3D virtual dressing room coming to eBay

The days of grabbing a last minute bargain dress on eBay for it only to be delivered days later and not fit may be over following the website’s latest purchase.

The auction giant has puts its hand in its pockets and purchased computer graphics company PhiSix who create 3D models of clothing from photos, pattern files and other sources.

Once the software is introduced to eBay it will allow customers to see what their potential purchases will look like on their bodies before they have even placed a bid on the item.

The financial details of the deal unfortunately haven’t been disclosed but eBay’s vice president of innovation and new ventures, Steve Yankovich, praised the work that PhiSix have been doing and said that it will be of a huge benefit to eBay’s customers.

He said: “PhiSix’s technology enables consumers to understand the fit and movement of clothes in an online shopping environment.

“Consumers can experience the merchandise in a more efficient and impactful way, which we believe will drive sales for retailers and create a delightful experience for shoppers.”

PhiSix claims its technology can help to solve one of the most common problems that online shoppers face – the fit and look of products. It says that the virtual fitting room it provides allows shoppers to determine the fit with physically accurate simulations of the clothes they want to purchase.

As well as showing customers what clothes will look like the technology is also able to recommend a size for the user’s body based on the basic measurement inputs – which the customer will provide. The technology also allows shoppers to use the virtual fitting room in a variety of scenarios, such as walking down the street, rather than just being in a dressing room.

The fashion technology company is relatively young when compared to its new owners. PhiSix was founded in 2012 by Jonathan Su, a former Intel research scientist who completed a PhD in computer science at Stanford University, US.

This technology could help to enhance the shopping experience for eBay’s customers and the company is certainly hoping it will. However there will undoubtedly be a lot of teething problems and the results of the clothing which is shown on the customers will most likely depend on the level of information provided by the seller.

Nonetheless PhiSix’s founder Su is looking forward to working with his new bosses. “This is an exciting opportunity for us to bring PhiSix’s expertise to one of the world’s leading commerce platforms,” he said.

“We believe today’s acquisition will help us better scale our expertise and meet the needs of digitally-minded shoppers and create new customer experiences for the eBay Inc. portfolio.”

Image courtesy of eBay.

Tech giant HP rips into companies over hacking problems

Adobe, Yahoo Mail and PlayStation users have all had their passwords and personal information hacked in large-scale security breaches in recent years. Now tech giant HP is calling for companies to “eliminate opportunities” given to attackers to access information.

These large-scale hacks have put millions of users’ personal details at risk with the Adobe hack alone exposing 38m accounts to abuse. In its annual cyber risk report, HP criticised sharing of intelligence within the industry.

The company said that the technology industry should pull together to share intelligence about security and the tactics they should use in order to disrupt malicious activities.

It looked at more than 500,000 applications for Android and found that mobile developers often fail to use encryption when storing sensitive data on mobile devices, rely on weak algorithms to do so or misuse stronger encryption capabilities which render them ineffective. Its report states that 56% of applications tested showed weaknesses that revealed information about the application, its implementation or its users.

The report will be worrying for consumers as it highlights the vulnerability of many apps and how their personal data can be accessed by those with the knowledge to do so. With smartphone users checking their mobiles up to 150 times and a total use time of more than two hours each day it amount of information we are giving to companies is increasing.

Many applications are given access to our payment details, contacts, address and more. For consumers there is a need for our personal data to be safely stored by the brands we trust.

For the developers and companies running the applications there may be more costly consequences for failing to securely protect our private information. This was shown last year as Sony were fined £250,000 for security failures after gamers’ details were leaked online in 2011. For smaller companies this scale of monetary penalty could have a serious impact on their business.

To help combat the threat of attackers being able to access users’ personal data,  HP recommends combining the right staff members, processes and technology to minimise the vulnerabilities and reduce the overall risk.

HP said: “Organisations and developers alike must stay cognizant of security pitfalls in frameworks and other third-party code, particularly for hybrid mobile development platforms. Robust security guidelines must be enacted to protect the integrity of applications and the privacy of users.”

Image courtesy of Gustavo Molina.