The most popular types of entertainment used for children between two and five years old in apps are clear, colorful, and friendly visuals; music and sound cues; and story-telling.
1. Clear, Colorful, and Friendly Visuals
- Based on a study conducted by Raising Children, toddlers get distressed by watching screens for too long, and they are attracted to movement, lights, and activities on the screen.
- Although they recognize familiar and repetitive voices and characters, they don’t understand the activity being performed on the screen and lack the skill to differentiate screen from reality.
- They copy the activities they see, especially if done with someone else, like clapping, but don’t understand the reason.
- According to a study made by the University of Oxford, children between two and three years old are experimenting with shapes, sizes, colors, textures, hand-to-eye coordination, etc. This skill development makes them more attracted to coloring and drawing activities, joining dots through jigsaws, bright colors, games of matching shapes and colors, trying different art tools from their fingers to the pencils, modeling and playing with clay, etc.
- Raising Children determined that preschoolers are attracted to interactive videos, visuals, colors, and activities where the host interacts with the camera. They enjoy animations and cartoons for their age, as they know when the show is for older kids.
- At this age, it’s hard to separate reality from fantasy. High-quality effects might make them think its real, or get them scared easily of non-friendly characters.
- During preschool, 50% of the children’s brain is focused on visual processing. Through visuals, educators can increase the children’s desire to read by 80%, their comprehension by 95%, and their understanding of instructions by 323%.
- Four-year-olds are in the age of early literacy and numerical skills. Since they already learned shapes, they enjoy putting them together, making collages, cutting and pasting, playing dress-up and math games, etc.
- At the age of five, children develop their memory more, making them attracted to visual memory games, and games that combine sounds with memory, like “Simon says.” As preschoolers, they enjoy playing with letters and start creating words.
- The Starting Blocks Organization determined that between three and five years old, children enjoy colorful visuals, shapes, numbers, letters, building blocks, puzzles, matching numbers and letters, cutting and pasting, emotions and gender games, drawing, coloring, and dressing-up games.
- According to the Early Child Development and Care study, when it comes to playing preferences, 2.29/3 preschooler boys prefer construction-oriented games.
2. Music and Sound Cues
- Between two and three years old, children start to experiment with their language, so they enjoy fun songs that help them develop their vocabulary and create new sounds. It is a great stage to entertain them by singing with them, dancing, rapping, doing rhymes, learning to shout, and whisper.
- Since they are more attentive to sounds than visuals, at this age, children like musical videos, shows, and games, being some of the most popular shows Beat Bugs, Little Baby Bum, Nina’s Wold, and Sesame Street, among others.
- Four-year-olds enjoy songs that teach them how to count, alphabet, trying to do the songs in reverse, and it’s even better if the counts are accompanied by visual representations.
- At the age of five, children develop their speaking and listening skills even more, so their main attraction are sounds. They enjoy phonetic games and matching sounds with visuals, like animal sounds, etc.
- The Starting Blocks Organization confirmed that between three and five years old, children also enjoy repeating words, naming items, and counting.
- Since preschoolers combine their sound attention with visuals and story-telling, some of the most popular shows at their age include Peppa Pig, Chu Chu, and Paw Patrol, among others.
- Between two and three years old, children’s imagination stars to wake, so they enjoy stories, especially with fun visual books with pictures and pop-ups, or through animated videos.
- Preschoolers don’t understand the concept of flashback or dream sequence in a story. It is also harder for them to follow parts of the story without visuals.
- Four-year-olds enjoy stories of fiction, non-fiction, sing-a-long, rhymes, and poetry.
- Five-year-olds are attracted to memory and listening activities, and a great way in which they practice this is through puppet games.
- The Starting Blocks Organization also indicated that children between three and five years like representing stories and becoming participants, acting roles, and even narrating their own stories.
- The Early Child Development and Care study indicated that 2.32/3 preschool girls like pretend play games, like role-playing and storytelling, instead of construction games.
