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Embodee’s CTO Accepts Second Academy Award

We’re raising our glasses to company CTO George Borshukov. On Feb. 7, he received more recognition for his visual effect breakthroughs for the movie industry–his second Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement.

“I haven’t been in the industry for 10 years,” he told the audience at a dinner awards ceremony in Beverly Hills, California. “It’s so incredible that the Academy does the research…to look at these technologies and recognize them. It’s truly amazing.”

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CTO to Receive Academy Award for Technical Achievement

Embodee announced in a news release today that George Borshukov, will receive an Academy Award for technical achievement at a presentation dinner on February 7 in Beverly Hills, California in a news release. He and two former colleagues will be honored for their pioneering work in creating realistic virtual human faces of actors.

The technology, called Universal Capture, was used in “The Matrix Revolutions” and “The Matrix Reloaded,” the 2003 sequels to “The Matrix.” This work has since inspired shape- and texture-capture methods creating even more believable computer-generated images of movie actors and video game characters.

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Magazine: Embodee Among Top Technology Solution Providers

CIOReview magazine has named Embodee one of 2014’s most promising technology solution providers serving the U.S. textile and apparel industry. The magazine features Embodee among 20 companies in a special January edition focusing on the industry,

A panel of CEOs, CIOs, CMOs, venture capitalists, analysts, and the magazine’s editorial board selected the top companies from more than 300 firms.

“Embodee has been on our radar for some time, and we are happy to showcase them due to their continued excellence in delivering top-notch technology-driven solutions,” said Harvi Sachar, CIOReview’s publisher and founder. “Embodee’s solutions continue to break new ground benefiting its customers, and we’re excited to have them featured on our top companies list.”

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Under the Influence: 3D Imagery and Online Shopping

Marketers and academicians slice, dice, and categorize us into countless niches. A fertile topic for their research has long been how we shop, and more so now with e-commerce’s unrelenting growth.

Much studied regarding e-commerce is the influence of website imagery in promoting products. As early as 2002, researchers found that using 3D images triggers mental imagery that enhances the virtual shopping experience. A 2013 study we wrote about found that adding interactivity to 3D product images, such as 360-degree rotation, significantly increases purchase intention.

A new study published in November in the Journal of Business Research examined two niches of shoppers: those who have a high need to touch products before buying them online and those who don’t. Specifically, the two researchers wanted to know how viewing vivid 3D vs 2D product images would influence the two groups. They also wanted to know whether the effects would vary based on the type of product featured.

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Paths to Earning Business of Millenials

Like forest paths intersecting in a clearing, three seemingly disparate articles on our reading list today led to the same place.  

The subjects: 3D technology spurring mass customization, Patagonia’s new apparel line made from recycled garments and salvaged fabric swatches, and an expansive study of the age 25-to-34 crowd (aka millennials).

Far into the first article, posted on the blog of French software company Dassault Systèmes, noted mass customization expert B. Joseph Pine is quoted. He cites apparel as an example of an industry coming around to the benefits of mass customization, which enables consumers to personalize products before they’re made.

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Mass Customization and the Model T Cliché

Overuse of a phrase or expression demotes it linguistically to cliché status. Sometimes the once descriptively powerful devolves into triteness. Familiarity breeds contempt, itself a cliché, captures the effect.

Such is the fate of a popular comparison: mass customization of personalized products vs mass production of the all-black Ford Model T. Search the terms together to see how often it’s been used. Even some Twitter users poked fun at the rampant use earlier this year.

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Damage by Design to Make It Mine

Among our favorite topics is mass customization, the growing trend of shoppers personalizing products online before purchase and before they’re manufactured. Admittedly we have a self-interest in the trend, evident in our gBuilder demo.

A distant cousin to mass customization recently caught our eye. It’s too amorphous to warrant trend status. We’ve named it post-purchase offline customization, or PPOC, a term absent from Google until we post this blog item.

