'Smart Mannequins' Are Watching You, and Sending You Photos
Mannequins are creepy to begin with: shiny, white, often headless and usually faceless. They could easily double as props in a horror movie.
So does it make it more or less creepy that a new breed of mannequins can text and track your movements?
For instance, there is Jonathan Berlin, the managing director of United Kingdom-based Universal Display, a company that sells mannequins to retailers such as Uniqlo, Lord & Taylor and Saks, among others. In the face of increasing competition from ecommerce sites, Berlin decided that it was time his mannequins worked harder to make a sale.
And so he started embedding some of them with electronic beacons (i.e. transmitters that can communicate with phones.) The result? His mannequins can now send photos of the outfits they are wearing to shoppers within a 100-foot range.
Related: The Rise of 'Nudge' Advertising
Mr. Berlin isn't the only mannequin maker layering tech capabilities onto his plastic models. The Italian company Almax has created a line of mannequins with cameras embedded in the eyes, so that they can track consumers shopping behavior, the Times reports.
While all of this is fascinating -- and yes, a little creepy -- don't expect your local department store mannequins to start sending you messages right away. While Berlin's mannequins are currently installed in some high-end stores in the UK, they are still being tested stateside.
However, as iBeacon technology -- in which companies can send consumers' geographically targeted promotions and deals, providing they opt-in – becomes more prevalent, it's not a stretch to imagine a near-future where most mannequins text.
Entrepreneur Editors' Picks
Online Scams Are More Sophisticated Than Ever. Here's How to Shop Safely on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, According to a Cyber Intelligence Expert.
This Guy Saved Barbie From Cultural Extinction. He Did It by Asking One Big Question.
The Top 5 Hot Franchise Categories for 2023, According to One Industry Expert
Why Can't We Resist Black Friday and Cyber Monday? A Behavioral Economist Explains the Psychological Forces That Make Sales Irresistible.
I Couldn't Sleep. I Obsessed Over My Failures. Then I Found the Weirdest Cure.
This Pitch Scored a $250,000 Investment — But It Almost Didn't Happen
Employees Were Demanded to Go Home. Here's How We Invite Them to Come Back.