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What an exciting day! Being among the winners of the CeBIT Innovation Award 2013 and receiving the “bronze medal” from the German Secretary of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, for our concept “Next Generation Fashion Store” is indeed an overwhelming experience. The project illustrates very well that IT is gaining more and more importance in business as it can make a real difference when it comes to competitive advantage.

Ever since I can remember, I have always been fascinated by new technologies and usability topics. It comes naturally that I am constantly experimenting and looking for challenging use cases, not only for my own sake, but also to create stunning experiences for others. IT is such an interesting and dynamic field! I feel privileged to combine my passion for IT research within my Ph.D. project at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, together with my passion for sport and the adidas Group, Global IT. I first heard about the invitation to submit innovative ideas to the first CeBIT Innovation Award in early 2012. What a great opportunity to show the projects we’ve been working on. I did not hesitate for a second, I aligned the idea with my team and together we started with our preparations immediately. Just a few days later, the ideas CyberFit, an interactive changing room, and BodyKinectizer, a low-cost body scanner, started their journey towards the award committee.

A truck to Berlin…

I still remember the day last autumn when I received the letter from the CeBIT Innovation Award board in my mailbox telling me that we’d made it to the top list of candidates to present both of the ideas we’d submitted to the jury in Berlin. So, in November we organised a truck, packed it with CyberFit – and believe me, the prototype is really massive – and all the equipment for the body scanner BodyKinectizer. Without the help of my colleagues Jochen Suessmuth and Lukas Malcher, who significantly contributed to realizing the prototypes, this undertaking would not have been possible.

We only had half an hour each to explain the concepts, get the message across and to answer questions from the jury. It was a very intense and interesting day, not only mentally, but also physically – unloading the truck, building up the prototypes, presenting, discussing, taking everything down again, re-loading the truck… and of course I had no idea what impact our presentation had had on the jury or if we’d made it onto the shortlist. It was shortly before Christmas when I received the second letter with the wonderful news: Out of more than 70 submissions, both ideas came in third under the umbrella of “Next Generation Fashion Store”.

”Next Generation Fashion Store“in a nutshell

Let me shortly highlight what it is all about. ”Next Generation Fashion Store“provides consumers with a totally new and intuitive shopping experience. It consists of the two innovations I handed in: ”CyberFIT“ and ”BodyKinectizer“.

”BodyKinectizer“ is a low-cost body scanner based on Microsoft Kinect. It enables you to determine the right size of a product and allows you to dress your virtual body –whether you are in a shop or at home. Ther is a “Home” version as well as a professional one…

”CyberFIT“ is an interactive dressing room which provides product details, recommendations and enables you to connect yourself to social networks. A 3D environment automatically puts you into a virtual world directly linked to the product with which you entered the dressing room. This means for example, that you feel like standing on a mountain, hearing birds singing and wind blowing when entering the fitting room with an outdoor jacket.

Both concepts offer support and advice during the decision and buying process. By concentrating on various consumer groups and their individual needs, the overall concept ”Next Generation Fashion Store“ is trend-setting for future store concepts and sales strategies in the apparel industry. It especially focuses on the digital generation, with the objective to provide a completely new fun shopping experience in an environment which does justice to the adidas Group’s pioneering spirit.

Today, I feel honoured to accept the award on behalf of a great team, both from adidas Group Global IT and the Friedrich-Alexander University of Nuremberg-Erlangen. It is very rewarding to find out that our ideas are not only well perceived internally, but seem to make a real difference in the field of IT. This is great motivation to continue.