Rules for Designing Kids’ Applications
- A study conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group about the most effective UX designs for children confirmed that, at a young age, they are still developing some cognitive skills. The most successful games and apps are the ones that take into consideration that children between two and seven years old understand more in terms of symbols than language.
- The rules to take into account when creating apps for kids include having clear visuals and attractive visuals, giving the kids clear instructions of their goals through visuals and sounds, give easy to understand feedback through sounds or emotions, combine reality model with the game to make it easier to understand, use self-explanatory interfaces, etc.
- The ranking of the top educational apps for Toddlers in 2020 indicated that the preferred ones by parents and kids were ABC Mouse, PBS Kids, Busy Shapes 2, Monkey Preschool Lunchbox, Toca Boca, Balloon Pop, and Toca Doctor.
- These apps used games of recognizing sounds, sizes, role-playing, change balloon shapes, color games, music, sounds, videos, stories, and all with calming music and backgrounds.
- According to the ranking of top apps for preschoolers of 2019, the top apps were in the categories of Brain-Building, Artistic, and World-Wise.
- The most popular brain-building apps were Learn with Homer, Khan Academy Kids, Teach Me: Preschool/Toddler, Alien Buddies, Metamorphabet, Hungry Caterpillar Play School, ABC Mouse, and Epic!
- All of these were created using games and activities related to story-telling, songs, phonics, memory game, letter matching/recognition games, math games, art, and music.
- In the artistic category, the most popular apps were Faces iMake Premium, Tiny Robot Maker, and Drawnimal, all using dress-up games, painting, drawing, and make-over games.
- Finally, in the world-wise category, the most popular apps were RelationShapes, Daniel Tiger’s Day and Night, Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings, AlphaTots, Fiete Farm, Duckie Deck Trash Toy, Peppy Pals, and Toca Nature.
- These apps used task games, songs, stories, recognition of shapes and emotions, alphabet, and art.
To determine the most popular types of entertainment for children between two and five years old, we began defining and separating the groups as toddlers (two-year-olds), and preschoolers (three to five-year-olds), since they have different attention ability and cognitive skills.
Then, we looked for statistics and reports of the top types of entertainment; however, there was little information available regarding the types of preferred visual as a group, since kids’ preferences vary by environment, age, gender, etc.
Next, we searched different approaches of education for these ages, and the type of entertainment or aids used the most to determine their popularity based on repetition across multiple sources. After analyzing different children’s websites and reports, like Oxford Owl, Starting Blocks Organization, Raising Children, Scholastic, the Nielsen Norman Group, the Oregon University, we determined that the most popular types of entertainment are clear, simple, and friendly visuals; sounds, phonics, and music; and story-telling.
Since these categories of entertaining preferences can be very broad, we included the most common types of visuals used per age group, sounds, and story-telling styles.
Finally, we included as confirmation the most popular programs, shows, and applications among children between two and five years old to exemplify the application of visuals, sounds, and stories in the most popular entertainment platforms.
Trends in Technology for Children
Two trends in technology for children under the age of 12 in the United States are Augmented and Virtual Reality and Gamification, or Game-Based Learning. An overview of each trend, along with a research strategy is provided below.
1. Augmented and Virtual Reality
- 89% of educators are interested in using AR and VR for children in the near future.
- Over 60% of parents think that virtual reality can offer educational experiences for their children.
- While only 22% of VR games that are made for children are educational, it is expected that this number will increase in the coming years.
- One study showed that the use of AR in children under the age of six increased their test scores in early childhood education.
- AR and VR are becoming increasingly popular among parents and children because it engages the child in visual situations outside of what they can normally access. For example, Google Expeditions allows children to experience hundreds of places around the world.
- AR and VR products are becoming more appealing to companies because they are easier than ever to produce with developer kits from companies like Apple and Google.
- Companies are using AR to further engage children in products they already love. For example, Coloring Box offers 3D art projects that children can use an app with to “bring the project to life“.
- The Dr. Suess Company is creating AR versions of the Dr. Suess books with the aim of enhancing the way children learn to read.
