mybestfit – A mall near you may soon be featuring a booth that allows you to quickly know your size of choice at all of the stores in the mall. The booths offered by mybestfit and currently installed in a Pennsylvania mall look very similar to full body scanning solutions see at the airport, but instead of scanning for dangerous items provide a very detailed sizing profile for users. Given the ongoing vanity sizing taking place in fashion, this could be a very useful service. While it doesn’t solve the problem of varying sizes at stores, it could take some of the guesswork out of picking the right size clothing to take to the dressing room. Whether these booths use the same technology or not, the footprint is essentially identical. This means that the biggest obstacle for this solution is removing consumer perception that ‘nude’ images of them will surface on the internet somewhere. While they highlight that users stay clothed for sizing, I see no validation that privacy is assured and that no images are seen or kept. This solution needs to be sold carefully to consumers and locked down hard against technically proficient attendants with, shall we say, a potentially loose sense of privacy and online behaviour. I’m not suggesting that these points would be front and centre of their marketing plan, but there should be an FAQ somewhere. I’m not shy, and I trust the airport security who protect us to a reasonable degree to keep images to themselves as a semi-official professional organization, but I don’t trust some person at the mall I’ve never met, and nobody else should either. Privacy issues aside, if it works as advertised, it’s a very impressive and practical solution, and it would be great to see it in the local mall.
Mobile Payment – Much hyped Square had come under some fire from the payments industry for security holes, but is looking to move towards industry standards with some investment from Visa. Also, for those of us with those EMV woes that may want to pay or be paid through these iPhone interfaces, iZettle out of Sweden apparently have an EMV flavour of card reading device. As always, the mobile wallet brings controversy, multiple players, and no simple answer any time soon.
Social Media Vending Machine – Pepsi recently announced social media capability in a new breed of vending machines. Users can purchase a Pepsi for a friend at a machine, and the friend can pick up their beverage at another social media enabled vending machine. Users can send the beverage with a personalized text message or some macines will even have video message capability. Check the video for more details. It’s fascinating how vending and self-service are increasingly converging. The improvements in technology seem to allow the only limit to the solution be the imagination of the responsible party. That and a solid budget. As these systems become increasingly complex, the support infrastructure behind it will need to become more robust than the person in the delivery truck unlocking the unit and emptying the coins. The thought behind supporting solutions like these for the long term is as important as the idea itself, as this solution support – the infrastructure for the video, the supply chain for the merchandise, the ability to monitor the uptime of the system, and the ongoing care and feeding in general – will be what makes these solutions a success or a giant boat anchor. A boat anchor with a large, blank flat LCD on the front of it.