Outdoor clothing retailer The North Face will launch a mobile app next month that lets users engage with Watson, the world’s smartest computer, to help find the right item for them.
It’s the first mobile app experience to put Watson, the powerful artificial intelligence computer owned by IBM, to use in a retail environment. The app will allow you to speak to it openly on the phone — where the Watson-powered shopping assistant will engage you in a question-and-answer conversation to help figure out exactly what you need.
How it works
Let’s say you want a spring jacket. The new app will save you from the usual online shopping experience of scrolling through pages and pages of jacket images — the North Face has 350 jackets, with different weights, styles, and protection levels.
Wondering whether you need down filling, or synthetic insulation, or something even lighter, like cotton? Sometimes you don’t even know where to start. That’s why Watson steps back and asks where exactly you’re going to use the jacket, and when (to help it know what temperature range you’ll be in), and whether you’re looking for men’s or women’s, and what sort of activities you plan to engage in.
It then automatically calculates things and — voila — spits out the jackets it thinks are best for you.