’t, and what the future holds.

As always, thanks for tuning into VB Engage. Last year, VB Engage had over 880,000 readers and downloads, but very few reviews on iTunes.

This week, we’re asking you to review us on iTunes. Or, in other words, quit being a freeloader, listening for free, and not reviewing anything. Jeez.

Were you born in a barn? (We’re just playing with you, obviously.)

Categories: Uncategorized

The best 3D body scanners in 2017

September 14, 2017 Leave a comment


We made this list of the best 3D scanners available on the market ranked by alphabetical order.
Please note that we have not included in this list handheld 3D scanners which can sometimes be used for body scanning purposes. We only focus on full body scanners and 3D scanning booths.

*MSRP: Manufacturer’s suggested retail price in May 2017.

What is a 3D body scanner?

A 3D body scanner, also called full body scanner, is a “device that detects objects on a person’s body […] without physically removing clothes or making physical contact” (source Wikipedia). A 3D body scanner allows to capture in 3D the shape of a person’s body and obtain a highly accurate 3D model based on the data captured (shape, measurements, etc). Depending on the intended application, the body scanner may also be able to capture colors and textures (useful for 3D printing miniature figurines).

Types of body scanners

There are different types of 3D body scanners and full body scanners available on the market, from 3D scanning booth and 3D scan cabins to body scanning rigs, body scanners with a rotating platform or even home body scanners embedded in a mirror, for personal use. In this article, we have regrouped some of the best 3D body scanners available on the market. You can  find below more information on the different types of body scanners, the price of 3D body scanners and the different application fields for 3D body scanning.

Methodology: how we selected the best 3D body scanners

A 3D scanner destined to body scanning

In this list we decided to focus on 3D scanners designed exclusively for 3D body scanning. Therefore you wont find any portable 3D scanners that could do 3D body scanning but are not made for it.

Available on the market

As mentioned in the title, the 3D body scanners we selected are all available on the market. The availability for a specific country depends on the model and the brand.

Community feedback and customer service

For this list, we selected 3D body scanners that seem to have a decent customer service. We do realize that these is a subjective point and that it is hard to evaluate whether a brand can be considered reliable or not. However as we scroll the internet we find information and, in addition, we get feedback from users, partners, etc. and we try to summarize these informations into keynotes.

Opinions may change over time and points of view can differ from one person to the other. So in completion of our lists and product pages, we still recommend looking for informations in forums, discussion groups, proprietary brands forums, etc.

Overview of the best 3D full body scanners

The Twindom Twinstant mobile is a great 3D body scanner to 3D scan human bodies and make 3D figurines.

Twindom Twinstant Mobile

  • Technology: hybrid 3D scanning technology (combination of structured light and photogrammetry)
  • Price: $26,995
  • Applications: 3D figurines

The Twinstant Mobile is a body scanning booth designed for 3D figurines and 3D photo businesses. This body scanning system is made of 89 custom cameras and 25 integrated projectors mounted on 17 poles, to provide a fast and accurate 3D body capture process. This 3D body scanner can 3D scan from one to four persons in 5 to 15 seconds. The Twinstant Mobile is a portable body scanner for making figurines which takes around 20 minutes to set up, making it the perfect solution for a 3D figurines business. It comes with a cloud software solution specifically designed to run a 3D figurine business.

Contact us to get more information and a free quote


  • Technology: Near-IR structured light
  • Price: $15,900
  • Applications:3D measurement, made-to-measure clothing, healthcare

The SYMCAD III is made by TELMAT Industrie, a French manufacturer. This body scanning booth is specifically designed for 3D body measurement, for made-to-measure clothing and custom fashion applications. It uses a near infrared structured light 3D scanning technology (Near-IR structured light) and is fitted with 16 sensors or more. The TELMAT Industrie SYMCAD III can capture a whole body shape in less than 1.5 seconds. The SYMCAD III can be equipped with additional modules for hand or foot 3D scanning.

Contact us to get more information and a free quote

Size Stream SS14 3D Body Scanner

  • Technology: structured light
  • Price: $10,000 – $20,000
  • Applications: 3D measurements, healthcare, fashion

The Size Stream 3D body scanner is a versatile full body measurement system, designed to capture thousands of data points to create a 3D model of a person’s body. The Size Stream SS14 is actually a 3D body scanning booth, primarily designed for 3D measurement to create custom clothing. The Size Stream body scanner can also be used in various applications, from 3D printing, measurement tracking, size surveys, and healthcare and fitness applications.

