Amazon’s New Patent Could Change Online Shopping

After introducing Prime Wardrobe last year, it’s clear that Amazon isn’t quite done combining fashion and technology.

According to Geekwire, Amazon’s “Blended Reality Systems and Methods” patent was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on January 2. It mixes cameras, displays, and projectors to create the futuristic device that blends real images with CGI.

In simpler terms, Amazon has created the potential for a smart mirror that uses blended technology to give customers the ability to try on digital clothes in a variety of different digital settings without leaving home. If you’ve ever wanted to know how your dress will look on the beach, you could be in luck – if the mirror ever becomes a real product.

At least a portion of this technology comes from Amazon’s acquisition of startup Body Labs last year. The company boasts AI, computer vision, and body modeling expertise, and aims to create true-to-life 3D body models to support various b2b software applications.

Why it’s hot:

This technology obviously has the potential to transform how customers shop for clothing. A smart mirror could provide a more seamless solution for one of the significant drawbacks to online shopping: the inability to know how something will look on you before you buy it (and the inevitable online return and exchange nightmare). In fact, this technology takes that solution a step further by providing a service that physical retail stores just can’t provide: the ability to see how your clothing will look in the setting in which you plan to wear it. This technology also speaks to the climate of immediate gratification that goes hand in hand with the digital space; instead of waiting for an item to arrive at your home (even with 2-day Prime shipping) so that you can try it on, you can try it on as quickly as you can pick it out (which might not be good for our wallets).


I’m Just Here for the Wi-Fi

The New York Times reports that hotels are evolving past outdated ‘business centers’ and are moving to create more co-working spaces in the lobbies. Various hotel chains are revamping their lobbies and featuring free wi-fi and bathrooms in order to appeal to a more dynamic, digital clientele.

Hotels are starting to create lobbies and common spaces that are a designation for not only guests, but also locals. The hotel lobbies act as community gathering spaces with long tables, snacks and coffee from noon to 4am. Marriott has 80 locations in the works for its hotel brand created in 2013, Moxy, which features larger common spaces and “cozier” guest rooms. They don’t have a front desk, and require you to check in at the bar for your key & complimentary drink. Sheraton has also invested in overhauling 450 of its current lobbies to include “productivity tables,” equipped with outlets, USB ports, and drawers that users can rent and lock. They will also feature private phone booths and meeting rooms available for rent.

This trend is in part a response to the rise of co-working spaces like WeWork. WeWork is trying to catch up and capitalize on the trend with WeLive, a line of fully furnished short-term apartments in NYC and DC, available for short-term basis rentals.

One Amsterdam hotel founder calls the category a hybrid between a home and office with hotel services – almost like a mix between Airbnb and WeWork. The benefit for hotels is that the more locals they attract, the more genuine and authentic experiences will feel.

Why it’s hot: For freelancers and people working remote, this emerging hotel trend means there will be a larger, trendier selection of free co-working spaces available. For travelers, it means more options that working in a quiet hotel room or renting a cold conference room for collaborative work sessions. For hotels, it means more revenue as locals stream in for coffee or lunch. Win-win-win.