- Game-based learning, or gamification, is becoming more popular because it is showing results in children. For example, game-based learning software has been shown to boost self-confidence by 20%, increase conceptual understanding by 11%, and boost memory by up to 90%.
- The market size for game-based learning is expected to increase to $341 billion globally by 2025.
- The adoption rate of gamification by parents and teachers is expected to increase by 21.7% from 2020 to 2025.
- Currently, about 1 in 5 teachers use gamification techniques or software in their classrooms, and that is only expected to increase.
- Gamification is expected to increase even more because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is because many students will use distance learning and parents will need gamification products to entice their children to learn at home in a non-traditional setting that can be more distracting.
- One company that is at the forefront of gamification is ABCMouse. They offer an online and mobile app that is subscription-based and has all kinds of learning activities in various subjects for grades K-8.
- ABCMouse can be used right at home by parents and children and has a rating of 4.5 stars with over 353,000 ratings.
- Some things that parents love about ABCMouse include improved educational skills, easy to use on multiple platforms, engages their children, and is fun for parents to use alongside their children.
Impact of Technology on Early Childhood Development
Technology has both positive and negative impacts on early child development. The requested information about scientific studies on the focus area is presented below.
Supporting Literacy and Digital Literacy Development in Early Childhood Education Using Storytelling Activities. 2018
- The researchers in this study were interested in exploring the design and effectiveness of applying digital literacy storytelling among children aged five to six years.
- The researchers separated the 45 participants into three groups. The experimental group received the digital literacy storytelling, the second group received oral storytelling, while the control group received the regular literacy classroom activities.
- According to the findings, the children’s literacy skills in the experimental group increased significantly compared to the control group. At the beginning of the study, the mean for the three groups (control, oral storytelling, and digital storytelling) were 1.88, 1.92, and 1.88 respectively.
- However, the post-test results showed means of 2.04, 2.80, and 3.00 respectively. These findings imply that using technology in teaching children can have a positive effect in their literacy development.
Impacts of Technology Use on Children: Exploring Literature on the Brain, Cognition and Well-being. 2019
- This academic paper explores the existing literature, including studies on the relationship between technology use among children and the effects on their brain, cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development.
- The paper identifies several important key findings. First, there is consistency among research findings that moderate internet use could enhance children’s interaction with their peers. Second, blue light from some technology devices could affect sleep because it affects melatonin production.
- Third, all media are not equal, meaning that different forms of media technologies will have different impacts on child development. Fourth, co-viewing helps children understand onscreen content as it provides “scaffolding” opportunities.
- However, despite these key observations, the paper still notes the need for more research to address some gaps and grey areas regarding the effects of technology on child development.
Association Between Mobile Technology Use and Child Adjustment in Early Elementary School Age. 2018
- This was a longitudinal study that examined the effects of the child-upbringing environment on the social development and adjustment of the children. The study had 5,024 child participants aged five years from nursery schools and kindergartens in Japan’s Nagoya city.
- The main variables included the mobile device use, which was the explanatory variable, and child adjustment, which was the outcome variable. According to the findings, the use of mobile devices including smartphones and tablets had a negative effect on child behavior development.
- The study found that frequent use of mobile devices increased the likelihood of social isolation among children, reduced opportunities for children to socially interact with friends and families, and ultimately causing behavioral/emotional problems.
- For instance, 10.4% of regular users had conduct problems compared to 5.6% of non-regular mobile device users.
Reciprocal Associations between Electronic Media Use and Behavioral Difficulties in Preschoolers. 2018
- This longitudinal study aimed at exploring associations of use of electronic media among preschoolers aged between two and six years old and behavioral difficulties.
- Relying on a sample population of 527 children from Germany, the study found that using electronic media such as computers and the internet increased the children’s behavioral problems including emotional, conduct, inattention, and hyperactivity problems.
- From the finding, the study concludes that the use of electronic media among preschoolers and behavioral problems are mutually related.
- For example, compared to other screen based media, game console is more likely to cause emotional problems with a score of 1.10.
Young Children’s Use of Smartphones and Tablets. 2020
- This study explored the use of smartphones and tablets among children aged between three and five years. The researchers used a sample of 346 parents and guardians.