Contact us to get more information and a free quote

The proscanner by fit 3D is a great full body 3D scanner to help people achieve wight loss.

Fit3D Proscanner

  • Technology: structured light
  • Price: $10,000 – $20,000
  • Applications: fitness, healthcare

The Fit3D Proscanner is a 3D body scanner for fitness and healthcare applications. The Proscanner is designed to provide a comprehensive wellness assessment based on a detailed 3D body capture. It is mainly used in gyms, health clubs and fitness studios. The Fit3D Proscanner is able to 3D scan accurately a person in 40 seconds and provide a posture analysis as well as a body shape wellness score. The tracking of the results and their evolution can help users such as gym members reach their personal goals faster.

Contact us to get more information and a free quote

3D body scanners applications

3D printed figurines and 3D photo

Also known as 3D selfies or 3D portraits, these miniature figurines of people are typically 3D printed from a 3D model obtained with a full body 3D scanner, usually a 3D scanning booth such as the Twinstant Mobile. If you want to learn more about this application, you can visit our article dedicated to 3D printed figurines.

The 3D body scanners are often used to create 3D printed figurines as they are very fast and accurate.
3D body scanners are getting hot in fitness. They can help sports clubs to retain better their clients.

Fitness and personal health

Fitness body scanners

Body scanners are increasingly used in fitness clubs, gyms and healthcare facilities to view the body shape, measurements and other health indicators. Fitness body scanners allow to track the evolution of a person’s body through various 3D measurements such as body shape and posture. Visualizing these evolutions on a 3D avatar is a strong motivational boost which can help increase gym members engagement and improve patients recovery process.

Home body scanners

A new trend is appearing in the personal care/3D body scanner world: home 3D body scanners. These 3D body scanners are consumer appliances, designed to monitor personal health and body shape and posture evolution, among other data points. Home body scanners come in different forms and shapes, they usually have a rotating platform where the user stands to be captured at 360°. Home body scanners are targeting the fast-growing market of personal health and well-being and are often used as personal fitness trackers. These 3D body scanners typically work with a smartphone app acting as a personal trainer, so users can track all their data and reach their fitness goals easily.

3D measurement and made-to-measure clothing

The fashion industry was among the first to embrase 3D body scanning for several applications:

  • Fast and accurate 3d measurements
  • Made-to-measure clothing (bespoke clothing)
  • Recommendation of best fitting garment size
  • Measurement surveys and anthropometric characterization
  • Virtual fitting rooms: generate 3D avatar based on a full body scan to allow customers to effortlessly try-on clothes
3D body scanning is getting big on fashion as it help make custom clothes.
3D body scanning booth can help monitor a pregnancy making sure the evolution is good.

Healthcare and medical

The healthcare and medical sectors are filled with opportunities for 3D body scanning. From monitoring body shape and posture during a pregnancy, to capturing amputated limbs in 3D to make custom 3D printed prosthetics and more, body scanners are increasingly used for 3D body imaging use cases in the medical field.

Body scanning can also be used to accurately monitor skin recovery in the case of burns or to detect skin diseases at an early stage, thanks to specific 3D imaging systems for medical applications.

Categories of 3D body scanners

3D body scanning booths and 3D scanning cabins

A body scanning booth is a closed cabin, rigged with cameras or 3D scanners, designed to capture in three dimensions the full body of a person.These full body scanners look a bit like a regular fitting room.  To obtain a full body scan with a 3D body scanning booth, the subject stands in the middle of the cabin and holds a pose for a few seconds, the time necessary for the 3D scanner to capture images from all angles. The 3D software then reconstructs the final 3D model of the body by “stitching” together all the images, to generate a highly detailed 3D model, which can have colors and textures depending on the type of body scanners used.During the 3D capture process, the subject can either stand on a rotating turntable facing a fixed 3D body scanner, or stand still while the sensors located all around the body scanning booth capture images from all angles. There are several types of 3D scanning booths:

  • Closed 3D body scanning booth (body scan cabin)

A cabin is rigged with cameras or 3D scanners, allowing the person in the center of the booth to be captured in 3D from every angle.

  • Full body scanners with rotating platform or turntable

To use these body scanners, the person stands on a rotating table facing a 3D body scanner, typically a vertical unit. During the scanning phase, the turntable rotates on 360° allowing the subject to be captured from all angles. The 3D model is generated once the full rotation is complete.

