I think it is reasonable to suggest the whole magic mirror/LCD display embedded in mirror glass thing has been something less than a runaway success in digital signage. I see them in “stores of the future” and one-off whiz-bang installs, but don’t get any sense they’re widely installed by or for anyone.
Perhaps the mainstreaming of the tech – albeit for a different purpose – may jump-start interest.
A NYC start-up called MIRROR has just secured $34 million in Series B-1 financing, bringing the total funding to date to $72 million for what is billed as the first nearly invisible, interactive home gym. This round of funding includes support from the athletic wear retailer lululemon.
MIRROR launched in September 2018, offering a workout system that’s built around a smartphone app, with the viewing and feedback canvas on a mirror with an embedded LCD display. There are live and on-demand fitness/workout classes.
MIRROR One-On-One Personal Training is here! For the first time bring the country’s top trainers into your home through MIRROR’s immersive technology. Get real-time tips, feedback, and encouragement. Book today for just $40 per session. pic.twitter.com/D4JWIbXsDT— MIRROR (@getthemirror) October 29, 2019
The company is talking about adding other content to these devices, and you could imagine ads popping up on these devices (though there might be shit-storm about that). The bigger thing is that if this startup gets momentum as Peloton has done with home-cycling, it will no longer seem magical, odd or somehow creepy that a mirror can double as a display.
I suspect some of the discomfort with LCD mirrors in dressing rooms is the idea of tech being in the things, and are there cameras??? Is my image captured as I undress??? That sort of thing.
Mainstreamed tech has a way of taking that upset away.
Apparel store interactive mirrors can do things like suggestive selling for accessories, or have AR overlays to virtually overlay clothing articles. You could imagine similar things for other types of retail, like eyeglasses.
Hotels, albeit sparingly, have tried mirrors that help room guests double-check their appearance before heading out, but could also act as communications boards. TVs can act as message centers, but they’re not always turned on. I’ve been in a hotel for 3-4 nights and never turned the thing on, never mind found my way to an on-screen message center.
I could, in fact, envision some higher-end hotels with good-sized rooms and poured concrete floors installing these MIRROR and offering them up as alternatives to a high maintenance on-site gym. They could also function as targeted signage.
It would make little to no sense for MIRROR to get out of its business lane and dabble in signage for retail or other things, but the rising profile and operating/marketing budget for this start-up might be the sort of thing that adds some spark to the product.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.