- According to the findings, the average daily usage of smartphones and tablets among the children was 115.3 minutes per day.
- While the study did not focus much on the impacts of this usage on child development, it nevertheless was inspired by evidence from previous research showing that technology use could predict behavior patterns among children.
Some of the studies included extended beyond the 2-5 years range, it was necessary to include them because their focus age groups also included the targeted category. The findings of the studies were also consistent with researches on the requested age range.
Parents and Children: Technology Use
Technology change among parents of children aged 2-5 years old has occurred with regard to technology usability, amount of time spent on the devices, and device ownership. According to WHO (World Health Organization), kids aged five years and below should have a one-hour screen time limit a day while children under two-years should have zero screen time.
- In 2013, only 7% of young children owned a tablet while in 2017, 42% of the young children own tablets. In the year 2011, less than 1% of children aged 2–5 years had their own tablets.
- In 2011, children in the United States used to spend an average of 5 minutes a day with a handheld device, which increased to 15 minutes a day in 2013 and 48 minutes a day in 2017.
- As of 2014, 69% of parents in the United States with children aged 0–8 years old had a smartphone in their homes while 40% had tablets. According to CSM, 53% of children in the United States own smartphones by the age of 11 years and 69% by the age of 12 years old.
Amount of Time Spent
- According to a study by Common Sense Media, parents in the United States of children aged eight years spend over 9 hours a day on screen media, watching movies, social media browsing, and video games. Parents spend an average of 197 minutes watching TV, DVDs, or video, 90 minutes playing video games, 66 minutes social networking, 51 minutes browsing websites, and 15 minutes using e-readers.
- The parents spend an average of 44 minutes on a computer, tablet or smartphone and 99 minutes on work screen media. Parents of children between the ages of 2-12 years old in the United States spend 24 more minutes with their children than their phones.
- According to a survey, 62% of parents admitted being addicted to their gadgets, spending more time on their phones while attending to their children.
- Over 5–10 years ago, parents of children aged 2–5 years old used to spend more time with their children, unlike now parents use technology to look for parenting solutions online.
- According to a study, 48% of the parents stated that they text at work, 38% use social media and 33% watch TV. Two-thirds of the parents with kids aged 2–12 years think that divided attention between work and social media doesn’t affect their work quality, while 78% stated to be good role models in technology for their kids.
- About 35% of the parents in the United States admit that technology makes parenting easier, according to research by Common Sence Media. Around 63% of these parents take screen time away as punishment for wrongdoings, 58% of parents use smart devices to keep their children occupied, 53% reward their kids with technology devices for good work done. In comparison, 52% of the parents give the devices to kids to calm them down when they are upset.
- Over 5–10 years ago, 30% to 40% of parents in the United States were taught how to use the internet and computer by the children/teenagers and right now parents with children aged 2–5 years old already know how to use technology and the internet.
- According to research, 76% of parents in the United States use smart technology devices such as video doorbells, video calls, and security cameras to keep their children safe.
- Smartphone technology has blurred the lines between social lives, work, and home and parents are struggling to create a balance. Over five years ago, work was left in the office, but in current times, parents with young children still receive email alerts and work calls on their mobile devices. The technology-based expectation, such as responding to work emails, creates an imbalance in family life.
- Parents use technology, especially social media and peer forums, to benchmark their parenting styles. Parents today use technology to track their children’s activities and even monitor their school progress when they start school.
- Over ten years ago, figuring out a child’s location wasn’t straightforward, but currently, there is the technology used by parents to keep tabs on children when parents are away.
Children Use of Technology
- Children between the ages of 2–12 years old spend an average of 23 hours per week on technological devices like smartphones, which is twice as much time spent talking to their parents. According to a poll, the children spend an average of 1 hour 53 minutes conversing with family members, a day.
- To effectively enforce good technology use at homes, Robb from CSM suggests that families should consume media together watching the same programs.
