On Wednesday, Amazon unveiled a new Echo device, and it is a big departure from the smart speakers introduced in the Echo lineup so far. Named Echo Look, the newest hardware product from Amazon looks more like a desktop security camera than a connected speaker. But Amazon is actually positioning the device as a hand-free selfie camera and style assistant that can help you take selfies hands-free. Equipped with built-in LED lighting and a computer vision-based background blur feature, it promised to capture the best full-length pictures and videos of you in different outfits for review, comparisons, and style recommendations.
Echo Look comes with a companion app that has a Style Check feature to compare two outfits and rate which is better based on machine learning algorithms. The feature was first added to the iOS Amazon app last month as Outfit Compare and does not require an Echo Look to work. And because it is powered by Alexa, you can ask Echo Look to read you news, play music, or access any of the over ten thousands third-party Alexa skills, just like you would with all the other Echo speakers. This product is available by invitation only for now, and Amazon did not announce it will become widely available.
What Brands Need To Do
By introducing computer vision into the Echo lineup, Amazon is making a strong push to enhance Alexa’s capabilities. Positioning this new device as a “hands-free camera and style assistant,” as Amazon’s product page reads, is a strong reformation of Amazon’s ambition in conquering the fashion industry. Echo Look will help Amazon gain access to millions of its customer’s wardrobes, thus allowing it to glean a huge amount of data from the user-generated pictures to gain great insights on what its customers like to wear and would most likely buy.
Besides, it seems safe to assume that this is merely the first step in Alexa’s evolution. By adding cameras to Alexa-powered devices, the voice assistant now has “eyes” and no longer has to solely rely on voice command for input. Using camera as an input source and combined with machine learning and object recognition, Alexa will grow much more powerful in time.
Wait until Amazon start allowing developers using Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to incorporate visual input into their Alexa-powered products, the new kind of smart home devices will become available as a result present an exciting opportunity that brands will be able to leverage to engage with customers. For example, when a smart fridge can see that you’re about to run out of milk and triggers Alexa to remind you that, it would mean that CPG brands and food retailers will have to rethink their marketing strategies and product design to accommodate this type of conversational smart home devices and new shopper behaviors they engender.
If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related client opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Barrett ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.
Images courtesy of Amazon’s product demo video