If the evil Queen in the fairytale of Snow White had a smart mirror, what would she ask and what could she do?
These are the questions Samsung is asking as it looks to transform retail and fashion with its newest generation of smart displays. These smarter mirrors combine internet connectivity and an interactive panel, allowing businesses to engage shoppers while providing them with more information.
Earlier this fall at New York Fashion Week, Samsung made an ambitious technology play for the fashion world by introducing its latest smart mirror in a partnership with FTL Moda.
“Because the future of fashion (and retail) is technology, FTL Moda’s show will play host to Samsung’s state-of-the-art interactive mirror displays, which provide new avenues for the fashion industry to refine and deliver content, while offering complete product visibility,” FTL Moda said at the time in a release. “FTL Moda conceived an installation to have people mingle with Samsung Mirror Displays to create an immersive interaction.”
While prior generations of smart mirrors suffer from clearness issues and could give off the appearance of foggy glass, the latest Samsung Smart Mirror Display promises better visibility through a polarized film that ensures high transparency and reflectivity. Transparency has been improved by as much as 90 percent, Samsung claims, making the experience of looking at the smart display more like gazing at a standard mirror in your bathroom.
“Samsung’s impactful, high-tech activation focused on its new Mirror Displays found the perfect stage for an international launch that brought the audience to an immersive experience similar to virtual reality,” said Ilaria Niccolini, President of FTL Moda.
How it Works
Shaped like a flat screen TV that you would have in your living room, Samsung’s Mirror Displays are available with a 55-inch panel. The panel can be used in a number of modes, including a mirror mode. The benefit to having a mirror over a more traditional screen with a camera is that privacy issues fade into the background — the consumer will see that they’re looking into a mirror rather than being recorded.
The mirror can be used in full mirror mode replacing traditional mirrors in fitting rooms, in full image mode similar to traditional smart displays used for advertising or in hybrid picture-in-picture mode, showing the mirror with a smart content overlay.
In dressing rooms, you can use these mirrors to try on clothes and interact with the smart display to check to see if a different color or size is available in stock, said Ron Gazzola, Vice President of Product Marketing for Samsung Electronics America.
With slim bezels, businesses can combine multiple smart mirrors together to create a larger mirror wall, similar to how a multiple-monitor setup works on desks today. The only external thing that is required would be a connection to the internet — these mirrors are standalone units that come with its own processors to do the heavy lifting.
The concept of smart mirrors in retail isn’t new — the idea has been tested by Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s, to name a few. Combined with technology from companies like MemoryMirror, high-tech dressing rooms also allow shoppers to see how a dress will look and fit without trying it on.
MemoryMirror’s software even remembers details on a dress — like wrinkles — and animates them as you virtually try on clothes for size and fit, providing for a life-like appearance.
Because these displays rely on camera technology and software, similar to Snapchat’s filters, to provide virtual try-ons, they’re more suitable for common areas of dressing rooms, rather than inside the dressing room itself. Samsung’s solution, which doesn’t rely on cameras but on a mirror-like display to show your reflection, could easily be installed in each dressing room, offering a more private, personal shopping experience.
In addition to dressing rooms, the mirrors can also be used in bathrooms at sports events, Gazzola noted. When people are washing their hands, they can catch up with the scores or even see a video of the game playing.
Gazzola said Samsung isn’t selling these displays directly — businesses can purchase the mirrors through a reseller and customize the capabilities of the device. A clothing store can add on components, like a barcode scanner or a camera, to create the mirror that’s right for it’s environment. This makes Samsung’s solution modular and very adaptable.
If Samsung could make the evil Queen’s imagination a reality by adding the company’s “Beauty Mode” found on the camera software on its Galaxy phones, it could likely have prevented Snow White from eating the poisoned apple in the first place. And there’s no telling what impact Beauty Mode on a smart mirror could do to elevate the self-esteem of impressionable young shoppers everywhere.