Early Childhood Learning Technology Market: Risks or Challenges
Two biggest risks or challenges for companies looking to enter the early childhood learning technology space are privacy concerns and a crowded ed tech market. Detailed information is below.
- One of the biggest challenges for companies looking to enter the early childhood learning technology space is privacy concerns.
- According to a 2019 state of ed tech privacy report by Common Sense, educational applications targeted at children widely lack transparency and use privacy and security practices that are inconsistent and unclear.
- In addition, the number of ed tech products under the ‘use responsibly’ category were only 20%. This means that 80% of applications and services did not meet the threshold.
- The lack of transparency indicates that products are of poor quality as “applications and services that are more transparent also tend to engage in qualitatively better privacy and security practices.”
- With educational technology platforms serving a vulnerable population, more attention needs to be paid to the security and privacy practices of ed tech tools used by millions of children daily.
- Many schools and parents are worried about the privacy of their children and how the data is stored and used. Startups need to show that their ed tech is safe and secure.
- EdTech Focus on K-12 says that parents and lawmakers are increasingly concerned about the privacy of ed tech items and parents want strict regulations on how companies and schools handle the sensitive information obtained from children.
- According to The Tech Advocate, states have passed new data security laws that require companies looking to enter the early childhood learning technology space to absolutely protect student data. Companies that do not comply with the new data security laws will not be allowed to offer their products to schools.
A Crowded Market
- The other biggest risk or challenge for companies looking to enter the early childhood learning technology space is a crowded market. The ed tech industry is growing at a fast rate.
- According to EdSurge, $1.7 billion was invested by venture capital funds into the ed tech market in the United States in 2019. The investment was dominated by large Series C investments.
- This is an encouragement for companies entering the early childhood learning technology space as it could mean that they stand a chance to succeed. However, this provides a challenge to new comers into the market as there is a lot of competition in the market which keeps growing daily.
- When there are too many competitors in the market, it becomes difficult for companies entering the early childhood learning technology space to stand out. New comers into the market must be different and offer exceptional products and services to stand out in the crowded market.
Parents Environmental Concerns
This report collects two major concerns for parents regarding their children’s home environment: parental ability (particularly in fostering brain development), too much screen time and violence in the neighborhood. There is a segment of parents who want to limit their children’s screen time but do not currently (potentially because of not knowing how to implement controls). Full details are provided below.
Parents Are Concerned About Their Parenting Abilities and Ability to Foster Brain Development
Parents of children 0-5 are concerned about their own parenting abilities in the home environment and are looking for materials to foster it. Being able to better influence brain development is a primary reason. Family and online sources are common ways parents look for advice or parenting materials.
- 54 percent of parents of children 0-5 responded that they wished they had more access to parenting materials to enable them to be a better parent.
- Dads were most in need of parenting materials with 62 percent responding as such and 47 percent of moms.
- The need to develop brain growth is a major reason parents are looking for parenting materials according to 58 percent of dads and 41 percent of moms.
- Of the ethnicities, Hispanics were most likely to be seeking more parenting materials at 63 percent.
- Asians were most likely to be concerned about early brain development with a response of 61 percent strongly agreeing.
- Parents acquire parenting materials or advice from their family and friends. 32 percent of mothers rely on their family for parenting advice.
- 34 percent of parents turn to books, websites, or magazines for parenting advice. Mothers are almost twice as likely to do this than fathers (43 percent compared to 23 percent).
- 21 percent of mothers use social media or online message boards for parenting materials or advice, compared to 9 percent of fathers.
Parents are Concerned with the Amount of Screen Time Their Children Consume
Screen time in the home environment is a major concern. Most parents are acting to limit it through some measure, though some are not (and wish they were). Screen time makes parenting more difficult.
- Parents of all incomes with children younger than 6 are concerned about limiting the screen time their children consume.
- 81 percent of parents with children younger than 6 say their children either watch videos or play games on a daily basis.
- 32 percent of parents with children younger than 6 believe their children consume too much screen time.
- 85 percent of parents surveyed in South Carolina (with school-age children) said they limit their child’s screen time.