More 3D printing resources

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  • Looking a 3D printer? Find out which printer is #1 with out ranking of the best 3D printers.
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Cornell University Body Scanning

September 14, 2017 Leave a comment




BODY SCAN TECHNOLOGY will help apparel firms improve the fit of their mass-produced clothing by providing valuable measurement data on consumer populations. Most systems for sizing ready-to-wear garments have been based on very limited information. Before scan studies were possible, the last traditional anthropometric (body-measurement) survey of the civilian population for apparel sizing purposes was conducted in 1941 and was not accurate for modern body shapes.

Population Studies

BODY SCAN TECHNOLOGY will help apparel firms improve the fit of their mass-produced clothing by providing valuable measurement data on consumer populations. Most systems for sizing ready-to-wear garments have been based on very limited information. Before new body scanner technology made anthropometric (body-measurement) studies affordable, many sizing systems were based on a traditional survey of the civilian population conducted in 1941 that is not accurate for today’s body shapes.

In the past, apparel firms have not had anthropometric data, and therefore based many decisions about sizing on experimentation and subsequent feedback from their customers. This is not a very effective system for gathering data, as most consumers make decisions about garment fit at home or in the fitting room and do not communicate their experiences reliably or at all.

Few traditional anthropometric surveys were conducted because of the high labor costs associated with measuring large numbers of people with traditional tools. Body scanners have changed this. Apparel companies will benefit from several anthropometric studies that have scanned or are currently scanning representative groups of people from the population. The goal of these studies is to gain a better understanding of the current human sizes and shapes in order to develop sizing systems that fit most of the population.

Body scans illustrate significant variation in proportions among three women, each of whom wears a size 10 pant. (Image: Cornell Body Scan Research Group)

The CAESAR study, an international anthropometric study conducted in the United States, the Netherlands, and Italy, was funded by the automotive, airline, and apparel industries and its data is being used in the design of many products. The Textile and Clothing Technology Corporation, [TC]2, organized a consortium of university and industry partners to collect 12,000 scans of men and women in 50 locations in the United States to create a database of civilian anthropometric data for the apparel industry. The data from this study, called SizeUSA, is widely used by apparel companies to help improve their sizing systems.

The last traditional anthropometric survey of the civilian population for apparel sizing purposes was conducted in 1941. (Image: Cornell Body Scan Research Group )

Sizing Systems

A sizing system is a set of clothing sizes that is created by an apparel firm to fit the range of people in a target market. The most common type of sizing system in the apparel industry starts with a base size which is then proportionally graded (scaled) to create a multiple set of sizes. Sizing systems can use generic labels, such as small, medium, large, and extra large; numbered sizes such as 10, 12, and 14; or body measurements such as 17″ neck and 32″ sleeve length. Sizing systems vary in range from only a few sizes to a full spectrum of sizes 2-20.

Typically, an apparel company arrives at a sizing system for a product line as follows. First, it defines a target market and typical customers by identifying demographic characteristics, such as age, income, ethnicity, and lifestyle. Then the firm chooses a single person — the “fit model” — to be the idealized body shape for that product and market. Prototype garments are created, then evaluated and modified in fitting sessions on the single fit model. A base size pattern, often size 8 for women, is perfected for this prototype garment, and proportional grade rules are used to scale a set of patterns up and down for the rest of the size range, e.g., 2-16.

Proportional grade rules do not address the differences in the basic shapes and body proportions of the population, such as small or large waist, short or long torso, or the differences across ages and target markets. A single fit model has a particular body shape that is translated to the full range of sizes. Providing good fit using a finite set of sizes for an almost infinite range of body types is a challenging task. The new information available from the 3D body scan research will help us meet this challenge.

The star on this graph identifies the fit model, whose measurements are used to develop a sizing system for a company’s target market. The other points on the graph display the pant fit for 140 female subjects with various body proportions. Since the pants for each subject were chosen by hip fit, the hip trend line (blue) is flattest, indicating the least variation in fit at the hip. The waist trend line (red) indicates the greatest variation in pant fit: people who have straighter proportions than the fit model will have tight pants at the waist. Those with curvy proportions are closer to the fit model’s measurements and are better fitted. (Image: Cornell Body Scan Research Group)
In standard grading, each pattern is scaled proportionally to the others, as seen in this stacked set of patterns. These proportions cannot reflect all of the body shapes in the population. (Image: Cornell Body Scan Research Group)
This sample grade rule table dictates adjustments at different locations on a pattern (indicated by the blue numbers) for the range of clothing sizes. (Image: Cornell Body Scan Research Group)

Our Initial Research Program

Research conducted by Cornell professors Susan Ashdown and Suzanne Loker (see Contributors) challenges some of the assumptions behind methods now used by apparel companies to develop sizing systems. Research projects explore the role body scan data can play in satisfying consumers’ desire for good fit while advancing the competitiveness of the domestic apparel industry. The focus of the research is to find ways to use body scanners to improve current practices. The initial research project at Cornell was funded by the National Textile Center and focused on improving ready-to-wear sizing systems.

