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“You have an important meeting today, I have made some suggestions on what to wear for your meeting in your LookBook.”—Alexa
Amazon invents a new Voice First product category.
A large percentage of the population spend a lot of time on their appearance. But for people who don’t, it may be weird to them that there’s a market for products like Amazon’s Echo Look. Thus when they see anything in tech that is related to fashion the lack of perspectives most of this second group will have become embarrassingly apparent. Thus it should be no surprise that the new Echo Look  camera announced today is already met with classic “umm no” to the heartless “Alexa does my ass look fat in these jeans” comments (mostly coming from men).
Yet I believe most people, even those who may not see the need for it today, will secretly want the features of Amazon Look but not explicitly state it. We all want to look great but many of these “just roll out of bed” types just want to make it look more or less an “accident” that the shirt is tucked in just so and the beard is just unshaven, just enough.
The Technical Side Of Echo Look
The technical aspect of Echo Look are close to an Echo Dot. It has a better far-field microphone array than the Dot and a small speaker. This is not an Amazon Echo as far as sound quality. However it is not meant to replace the main Echo, but to be an extension into a new room of the house, the closet or bedroom.
Using your voice, you can easily take full-length photos and short videos with a hands-free camera that includes built-in LED lighting, depth-sensing camera, and computer vision-based background blur. This allows you to see yourself from every angle with the companion app. Build a personal lookbook and share your photos.
You can get a second opinion on which outfit looks best with Style Check, a new service that combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists. Echo Look will also help you discover new brands and styles inspired by your LookBook.
Jeff Bezos Long Voice First Game
Jeff Bezos thinks in decades and this should be clear to any casual observer. The entire Voice First revolution was sparked by this premise. The idea is to build an entirely new platform but clearly never to explicitly state this. It is working to a greater degree as Jeff says that music is the real reason he built the Echo system. Indeed perhaps the Echo system but not the Alexa platform.
Amazon was on the wave of the internet revolution but missed the mobile revolution. They are in the forefront of the Voice First revolution and Echo Look is just the latest example.
Amazon via Alexa is invading every room we live and work in. They started with the kitchen and moved to the living room and now the closet. Part of the apparel shopping experience is the ability to be connected with your ‘look” and the trends. The most successful retail apparel businesses have the best sales representatives. Even today the feedback and recommendations are very powerful. Many women seek this out at trusted boutiques and even larger retailers like Nordstrom. This is also one of the reasons many women will shop with friends.
The long game, perhaps over a decade, Amazon has been playing in apparel is making some strides but only in some segments like commodity items like socks, hosiery and some undergarments. They have also made some recent sales boost in the casual active/workout clothes segment.
Amazon Go Store Technology In Your Closet
The more general fashion segment has been elusive for Amazon. Amazon’s answer is to use the technology of their Amazon Rekognition engine  image recognition AI along with the Alexa Voice First engine to create a Style Assistant. Much like a good sales associate at a boutique or perhaps even like a trusted friend, Amazon is aiming to offer fashion advice, tips, recommendations and a long term memory.
The Amazon Rekognition engine is the same technology that is being used inside the Amazon warehouses and most recently at the Amazon Go Store . The system will be able to detect from millions of fashion items and variation. There is simply no other system that has this ability. At some point Echo Look will be able to detect all aspects of your personal wardrobe.
The Echo Look is deceptively simple at first look. However just like Alexa, the heavy lifting is done by the AI in the AWS cloud. Today the system uses the Style Check app as a way to help you identify your current look and to find examples of what others are wearing and of course at some point offer a potential purchase via Amazon. The looks you create will be stored int a Personal LookBook for future reference.
The Echo Look Is A Closet Inventory System
With Echo/Alexa in your closet, the system will slowly begin to understand what you own, like and may like in the future. In fact, it may turn out that many users will use the LookBook app rather than dig through their closet to suggest what to wear on a particular day.
Additionally sooner than most of us can think, Alexa may say “Lisa, you have a meeting with Bob today from headquarters, so I have made some suggestions in your LookBook so that you look your best. You also have a date with Eric and the same outfit will work for the evening, with the accessories you can add after work. What do you think?”
The Style Check aspect of Echo Look is a great example of how deep learning and AI can attack a problem. Over time, and based on your personalized look, Style Check will improve with ideas.
Thus we see the long game of Echo Look. It is not just to sell you some new garments, but to become an AI based fashion/style consultant and “friend”. Perhaps at some point it may make the tuff calls on regrettable fashion choices that may save you from looking back and saying “what was I thinking”.
Not Just An Eye For Fashion
The camera on the Echo Look will be able to do far more than enable fashion advice in the future. With the powerful AI Amazon is using the system could:
- Detect emotional health- Happy to clinical depression
- Detect physical health- Healthy to heart disease and more
- Detect life changes- Pregnancy to obesity
- Detect the surroundings- Home style and overall wealth
Additionally the camera is most definitely going to be used for identifying the user and users in the room. The problem with a Voice Identification ststem is that it can be easily broken. Using a combination of Voice ID and image recognition there can be a near certainty in identifying the user. This is vitally important for Voice Commerce in the future and Amazon is slowly introducing the camera on Echo Look but may very week be on all future devices.
A Direct Hit To Retail Apparel Sales
The impact to retail apparel sales will over time be quite impactful as the last thread holding many women to some boutiques and larger retailers was fashion advice based on the look a particular store may have. I have no doubts that Echo Look will be successful in exactly the way that internally Amazon has defined. Over the arc of the next ten years we will look back and wonder how Voice First systems have become so common in so many areas. The Amazon Look will be one of those products, just like the original Echo that takes hold outside the centerline of the tech world and becomes beloved by millions before it is rediscovered by the tech world as being a “thing” give it about two years.
I believe that the $200 price point, above the original Amazon Echo selling price today is steep. However I see a point in time where it will be about $99 or FREE. There are many compelling reasons for Amazon to start offering these devices at no cost to Prime customers that will use it to increases average tickets and average volume. Some shoppers may spend thousands of dollars through the Echo Look.
I have said there is a revolution ahead and it has a voice, I also know it will have a camera .
____ Echo Look | Hands-Free Camera and Style Assistant  Amazon Rekognition – Deep learning-based image analysis  What is the Amazon Go Store, the new retail shopping experience and why is it important?  There is A Revolution Ahead and It Has A Voice