Amazon has launched a standalone voice-activated video camera device that includes all the features of the Amazon Echo smart speaker, but it can also ‘see’ – significantly boosting its capacity to assist consumers. Named Echo Look, it allows users to take full-length ‘selfies’ and 360˚ videos of themselves – reviewing their fashion choices in accordance with the speaker’s artificially intelligent assistant Alexa, who subsequently provides fashion tips.
The concept taps into research revealing that British women alone spend 17 minutes per day debating what outfit to wear, with 62% admitting to experiencing ‘wardrobe rage’ after agonising over their fashion choices (M&S, 2016).
The oblong-shaped camera is equipped with four LEDs for lighting, a depth-sensing system to blur everything in the photo except the outfit wearer, and a commanding/receiving microphone. Using the Style Check voice command and app button, users receive styling advice pulled from a hybrid of advanced machine-learning algorithms and human fashion experts. The combined ‘team’ responds in a matter of minutes to images of the user in two different outfits, based on the fit, colour, styling and current trends. Alexa delivers a final opinion on what looks best.
Should the tool be used repeatedly, Alexa can analyse the user’s current wardrobe collection and recommend additional items that are stylistically relevant – those purchasable via Amazon, of course.
What's especially interesting, and likely to prove particularly compelling, is the provision of advice within the privacy of the users' own home - a comfortable decision-making space unattached to the increasingly demoralising effects of seeking validation via the public portals of social media.
Ostensibly a beta concept (it’s currently only available to US customers who apply for an invitation to trial it), the device retails for $200.