Does the future of retail include talking mannequins?

VMBeacon is a new product that enables store mannequins to transmit information or ‘talk' to smartphones about the clothes on display, sending alerts about the outfit and accessories on display.

Launched by UK startup Iconeme, the technology uses an adaptation of Apple’s iBeacon hardware they describe as, “a class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence,” which has recently been used to create intricate networks of digital content inside an art gallery in Antwerp. What's unique about this version of the technology is that the information transmitted via the VMBeacon is not contained on the mannequin but within the cloud, which means it can be programmed remotely. Shoppers with the app, which is yet to be released, within a 100m radius of the VMBeacon receive notifications about the clothing and accessories on the mannequin. The notifications include information such as prices, links to purchase online from the retailer's website or simple directions as to where the products are in the store.

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