The key to retail success is engaging with customers and creating a positive shopping experience. Digital signage has a role in addressing those needs; however, there's a burgeoning signage niche ready for a breakout year—smart mirrors.
Also referred to as magic mirrors (although there is a manufacturer with this actual name), the concept combines a digital display that doubles as a mirror and signage. These types of solutions have evolved over the years.
Initially, smart mirrors could be found in upper-scale hotel room bathrooms. Guests were often surprised to find a television remote control in their bathrooms. Pressing the power button revealed a small television screen "magically" within the mirror itself. Eventually, this type of solution made its way to retail, allowing mirrors to display basic advertising when shoppers were nearby. The next iteration added integration to store inventory and product images.
Today, shoppers can access apparel via the mirror, check colors, inventory, price and—more importantly—see how the products look on them. Intelligent augmented reality software can virtually dress shoppers so they can see how something looks without having to go into a dressing room or engage with store associates.
These smart mirror applications typically use large 75- or 65-inch format displays rotated to create a close approximation to an actual full-length mirror. However, we've seen smaller format applications where needs are different and space is limited. For example, cosmetics departments use smart mirrors to allow customers to try different shades of makeup virtually.
Smart mirrors extend beyond retail
We've seen the most smart mirror adoption within the retail industry but we're expecting other uses to gain in popularity. Shopping malls are installing smart mirrors in their common areas. The eye-catching mirror brings in shoppers and the digital signage can present advertising for retailers.
Health and fitness is another up-and-coming market. Smart mirror fitness solutions can use sensors to monitor someone's movements and provide real-time prompts and feedback to encourage proper form, cadence and pacing.
Getting started with smart mirrors
Suppose you just want to have some fun at a hobby level and learn more about these types of solutions. In that case, there is an open-source platform called MagicMirror
(not to be confused with the vendor referenced earlier) and an entire community of creators that can serve as inspiration.
If you're ready to begin offering commercial solutions, Ingram Micro can help you identify the best hardware and software vendors for your application. We also have partners that can help create content on your behalf. Finally, Ingram Micro provides a complimentary pro AV design service to help its partners make the best possible solution for their customers. Contact Tom Jones
, Ingram Micro's pro AV expert, for more information.
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