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Rami Baron trying out Myndar Technology

The following is reproduced from 
DDCA President Rami Baron’s blog
.

For those who know me, know that I love technology and that I am constantly searching out the latest gadgets. I recently purchased a fabulous little tool which allows me to drag photos and movies off my iPhone and iPad onto a memory stick. The same stick has a USB plug on the reverse side so you can just plug it into your computer and drag the files across when you don’t have a reasonable phone or Wi-Fi connection… this is a life saver!  I ended up buying four to give as gifts to some techno buddies.

This article isn’t about current tech gadgets; it’s about what innovations are to come, and how you might be able to innovate in your world.

Two months ago I wrote about the World Diamond Mark Conference and some of the innovations that we saw there.

In particular, the scanner to manage stock (see image) that Chow Tai Fook is using in their 2000 stores, and now available to any jewellery retailer through Myndar (www.myndar.com).

Then there is Cooksongold who have a CAD program that interfaces directly into printing an item of jewellery into gold or Platinum.  That’s right, you don’t have to make a wax mould! You can print direct into metal! Check out www.cooksongold-emanufacturing.com.

Are you aware that the both HRD and GIA are using a scanner to grade the colour of diamonds, and in HRD’s case, they have been doing so for a number of years already?

I can comfortably predict that a company like Sarine Technologies – if not the GIA themselves – would be close to developing a machine which is able to accurately and consistently grade the clarity of a diamond. This has to be the case as they are grading thousands of stones a day.

After all, we are talking about simply entering stored data from all the millions of certificates that they have on file. These have already been plotted in their data base against the results and, with the sophistication that Sarine has in grading rough diamond; this would be a “fait de complete”.

In fact, I don’t know what we are waiting for. Computer analysis would surely remove the issue of inconsistent grading that has, and will continue, to damage both the consumer confidence and the reputation of our diamond industry.

You might well ask, ‘what is next to impact on our industry’?

My answer? It’s called “deep thinking”.

A 3D printed gold sculpture by Cooksongold
A 3D printed gold sculpture by Cooksongold

Right now when you buy from Amazon it makes suggestions as to what other products you may wish to buy. The natural progression to this is where analytics programs are looking at your Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. In fact your overall web searches.

And this is just the beginning.

For now, this software can see what you are following, your interests, the brands you like, the famous people you watch, the food you like and the events you are interested in.

Now let’s go another level deeper.

What about the fact that this “deep thinking” software can actually see the images you look at. Let me explain.

The program doesn’t look at an image as a host of colour pixels; it actually understands what it is seeing. It is seeing you on Facebook wearing, for example, a red high neck, mid-thigh dress.

It looks at your shoes, your hair style, and other people in your photo who have been tagged, and scans their profile, so it understands your socio economic status. The analysis identifies brands associated with you and your friends and possible price points.

Is it so farfetched to think that a website could recommend to you a piece of jewellery you or your customer would love, and that falls into the perfect price range? In the future, this information could be available to the retailer!

Your customer walks into your store and you get a message on the screen of their buying history and suggestions of what they would like.

This is not science fiction!!!

During my most recent stay in my favourite Hong Kong hotel I was impressed when a staff member approached me and asked to take my photo. Why? So that other staff members could identify me in future as one of their regular patrons.

I must say I had never thought of doing this in a store, though it begs the question, why don’t we?

Frankly, why not?  It’s not an invasion of privacy – providing you ask first.

What if you issued your customers with a rewards card with a built in RFID chip? With a small RFID reader at the entrance, when the regular customer comes into your store, their picture and purchase history would automatically pop up on your screen.

Who doesn’t love being remembered and identified by name? It’s personalising service that is making the difference in today’s market.

The wild innovations I have just touched on are already being implemented by some; but many of these innovations are things you and I could do now!

Let me finish with a story I heard at breakfast. A men’s tailor in Sydney was just kicked out of a major shopping centre. Determined to succeed he started to put photos up every day on Instagram. He began following every male fashion model and every bridal site he could worldwide. He became more creative with his suits and just worked off referrals.

Using this tried and tested technique, he sent one of his suits to a top model as a gift to wear and asked that he post some pics of himself on Instagram. In less than two years he has been asked to exhibit in New York at one of the most renowned fashions weeks…

Let’s not complain about how things are bad or different, but ask ourselves how we can use the innovative technology around us today in business.

Trade well.

 

I write this article whilst in Antwerp Belgium as we come to the close of the 36th World Diamond Congress. Without a doubt the highlight for me on this trip was having Gus Hashem, a fellow club member, join me and to see and experience what I have in the past few years and appreciate the high regard in which Australia is held on the world stage. This year I was tasked to run the trade and promotion committee meeting, as the president could not attend. It was not only a great honour but we had a huge turnout of observers, in particular the Minister of Mines and Mining Development of Zimbabwe, the Hon W.K. Chidakwa and a number of his ministers . It was a robust and interesting meeting where we discussed launch of the new WFDB Website and the impact of social media in our industry . The most contentious issue was the unbelievable delays experienced in GIA certification. The numbers are staggering. GIA grades approx 16000 stones per day – not bad for a non profit organisation. The issue is that it can take three months to get merchandise graded, in simple terms, is becoming an untenable situation which requires immediate action. The US Bourse already had discussions with the GIA who admited they dropped the ball and are looking to play catch up as fast as possible. At that point I formed a committee from members of the Israeli, Antwerp, and USA clubs which I took to the board for approval to look to see what could be achieved for the benefit of our members. As we are in ANTWERP, a dialogue with other respectable Labs to provide capacity was initiated. HRD was keen to respond and by the time this article goes to print there should be possible solutions in place.

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Gus Hashem together with (on the left) Gaetano Cavallieri – head of CIBJO and (in the middle) Ernie Blom – WFDB President

In the numerous discussions with the various LABS the verdict is consistent, the degree of synthetic diamonds in the market has been greatly exaggerated. Large companies like Sterling in the USA are testing even one pointers. We had Tom Moses, one of the heads of GIA on a panel where I personally posed the question when and is a tool being developed to test diamonds already set in jewellery. The answer was it’s on the horizon, but no firm commitment was made although he agreed it is critically needed as those who maybe passing off synthetics will not even send the stones to a Lab. Tom and I spoke subsequently and he gave me an undertaking that a synthetic diamond testing machine will be sent to Australia in the coming months. The World Diamond Mark has recorded a major success with the official signing of Istanbul being the launching pad for the pilot of the WDM. The President of Boursa Istanbul flew in for the signing ceremony. Following Istanbul the WDM will continue a secondary program in Dubai. Both these steps bring to fruition a vision which Alex Popov, Suresh Hathirami and myself envisioned to create a generic diamond marketing campaign to ensure the health and growth of the diamond and jewellery market. This dream is coming to reality and it is enormously gratifying.

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Gus, Martin Rapaport and myself during a catch up break.

As usual I caught up with great friends and colleagues from around the world. I can tell you all that under the WFDB IDMA and the World Diamond Council the industry is in good hands and it is highlighted by the integrity and statesmanship of our leader Ernie Blom, President of The World Federation of Diamond Bourses. Trade well.