- 8.5 percent of parents in South Carolina said they would like to limit their children’s screen time but do not currently.
- Parents want to limit screen time in part because it makes their job more difficult (with 68 percent reporting as such).
Violence and Drugs are Concerns in the Immediate Neighborhood
Parents, particularly in low income areas, are concerned with physical violence in their immediate neighborhoods. All families are concerned with bullying and drug abuse to some extent.
- Low income parents (making less than $30,000 a year) are particularly concerned with violence being directed toward their child, including in the neighborhood and home environment (such as the yard).
- 59 percent of low income parents are worried their child will be kidnapped (including in their neighborhood).
- 55 percent of low income parents worry that their child will be beat up or attacked (including in their neighborhood).
- 60 percent of low income parents are worried their child will be bullied.
- Bullying was also a concern for high-income parents making more than $75,000 a year, with 61 percent reporting as such.
- Developing a problem with drugs or alcohol was a concern across income brackets, with 41 percent of low income families reporting it as a concern and 44 percent of high income families.
- To help combat threats from violence in the neighborhood, parents teach their children about “stranger danger” and to be wary of suspicious activity.
Parent’s Attitudes Towards Technology
American parents with children under the age of 6 years old generally have a very positive outlook on the use of technology by their children, and believe that technology tools will support early childhood development as well as school preparedness.
- A 2018 survey of 1,000 US parents with children under the age of 6 revealed that technology usage/adoption among the parents of young children is “almost universal” in America.
- In particular, 85% percent of the parents surveyed by the Erikson Institute stated that they allow their young children to use technology, while a similar 86% of respondents asserted that they were “satisfied” with how their young children engage technology.
- Notably, this adoption level differed slightly based on the age of the children, with 25% of parents limiting access to technology for children under 3 years of age, while a much lower 8% of parents prevented access to technology for children between the ages of 3 and 5.
- Meanwhile, 84% of American parents with young children indicated that they use technology with their child, while over 75% stated that they do so on a daily basis for as much as two hours per day.
- The breakdown of daily time spent using technology with young children is detailed within the following graphic.
- Notably, other available research from the Journal of Early Childhood Research and Behavior & Information Technology appears to corroborate this adoption level, albeit using a slightly broader definition for young children (ages 2 to 7, ages 4 to 7) and/or slightly dated information.
- The 2018 Erikson Institute analysis also found that television is the most preferred technology used by American children under the age of 6 years.
- Overall, 78% of parents allow their young children to watch television, although this figure is a bit lower (68%) for parents with children under the age of 3 years.
- However, according to a slightly dated study by Florida International University, American children between 3 to 5 years old average less screen time per day (2 hours and 28 minutes) compared with children 2 years old or younger (3 hours and 3 minutes).
- According to a separate study by Rutgers University, American parents with preschool-age kids often choose television because it is viewed as a more affordable and accessible entertainment option for their children.
- Meanwhile, as depicted within the following graphic, the next most popular types of technology among US parents with young children are tablets, smartphones and computers.
- Common Sense Media adds that American’s “smallest children” (identified as those of 8 years or younger) are increasingly engaging with mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, with usage escalating significantly from 2011 (5 minutes per day) and 2013 (15 minutes per day) to 2017 (48 minutes per day).
- Moreover, 42% of young American children now have their own mobile device, up from only 7% in 2013 and 1% in 2011.
- Overall, the Erikson Institute survey revealed that most American parents with children under 6 years of age believe that technology use among young children is beneficial.
- Most surveyed parents (62%) viewed technology as having an overall “positive impact” on the time they spent with their young children.
- Additionally, as detailed within the following charts, these parents believed that engaging with technology at an early age would support their child’s early learning (72%), technology skills (69%) and language skills (62%), as well as overall readiness for school (56%) and likelihood of educational success (54%).
- However, US parents were much more likely to perceive technology usage as a positive experience for children between the ages of 3 and 5.
- Meanwhile, other available research from the Journal of Early Childhood Research and Behavior & Information Technology appears to corroborate this positive perception of technology usage among young children.
