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NRF iLab Highlights this Year’s Innovative Retail Products

This year is expected to be retail’s most innovative yet. At this year’s National Retail Federation (NRF) 2015 Big Show, in a seminar titled, “This Year’s New Innovative Products As Seen in the NRF iLab,” a collection of speakers revealed their thoughts on 2015’s groundbreaking offerings.

Christine Bibbo, founder of fashion, fitness and beauty blog,, described three key innovative points. First, this year is seeing smart wearables that include performance features and feedback.

The Pear Sports smart training system, for example, is wearable workout gear that interprets your heart rate, gives you feedback, adjusts music to suit your pace and provides workout tips. Bibbo’s second example was of fashion meeting technology, like Tory Burch’s Fitbit, which is a stylish version of the bracelet that tracks your steps, distance and calories.

Another innovation highlighted in the iLab was thinking out-of-the-box of fitness, whether outdoors or indoors. Surfset Fitness is a mobile surfboard that simulates surfing while also being a means of regular exercise. This innovation allows you to stretch, do Pilates and train your core.

Noah Graj of Graj + Gustavsen brand strategy consultants also spoke on the panel, elaborated on the primary notion of automatic positive action–the idea that every time we perform an everyday activity, there can be a resulting positive effect. For instance, a Bluetooth enabled fork will revolutionize the way consumers live by enhancing their health. It tracks how fast or slow you eat, records how many bites and offers nutrition information. Similarly, the Kolibree smart toothbrush provides information on which teeth you’ve missed, how long you brush each tooth, and generates music and games while brushing.

Clinton Bonner, director of marketing & crowdsourcing strategy at TopCoder believes that the future of retail is technology and personalization. A radical invention is the BeamPro, a remote physical presence that can be used to drive around and interact by coupling high-end video and audio with the freedom of motion to move around a space.

Bonner emphasized its use in getting expert opinions, suggesting that “retail can become smaller.” A high-definition robot with an expert on its screen can greatly enhance the consumer retail experience, he said.