3 Reasons Why Immersive VR is the Tool of the Future

Virtual reality is one of the hottest topics in tech today. While there's no shortage of skeptics predicting VR’s eventual demise, the fact is virtual innovation is growing at an exponential rate—and its ability to create groundbreaking solutions can’t be denied, or ignored. 

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Understanding Data: Why CPG Needs VR

Most of retail is going through an identity crisis of sorts right now, and everyone is understandably a bit on edge. What will the implications be after Amazon acquires Whole Foods? In the future, will everything really be all online? Should brick and mortar stores invest more in beefing up their digital presence, or focus more on in-store experiences?

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In the Digital Age, What Does it Mean to be a Merchant?

Most of us can agree that the retail industry is in the middle of a huge transformation: stores are changing their footprints, consolidating, and scrambling to figure out how to keep up with the needs and wants of the modern shopper. They’re looking for ways to seamlessly marry e-commerce with in-store shopping in order to create a cohesive experience, and they’re seeking out the latest technologies that will help them stay ahead of trends.

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FDA Guidelines Don’t Have to Spell Disaster

             Image courtesy of fda.gov The evolution in shopping preferences toward organic, health-focused, sustainable and locally-sourced food and products has had a large part in creating the intensely competitive landscape the retail industry finds itself in today. Policy changes from local public health officials and the FDA—such as the recent “soda tax” laws that have gone into effect across the country—reflect society’s demands, but have put even more strain on CPG manufacturers struggling to keep up. Whether it’s a relatively small change or a big statute overhaul, these kinds of evolutionary rule enforcements can wreak havoc on a company’s go-to-market process.

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When AI & VR Collide: The New Frontier of Retail

  If you’re not a serious technology buff, there’s a good chance that your concept of artificial intelligence doesn’t extend much further than knowing someone who owns an Amazon Echo. AI might simply seem like a buzzword, a trendy idea that conjures a futuristic world of robot butlers and self-driving cars. But the fact is, robots and self-driving cars are already here—along with a whole array of AI capabilities that you’ve probably never even considered.

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The “Soda Tax” & What it Means at the Shelf

This post was updated August 1, 2017. A Cook County-mandated sugar-sweetened beverage (SBB) tax (or “soda tax”) went into effect August 1, 2017, that adds one-cent-per-ounce of beverages containing sugar or artificial sweetener, including juice drinks, soda, sports drinks and flavored waters. The revenue from the tax is set to be allocated toward promoting public health and reducing obesity rates in Cook County. Similar taxes have been proposed or have already been implemented in many localities including Berkeley, Calif.; Boulder, Col.; Philadelphia; and Seattle—but with varying results and amid much protest.

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Nonstop VR at Techweek's FinTech Event

The tech scene in Chicago is no joke, which is why industry vets and budding entrepreneurs alike flock together each year during Techweek for speaking sessions, demos and parties. This year we were invited to attend as one of a few select companies to demo VR at Chicago Tech Meets FinTech: A Peek Inside Capital One. The event, held at Capital One’s new 50th floor collaboration space, offered robot wars, virtual reality experiences, music, food and drinks, and was a hit with the over 400 attendees.

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Amazon, Whole Foods, and the Future of Brick and Mortar

As the news broke today that Amazon is buying Whole Foods for more than $13 billion, the industry began buzzing about what such a huge acquisition means for retail. The fact is, Whole Foods, while wildly popular, still struggled with the pressures felt by all brick and mortar retailers today—namely, the need to continually innovate and evolve along with the constantly moving landscape. The push for online, local and organic grocery has contributed to the competitive market.

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VR with a View: VRARA Chicago

We knew Chicago was already on the road to becoming a legitimate tech hub when we started InContext back in 2009. But never has it been so obvious just how innovative the city has really become than learning about some amazing startups at the VR/AR Association Chicago chapter launch event that took place yesterday evening.

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Apple Tells Us What We Already Knew: VR is Here to Stay

If it wasn’t pretty obvious already, Apple just made it loud and clear that VR isn’t a passing fad. Virtual reality has always been a PC-users’ game, but that changed this week when Apple announced its new computers will be able to support external graphics hardware – ie. VR and AR technology. The new iMac Pro will actually have VR capabilities built in to the system.

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