Sunday, September 9, 2012

3D Virtual Dressing Rooms

New York Fashion Week is in full swing, and related events are set to bring in an estimated $865 million in to the city’s economy. While the week is most often associated with celebrities and designers, it’s also brimming with technology. 

Take the Swivel 3D Virtual Dressing Room. I had the chance to try this out in Bloomingdale’s here in NYC. Here are the deets as discussed on CNN.

The device allows you to find clothes that fit perfectly, without even having to try them on. Powered by Microsoft’s Kinect technology, Swivel scans 48 points on your body and allows you to virtually try on different items, helping you effortlessly find your ideal clothing match. That means never having to wait in a dressing room line that seems a mile long, and never having to return something that fits weirdly because you just didn’t feel like trying it on.

image courtesy of Microsoft

Swivel was created by a company called FaceCake Marketing Technologies, which launched in March 2011. FaceCake CEO and Founder Lisa Smith informed me that Bloomingdale’s saw the technology at CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in Vegas and wanted to be first to showcase it. According to Smith, the technology is easy to use and inexpensive for the retailer. This week, 20 installations were put up in various Bloomingdale’s locations across the country.

I have read about various technologies of this nature for years, but this is the first one I have seen that allows so many options for retailers and customers.

Swivel allows you to:
-       Try on clothes and accessories
-       Change sizes
-       Browse specific collections  (I was looking through all the new fall trends)
-       Change background settings (there’s skiing, red carpet and more)
-       Turn around and look at yourself from different angles (up to 45 degrees)
-       Take a picture of yourself and share with your friends on social networks – you can even use instant polling

Currently, the images are a little boxy, but I like where this is headed.

I asked both Microsoft and Smith about the next steps.  Could we try on clothes virtually at home – say an app on Xbox LIVE connecting to our favorite stores?  The answer was absolutely. The idea is to have Swivel in stores and at home.

 “The goal is, over time, to have Swivel be prolific and be around and as a new way to shop and see what the new trends are and what your favorite brands have to offer,” said Smith.  

Malls and retail outlets looking to drive traffic to stores have approached Smith. They know that Swivel has the potential to get shoppers to try new stores and new brands. Plus, the social sharing has been huge. With more than 600 people surveyed, 77 percent shared images of themselves via Facebook or Twitter. Notably, the most shared were combined outfits (handbags and dresses) as well as wedding dresses.

Globally, other companies are using the same kind of technology. Ford, Nissan and Audi have worked with variations powered off Kinect technology to put customers inside vehicles. German shoe manufacturer Goix is doing the same with shoes, using three Kinect sensors and creating your shoe in real-time.

Your move QVC.

Here is a good visual look from Microsoft's NEXT Blog:

If you want to check out the tech here are the cities it is currently in use:
1)      59th Street, NY
2)      Soho, NY
3)      Roosevelt Field, NY
4)      Riverside Square, NY
5)      Century City, CA
6)      South Coast Plaza, CA
7)      Santa Monica, CA
8)      San Francisco, CA
9)      Miami, FL
10)   Chicago, IL
11)   Short Hills, NY
12)   Beverly Center, CA
13)   Palo Alto, CA
14)   San Diego, CA
15)   Miami, FL
16)   Boston, MA
17)   White Plains, NY
18)   Atlanta, GA
19)   Philadelphia, PA
20)   Washington, DC

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Copyright © 2012 Katie Linendoll