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Long Road to Make Virtual Apparel Look Real

The staggering but steady leaps in computing power make possible Embodee’s virtual product experiences, as they do countless other things. Without several decades of exponential advances, our servers would take intolerably long to dynamically render images of apparel. And your web-enabled devices would take even longer to display them.

For example, our recently patented virtual try-on technology produces in seconds a 360-degree view of how a pair of jeans fit you. In the past it would have taken minutes or even hours, an experience like trying on those jeans in a dressing room but endlessly waiting to see anything in the mirror.

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3 Ways Touchscreens Influence Online Shoppers

Welcome, retailers. Today’s lesson: the power of touch.

According to recent academic research, online shoppers more highly value a product if they touch an image of it using a touchscreen instead of pointing at it via a computer mouse or touchpad.

Yes, yes, the margin-squeezed skeptics among you are silently scoffing: What difference does it make how they click to our wares?

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Is Retail Facing Tectonic Upheaval?

“I am not a number, I am a free man.”

That defiant declaration was enshrined in pop culture in the late 1960s, courtesy of the British cult TV series The Prisoner and its main character, Number Six, played by Patrick McGoohan. The show was remade as a miniseries that aired in 2009.

The show came to mind while reading one of 2013’s most provocative predictions about the retail industry from futurist and consultant Doug Stephens, who uses the moniker Retail Prophet. (The most provocative of the year, hands down, was tech investor Marc Andreesen’s claim that physical retail stores are destined for death. We’re not sure we can side with him but love the debate.) 

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Massive Shift to Mass Customization

Is mass customization of products finally on track to become the norm?

Academics and consultants have prognosticated this post-Industrial Revolution, end-of-mass-production era for two decades. They foresaw consumers routinely customizing goods online to meet personal tastes before the products are made.

No overnight sea change happened, however. Instead, companies—from the mammoth to the upstart—have slowly embraced or at least experimented with the approach, especially in recent years. Often this is how revolutions happen. Quietly, momentum builds until the revolutionary becomes the mainstream.

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Patent Awarded for Virtual Try-On Technology

Embodee Corp. today announced in a news release that it has received a U.S. government patent for technology that fills a major void in online apparel shopping: the ability to try on garments virtually and accurately see how they fit and look.

Licensees of the company’s Online Try-On℠ can give their shoppers increased confidence that apparel they buy won’t have to be returned. For retailers the benefits are increased sales and reduced costs. By some apparel industry estimates each 1% reduction in returns increases net profit nearly an equal amount.

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One Product, Countless Views

Sometimes it’s challenging to comprehend innovations that far outpace their once-innovative forerunners.

Consider the introduction of motion pictures in the late 1800s, Polaroid photography in the 1940s, and digital photography in the 1970s. They weren’t incremental advances in technology. They were leaps forward.

Those advances come to mind now thanks to an anecdote and unrelated calculation about Embodee’s unique visualization technology.

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E-comerce and Virtual Product Experiences

For the debut of our new website today, we’ve coined a new company tagline: “Virtual Product Experiences for Business.”

It encapsulates what we do: empower companies to give their customers an unparalleled rich and immersive visual interaction with products online to boost e-commerce sales.

To us it’s intuitive that the better consumers can inspect and interact with a product virtually, the more likely they are to buy it. Vividly seeing a product from whatever angle customers choose is inarguably a superior experience to viewing static 2D pictures. But what about the influence on purchases?

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Solving Apparel Industry’s Image Problem

Online apparel sales have an image problem. Image as in how websites display garments, footwear, and accessories to entice shoppers to buy. Notable exceptions aside, most product photographs don’t narrow The Sensorial Chasm: the difference between touching and closely inspecting a garment vs experiencing it virtually on a screen.

Images online typically are small, two dimensional, and lack detail. Zoom features aren’t the norm. Another drawback: scarcity. Most sites show an individual item from only one or a few angles. At a brick-and-mortar store you don’t pick up a tennis shoe and only look at one side and the sole—you turn it every which way.