The U.S. Army, reports the Associated Press, is interested in a solar fabric developed by Iowa Thin Film Technologies that generates solar power. The fabric has solar film integrated into it that turns the fabric into a solar-powered generator.
The Army foresees tents that can become power sources capable of producing from 200 watts to 1 kilowatt to power lighting, ventilating systems, field communications, GPS systems or laptop computers. Joining several tents together increases the power, which also can be stored in batteries.
CUSTOMERS WANT IT ALL
While the square footage of the average new home in the United States has increased some 55 percent to 2,330 square feet over the last three decades, architectural experts see a declining interest among homeowners in mansion-size homes.
A survey by Lowe’s and Harris Interactive shows 46 percent of U.S. homeowners admit to wasting up to half of their homes’ space. On the other hand, 42 percent say they feel they have no wasted space.
“Americans want homes more manageable in size to reduce upkeep, lower utility costs . . . They want all of this without sacrificing unique design, quality building materials and luxurious upgrades,” said Melissa Birdsong, trend and design director for Lowe’s.
NEW METHODS FOR OLD LESSONS
This shouldn’t come as a shock: training retail associates is hard work. Many retailers face more than 100 percent turnover by store associates, who need continually updated training, and presenting all associates with face-to-face training is cost prohibitive. But Forrester Research says there’s an easier way.
Despite obstacles such as new products, seasonal offerings, and ever-changing customer-service policies and company procedures, some of the nation’s top retailers are finding ways to combine traditional self-paced and classroom learning with newer online learning practices using existing store technologies like backroom PCs, store kiosks or Web-enabled POS systems.
And it’s paying off. Nike has found that online employee training has driven a minimum two percent increase in sales dollars since its program started, and Best Buy found that by creating special learning segments for slow-moving products, sales can increase as much as 20 percent.