Internet of Things (IoT) has provided a gateway into connecting devices and communications, and the toy industry has taken its first step towards adopting the technology.
“The number one request we hear from girls is that they want to have a two-way conversation with Barbie doll.”
Introducing Mattel’s new IoT creation, ‘Hello Barbie.’
Mattel has officially entered this field, with the launch of their redesigned iconic children’s doll using the latest technology. Hello Barbie is the first fashion doll that allows two-way conversations.
Key features of the new doll include over 8,000 lines of dialogue, 20 interactive games and tailored conversations.
Innovating the toy industry, Mattel explained the technology behind this new toy.
“Hello Barbie features speech recognition and progressive learning features which provide girls with an engaging and unique Barbie experience.”
Using speech recognition technology from ToyTalk Inc., children can talk to Barbie and get a response by pressing her belt buckle.
This means the child’s voice is recorded, transferred to the Cloud, and stored on ToyTalk servers. But when marketing their product towards a vulnerable, young audience, Mattel must ensure privacy and security are a priority.
While the interactive doll does not pose any problems with innocent discussions about hair styles or favourite colours, concerns have been raised that the doll could open up even more sensitive data security breaches.
Mattel reassured customers that a parent must download the Hello Barbie app, create a ToyTalk account, and grant consent via email in order to set up the toy.
“These audio recordings are used to understand what is being said to Hello Barbie so she can respond appropriately and also to improve speech recognition for children and to make the service better.”
“These conversations are stored securely on ToyTalk’s server infrastructure and parents have the power to listen to, share and/or delete stored recordings at any time.”
IoT has allowed Mattel to collect data about the past user experience of customers in order to create a personalised experience.
“Hello Barbie is able to remember what she has spoken with users about in the past.”
Mattel recognises the importance of customer engagement that transcends age boundaries. Whether it is aimed at adults in the workplace or children for recreational use, businesses should ensure that customer experience is at the forefront of their innovation.
IoT has enabled Mattel to “create a seamless, magical experience for girls.”
Harnessing this technology in the volatile digital market will only put them ahead of the competition, and it is up to others to follow their example.
Ultimately, Hello Barbie has proven that amongst all industries attempting to use IoT, Mattel has produced an innovative and unique product which shows that the application of IoT is limitless.