Initial research focused on the development of protocols for collecting body scan data — including issues such as what each study participant should wear, how they should be positioned, and how the data should be organized and measured. The software that comes with the body scanner creates automatic lists of linear measurements very quickly, but this is only a fraction of the information that is available from a body scan. So the next step was to look for additional software tools to analyze the data in other ways.

Ashdown and Loker adopted a program that was created for the automotive industry, where 3D scanning is extensively used in design. The program (Polyworks, by Innovmetric) merges into one layer the overlapping data from different camera views. The software also has tools that can be used to patch holes in the scan, so that linear, surface area, slice area, and volume measures can be made of the body. Finally, several 3D visualization options are available so that users can view the body scan as a smooth surface, points, or slices, and can rotate, reposition, and zoom in to critical fit areas.

New ways to visualize and measure misfit are also made possible by this software. In the past we could only look at the garment from the outside and see where it stretches or sags. Now we can actually measure the space between the outside of the body and the inside of the clothing — the very essence of fit!

Four kinds of measurements reveal much about body shape and clothing fit: volumes, surface areas, linear measures (circumferences), and slice areas (cross sections). (Image: Deviron, LLC)

In their first major project Ashdown and Loker collected body scan data on women from an apparel company’s specific target market. Subjects were scanned to capture their body size and shape, and were scanned again wearing the best-fitting pants from the company’s size range. The measurement differences between the body and pant scan define the level of fit or misfit. This is a new kind of information that can be used to evaluate the company’s sizing system and to propose changes that will fit more of the target market, i.e., increase the number of people that the company wants as customers who can find garments that fit well.

New sizing systems and grade rules may be recommended based on the results of this study. The goal of the research is to provide a model process and mathematical approach to improve fit for individual companies based on their target markets and current sizing systems.

The Lycra scanning suit was designed to be worn over the subject’s ordinary underwear to make the scan process more comfortable. (Image: University Photography)
For the first time, we can visualize and measure the space between the body and clothing and truly capture the fit of the garment. (Image: Adriana Petrova)

Consumer Reactions

Commercial applications of body scanning — mass-customized clothing, improved ready-to-wear sizing systems, and virtual try-on — will not be viable if consumers do not want to be scanned. We asked the women scanned in our study about their comfort and interest in body scanning. We found the answer to be a resounding “yes” for interest and comfort, regardless of size, age, or their satisfaction with the fit of available ready-to-wear pants. Almost all were willing to be scanned again and many were willing to be scanned every year or whenever their weight changed.

Participants were less comfortable seeing their scans as a still or moving picture on the computer screen and least comfortable showing their scans to family and friends. To address this issue, we have pursued some ideas to increase the comfort people have in viewing their own scan. These include abstracting the scan by reducing the number of data points, changing the color and lighting on the scans, and placing several scans together for context.

We also found very positive reactions to commercial applications using body scan data. Participants found the virtual try-on application more appealing than custom-fit clothing or patterns, size prediction, or personal shopper applications. They also selected virtual try-on as the most likely to influence them to buy more clothing on the Internet. Virtual try-on, custom-fit clothing, and personal shopper were rated highest in helping to find clothing that looks good on the body, and custom-fit and size prediction were rated highest in helping to find clothing that fits. Participant confidence was also extremely high in the applications of body scan data as an effective way to obtain body measurements, as an effective means to obtain good fit, and in trusting an online screen image of their own body more than an idealized body shape.

The participants in the study found the virtual try-on application of body scan data most appealing. (3D Models: WPG. Scan Data: Cornell Body Scan Research Group)

Research still needs to be conducted on men and people of other ages, though our results suggest that consumers are willing to have their bodies scanned. If the same results are found with future studies, other problems may remain: How easy will it be to change the ways consumers shop and buy clothing? Will they be willing to view their clothed body scan on a computer screen instead of touching and trying on actual garments? Much work remains.

