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Just a few years ago the idea of controlling the devices in your home remotely, from your smartphone, would have sounded like science fiction. But now technology isn’t just something you have in your home-it’s become part of it. As technology and the home become more integrated a number of smart-home start-ups have sprung up who are creating a range of products and services aimed at making our homes safer, more efficient and more connected than ever before.
According to market research firm Gartner, the number of networked devices will reach 20.4 billion by 2020.
Several companies from the beauty industry are looking at ways to integrate personal care with technology; bringing the salon experience into the home.
Simon Shen is the CEO of the Kinpo Group, the parent company to a number of electronic companies in Taiwan that have been developing a range of products across the new consumer electronics categories. After a passing comment by his wife asking what people in the hi-tech industry do all day, he decided to design something to impress her. A number of designs later he came up an idea to create a device that would act like a personal beauty consultant and, after three years intensive R&D, he launched HiMirror.
The product assesses skin condition to effectively target problem areas. Drawing on skin data from around the world and accounting for skin analysis results, skin type, personal preferences and lifestyles it then suggests a beauty routine, skincare tips and skincare comparisons. It can be operated using hand gestures, voice control or remote control; avoiding finger smudges. A clever function keeps track of your beauty products and can suggest similar or alternative products and, by using the MyRoutine function a user can see which products are in use and even watch skincare routine tutorials.
The Kohler Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror is an Amazon Alexa equipped device that looks like a mirror but offers hands free lighting control with just a few words.
Several firms have focused on skincare. Product design firm, Cambridge Consultants helps clients create, develop and launch products to disrupt their markets. Using off-the-shelf camera technology and integrated algorithms they developed Skintuition platform technology. It analyses the skin in twelve different colours simultaneously, including UV and Infra-red using the sort of low cost camera found in a smartphone. It can detect substances on the skin that are not visible to the naked eye and has the potential for use in a number of skincare analysis products to aid in skincare regimens.
Neutrogena has developed a device that uses sophisticated skin imaging technology to identify and measure the fine lines and pores of the skin. The Neutrogena 360 and the accompanying SkinScanner, powered by Fitskin, is a scanning device with built-in LEDs and 30x magnification that attaches to the user’s phone. When held against the skin it measures the user’s skin condition, both on the surface and below. The accompanying app captures the data and produces a score to track progress and improvement over time and can be used to suggest personalised product recommendations and expert skincare knowledge.
Romy has spent five years developing their FIGURE Formulator which captures and analyses the user’s environments; pollution, weather, sleep time, sports activity, and then formulates the most appropriate skincare treatment , in real time.
We are accustomed to hearing about apps to control home lighting and heating. But now, Agan Aroma, a leader in the fragrance industry for over 35 years, has created a diffuser which can be controlled by a smartphone app, Google Alexa, Google home or IFTTT, to personalise the home environment. Moodo is a WiFi connected diffuser, designed for the smart home. It releases infusions from scent pods into the air in any combination desired by the user-and all from a smartphone.
Even the grocery store chains are looking to take a share of the opportunity within the home beauty market. Although not offering integrated devices yet, low-cost retailers are already supplying personalized products. The well-known German low-cost retailer, Lidl, has introduced a face mask maker that can be used to create personalised sheet face masks at home. The Silvercrest Face Mask Maker includes collagen tablets and a mould so that the user can decide on exactly what ingredients they want to add to create their own face mask.
So what impact will this trend have?
As IoT and other technologies become more widespread, we can expect to see beauty devices become more integrated and affordable. At-home diagnostics and treatments combined with AI will see beauty routines become even more personalized and previously salon-only treatments become more available in the home.