Stories by Evan Schuman

  • Can mobile save the mall? Yes, but not how you think.

    In a world where shopping malls are losing customers by the escalator-load to more convenient and deeper-inventoried digital options, one mall in a lightly populated Nebraska town is making some impressive progress in getting its shoppers to stick around. It's not about bringing customers into the mall. It's about giving them reasons to come all the time — and not wanting to leave.

  • Coke's movie theater trial shows beacon potential

    Retail beacons have huge potential, but it can only be met when chains move beyond seeing beacons solely as tiny ad broadcasters. Coca-Cola is starting to get creative about beacons, with a trial in Norway movie theaters to not merely communicate with moviegoers but to remember them for re-targeting later.

  • Using clues to move paper coupons to mobile

    Printed coupons and mobile devices are as far apart as Bitcoins and silver dollars. One company that's been specializing in bridging the gap sees the answer in not looking at any one element and instead layering.

  • Are we safe from self-aware robots?

    End-of-mankind predictions about artificial intelligence, which have issued from some of today's most impressive human intellects, including <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540">Stephen Hawking</a>, <a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/05/03/ai_expert_nick_bostrom_talks_to_el_reg/">Elon Musk,</a> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2015/01/28/bill-gates-on-dangers-of-artificial-intelligence-dont-understand-why-some-people-are-not-concerned/">Bill Gates</a>, <a href="http://betanews.com/2015/03/26/apple-co-founder-steve-wozniak-warns-of-the-dangers-of-artificial-intelligence/">Steve Wozniak</a> and <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3165356/Artificial-Intelligence-dangerous-NUCLEAR-WEAPONS-AI-pioneer-warns-smart-computers-doom-mankind.html">other notables,</a> have generally sounded overly alarmist to me, exhibiting a bit more fear-of-the-unknown than I would have expected from such eminences, especially the scientists. But that was before I saw reports on the self-aware robot.

  • Digitization: Making the post office meaningful again

    Of all of the digitization projects in the industry, the most significant might be the one being tackled by the U.S. Postal Service. As an entity, the USPS is getting hit from all sides, with new technologies and competitors impinging on all the things we used to rely on the post office for.

  • Yahoo tries legal pirouettes in court, breaks neck

    Yahoo, the once-mighty search-engine company, executed some remarkably graceless legal pirouettes as it tried to defend its invasive email scanning practices -- scanning of emails not sent by Yahoo Mail customers who had signed off on the terms of service, but the emails of people who had sent email to Yahoo users. All to no avail. Last week (May 26), a federal judge approved a class-action lawsuit against Yahoo. But a review of the arguments that Yahoo tried in court is rather entertaining.

  • Who's flying the plane? The latest reason to never ignore security holes

    Some things are just so predictable. A retailer is told about a mobile security hole and dismisses it, saying it could never happen in real life -- and then it happens. A manufacturer of passenger jets ridicules the risk posed by a wireless security hole in its aircraft, saying defensive mechanisms wouldn't let it happen -- and then it happens.