Monthly Archives: June 2016

Smart Bike Cannot be Stolen


It’s a problem faced by college students (and all bike riders) everywhere – a stolen bike! We spend hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars on bicycles that are depended on to get us to places on time. But, the very thing that makes bikes beautiful and useful – their portability and accessibility – also makes them a prime target for thieves.

Luckily, Dutch manufacturer VanMoof has developed a smart solution using technology to help keep our bikes exactly where we left them. The new product, named SmartBike, is designed to thwart thieves, and even if it is stolen, the bike can be tracked and found. In fact, VanMoof is so confident that the bike can be found that if it is stolen, the company will spend up to two weeks tracking it, and if it can’t be found, the company will replace the bike. Nice.

There are a lot of additional features on the bike. It’s connected to your smart phone so that you are the only person who can unlock it. Anti-theft parts include a keyless lock built into the frame and tracked using GSM and Bluetooth technology. It has integrated automatic lights, an enclosed drive-chain, and can even be purchased with an electric-assisted motor to make commutes easier.

Go ahead thieves, just try to steal this bike!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How many have bikes? Depend on bikes for transportation? Have had a bike stolen?
  2. Show a video of the Smart Bike:
  3. Show the VanMoof Web site:

  1. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  2. For this product, what is the target market?
  3. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  4. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?
  5. Debrief the exercise.

Source: Manufacturing Business Technology, The Verge

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Viral Videos for June 2016


This week’s viral video is a strange mix. It includes feel-good spots as well as new products: Shell, Nissan, Nike, Galaxy, Hyundai, General Mills, GEICO, Spotify, and Hellman’s round out the top ten of the list.

There are three key factors for viral video success:

  1. Reaching the tastemakers.
  2. Building a community of participation.
  3. Creating unexpectedness in the video.

Regardless of the type of product or service, the country of origin, or the importance of the message, what matters is reaching the audience in a way the both entertains and informs. It might be YouTube, and more often now, it’s on Facebook and other social media. Check out this week’s top videos and discuss what makes them “go viral.”

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring up Ad Age’s weekly Viral Video chart:
  2. How effective is each video at getting the company’s brand and message across to viewers?
  3. In teams, have students design a viral video for a product of their choosing. What are the elements that are needed to go viral?

Source: Advertising Age, Visible Measures

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Smart Jackets for Cyclists


Wearable technology is taking off in a big way. It seems as if every day brings a new product to market. One of the latest combination of fashion and wearable tech is Levi’s new Commuter Trucker jacket. Using Google’s Jacquard technology, the jacket enables the wearer to access phone and mobile apps wirelessly. For example, cyclists could easily get an estimated ETA for a destination, silence a call, or adjust the volume on their headset.

The Project Jacquard technology allows users to use gestures such as tapping or swiping on a sleeve to activate different functions. Technology sensors are woven into the fabric. Connection points are located in button-holes of the jacket. Wearers can do more than just make calls though. The jacket is compatible with Spotify, Google Maps, and Strava.

And, if you spill coffee on the sleeve, don’t worry – it can all go into the washing machine.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the difficulties staying connected and in control of devices while cycling.
  2. Show the information about Google Project Jacquard:
  3. Show the video of the technology:

  1. Bring up on the screen the announcement from Levi’s:
  2. Divide students into teams. Determine the marketing mix, including target market, price, and distribution.



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