A 3D body scan shows the body in a new way and can be uncomfortable to view. Scan subjects may be more comfortable viewing their scans in an abstract format, such as the one on the right, rather than one that captures every detail of the body. (Image: Katherine Schoenfelder)

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Like It or Not, Smartphones with Biometrics Will Soon Be the Norm

September 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Apple’s Face ID is riding a wave of security technology offered by manufacturers

September 14, 2017

This week Apple unveiled a facial recognition feature called Face ID to be included on its high-end iPhone X. The company explained that the device uses a combination of light projection and an infrared camera to create a 3-D map of a user’s face.

Apple has used biometrics on its devices since 2013, when it announced the iPhone 5s would include a fingerprint scanner to support its then-new Touch ID security protocol.

But Apple is actually a bit late to the game with Face ID. Rival manufacturer Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S8—which was released in the US in April—includes facial and iris recognition technology, along with a fingerprint scanner, something noticeably absent from the iPhone X.

The announcement sparked more than a few responses that raised some potential security pitfalls of Apple’s facial recognition technology. Unfortunately for those wary of the supposed infallibility of biometrics, there’s some bad news.

New research from Acuity Market Intelligence found that biometric technology will soon be ubiquitous on smartphones. The firm projects that nearly two-thirds of smartphones shipped worldwide this year will feature some sort of biometric capability. But it also estimates that by 2019, all smartphones worldwide will ship with biometric technology embedded in them.

Share of Mobile Device Shipments Worldwide with Biometric Capability, by Device Type, 2016-2020 (% of total)

Fingerprint scanners are now a commonplace feature on Android devices, where the technology has migrated downmarket from flagship devices to midtier offerings. In fact, Acuity Market Intelligence kept track of smartphone models that offered biometrics, but gave up on the practice in January 2017 after the number topped 500.

Wearables and tablets will be slower to adopt biometric technology, however. Acuity Market Intelligence estimates that just 41.2% of tablets will have biometric capabilities this year, while 54.5% of wearables will host the technology.

But the research firm expects biometric technology will become ubiquitous on those devices by 2020.

In many cases consumers leery of using biometrics to unlock their devices can opt out of the feature by relying on a pin code or some other security protocol. And there’s some data to suggest that a sizable number of smartphone users might do just that.

A recent survey from online payments firm Paysafe found that 40% of respondents in the US, UK and Canada thought biometrics were too risky to be used to process payments. Another 24% were uncomfortable with biometrics, but expected some merchants would compel their use.

Rahul Chadha

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Fierce Retail Weekly News

September 12, 2017 Leave a comment


Today’s Rundown

  1. 99% of consumers still buy groceries in person
  2. Instagram’s influence on fashion purchases
  3. Retail Roundup—Rue21 plans reorganization; Target drops prices

Featured Story

99% of consumers still buy groceries in person

Although many retailers are experimenting with digital forms of grocery shopping, it seems most consumers are still buying some or all of their groceries at a brick-and-mortar location. Only 1% of consumers solely buy groceries online.

Top Stories

Instagram’s influence on fashion purchases

Instagram is having a big impact on apparel purchases. In fact, 1 in 3 respondents has used Instagram while inside a retail store to help make a buying decision.

Retail Roundup—Rue21 plans reorganization; Target drops prices

Rue21 plans for bankruptcy reorganization, Target drops prices to stay competitive, plus more need-to-know news from the world of retail.


[eBook] Creating a Unified, Personalized Shopping Experience with Live Data

Tracking shoppers across channels and serving up useful products and solutions in real time is within reach. Download this eBook to learn how to successfully compile data from all available sources into actionable information.

[eBook] Creating a Unified, Personalized Shopping Experience with Live Data

Tracking shoppers across channels and serving up useful products and solutions in real time is within reach. Download this eBook to learn how to successfully compile data from all available sources into actionable information.

[Whitepaper] Leveling the Playing Field: Leveraging Brick and Mortar Advantages to Compete with eCommerce

Brick and mortar retailers have always been about personal interaction; and people will pay to get it.

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Calling all Retailers! We want to hear from you! Take the Survey

September 12, 2017 Leave a comment


We want to hear from you! Take the Survey 

Calling all Retailers!

In an effort to evaluate mobile and online ordering processes along with order pickup models, we ask you to complete this brief survey, sponsored by Apex Supply Chain Technologies.

Results from this survey will be referred to in an upcoming guide covering the click-and-collect experiences and best practices for deployment of fully automated self-serve order pickup.


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