- While a much smaller subset of American parents with young children (24%) view technology usage by their kids as somewhat negative according to the Erikson Institute, a much higher portion (72%) expressed some level concern about technology in relation to their families.
- Despite the fact that television is the preferred type of technology for children under the age of 6, many of the parents of young children (75%) are concerned that their kids are around “too much screen time.“
- Other frequent concerns among US parents with young children are the potential exposure to inappropriate/commercial content and how the use of technology might distract from more active forms of play, particularly outdoors.
- The details of these concerns are further elaborated within the below graphic.
Mirror uses an internet connection to stream live and on-demand classes. The device, manufactured in Mexico, is mainly composed of an LCD screen with a quad core processor. While it has numerous capabilities, such as connection to Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitors and Spotify, there are limitations such as the necessity of having an internet connection and the use of a companion app to control the device.
- The main component of the Mirror device is an LCD screen, which is connected to the internet. Mirror uses a dual-band 802.11 A/B/G/N Wi-Fi connection.
- Workout classes are streamed on the device, which looks like a mirror when the LCD screen is off. The device uses a quad core processor.
- The total size of the display is 40″ and the screen is HD 1080p. To allow for audio interaction, there is an omnidirectional microphone as well as stereo speakers (2×10 watt, high-fidelity). The speakers are located at the bottom of the device.
- The proprietary algorithm developed by the company allows users to personalize their activities. This means they can set goals and track their progress throughout the days.
- Classes are streamed live and coaches can interact with the users through the incorporated speakers, providing tips and motivation as well as tracking their progress. There are also on-demand classes.
- In addition, the device has integrated Bluetooth, through which the user can connect wearable devices such as Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitors. This information appears on the screen while the user is working out. A heart rate monitor is included in the starter pack.
- Furthermore, if there is a target heart rate set up, the information provided by the wearable is used to adjust the workout and help the user achieve their target.
- Bluetooth technology also enables users to connect through wireless headphones. In addition, users can stream classes from the Mirror App to other devices, such as smart TVs.
- Another component of the device is a camera, which can be covered with a lens cap when the user wants privacy. The camera is placed on the front and at the top of the mirror and it is a 5-megapixel model.
- The camera is used when personal training options are purchased or to take selfies to post on the app or social media.
- In addition, there is a wall mount, which can be used to place the mirror on different wall types. There is also a carbon steel leaner stand to support the mirror away from a wall.
- Also, the device can be linked to a Spotify account, allowing the user to select their own playlist. Trainers curate playlists as well.
- A limitation is the fact that the mirror needs to be plugged in. For this, it comes with two certified cables of 1ft and 6ft each. This could limit the placement options of the user.
- A second limitation is that the device is controlled through the use of an app. This companion app is available for both iOS and Android; however, it makes the use of a smartphone a necessity. Up to six people can set up profiles on this app.
- The necessity of an internet connection could be another limitation for the use of this device.
- The device weighs 70 pounds, which could be another limitation to consider when thinking of moving it from one place to another.
Place of Manufacture and Assembly
- According to a Forbes article, the device is manufactured in Mexico. It is not specified if the assembly also takes place in this country. Delivery is limited to the contiguous United States.
Smart Mirror Trends
Some trends in smart mirrors in the United States include new uses/applications in potential markets, and integrating OLED displays in smart mirrors.
- Smart mirrors are being increasingly adopted in a number of sectors and their industrial applications are growing by the day. According to an industry report by Technavio, “end-users are testing these mirrors in trial phases in places such as elevators, public restrooms, and hotels.”
- One sector that is rapidly adopting smart mirrors is the retail industry. Smart dressing mirrors are improving customer engagement in dressing rooms.
- The smart mirrors in dressing rooms are combined with RFID and display technology to provide user-specific suggestions that help to improve sales and suggest trending outfits to customers.
- Ralph Lauren installed smart mirrors in its Manhattan outlet to improve customer experience and help retailers make smart decisions.
- According to Technavio, more smart mirrors are likely to be installed in many places in the future. The major driving factor in the rapid adoption of smart mirrors in the retail industry is the sector’s transition to digital stores.
- High-end multi-brand retailers are increasingly installing smart mirrors to understand customer buying patterns and use the garnered insights for targeted advertising.
- Some years ago, 150 smart mirrors were installed at Chicago O’Hare Airport as a pilot test of their viability in advertising. The result of this was a significant increase in sales in the retail sector.
- Other sectors that are rapidly adopting smart mirrors are healthcare, residential, and professional industries. Smart mirrors can be applied in the healthcare industry to improve patient care, reduce medical expenses, provide patient details, drug reminders, and real-time human body statistics.
- Smart mirrors are also being adopted in the automotive industry as side view and rear view mirrors to enhance safety. This adoption is fueled by the surge in popularity of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems in the automotive sector.
Integrating OLED Displays in Smart Mirrors
- Another trend in smart mirrors is the integration of OLED displays in smart mirrors. OLED displays are becoming more popular because of their advantages when compared with LCD displays.
- Their advantages include, “a wider viewing angle, better picture clarity, brighter colors, thin panels, and low power consumption.”
- Electronic manufacturers are still in the development stage with their smart mirror offerings, some have recently launched prototypes in technological seminars and conferences. Samsung unveiled the industry’s first OLED smart mirrors in 2015 for retail application.
- Chow Sang Sang, a jewelry company was the first brand to use the OLED smart mirrors to make the buying experience more visually compelling and engaging.
Smart Mirrors for Children
Smart mirrors are gaining popularity worldwide across a number of applications, including: automotive, fitness, and retail. Smart mirrors targeted specifically for children seem to currently be either start-up projects, or products aimed primarily at the retail market, possibly because of the high price tag. Below, we outline three companies that provide products made, or specialized, for kids. Details of these products are included in the linked spreadsheet in the Interactive Tech / Smart Mirrors tab.
- Miraffe was created by Chinese engineer Huang Jinlong in 2016, and was marketed as part of a Kickstarter campaign. The project goal was to offer an affordable handheld smart mirror, just for kids. Limited quantities were to be offered at a promotional price of just $99. After that, the cost would be raised to $300 per mirror. The mirror had cameras on both sides, and included a touch screen. It allowed for object identification, and information could be provided in English or Chinese.
- As part of the Kickstarter campaign, people who pledged $99 or more received a mirror. The project raised $5,554 of the $20,000 requested. However, the product does not appear to have been more widely distributed, and the project was canceled on 6/17/2016, when it failed to meet its funding goals. Challenges included reaching a wider audience than the start-up market.
- In 2019, Visage Technologies and actiMirror teamed up to create the actiMirror AR for kids. This product offers a kid-friendly user interface and 6 unique face masks, including a fireman and princess. Product pricing is not listed, but is provided upon contacting the company. The unique interface is a customized app applied to one of the standard smart mirrors offered by the company. It has been used in shopping centers to provide entertainment that kids can use without the help of their parents.
- actiMirror is listed as a key player in the global smart mirror market. Its revenue data is not publicly available, but Zoom estimates it at $5 million. The global market size for smart mirrors was $1,750 million in 2017, and is projected to reach $4,118 million by 2025. Using the 2017 number, actiMirror’s global market share is estimated at .29%. US market size data was not available without the purchase of a report.
- The company seems to be doing well, in large part because of its strong partnerships with both other tech companies, and retailers. actiMirror has entered a commercial partnership with the number one augmented reality beauty platform. Another selling point, is that it has a price point lower than many of its competitors.
- FXMirror Kids provides kids with both a 3D virtual fitting experience, and the opportunity for interactive play. Parents or staff can select items for the kids to try on while they play.
- FXMirror is part of the virtual reality company, FXGear. Revenue data is not publicly available, but Owler estimates FXGear’s yearly revenue at $5.4 million, which would make its estimated global market share .31%.
- The company’s latest model offers a unique virtual avatar that allows users to customize hair styles and quickly try on 1000s of outfits. It also offers the ability to scan QR codes.