After six months of invite-only sales, Amazon’s new product, Amazon Glow, has hit the market. Amazon Glow is an interactive projector and video-calling device designed to make it easier for children to communicate with friends and family remotely. It’s the latest technology that could help children with remote learning and offers an interesting look into what the future of experiences for children might look like.
Brands: Ask These Questions As You Build Technology To Power Future Experiences
Amazon Glow’s offering appears similar to that of a tablet, but the interactive “mat” is innovative and serves as a use case for the next generation of experiences for children. As other companies start to develop technologies to enable future experiences for children, they should learn from Amazon Glow and ask themselves these questions:
- Is the product accessible? When designing a new product, companies must practice a key tenet of inclusive design: including the target audience (in this case, children) in the design and development of the product. For any new product, the company must understand its target audience and how much complexity those customers can realistically handle solo. Amazon Glow was produced for kids. For Amazon Glow to succeed, young kids will need to be able to set up this product on their own, turn it on, and operate it themselves.
- How well does the technology work? The success of innovative technology rests on the precision and responsiveness of the tech. I expect that a mat or dedicated space may be a near-term solution for Amazon until the technology becomes fast enough, precise enough, and inexpensive enough to use without a dedicated surface (mat). In some ways, the technology resembles the early days of augmented reality that needed triggers to place digital media in the physical world. Forrester expects this experience to improve dramatically over time.
- What are the design trade-offs between privacy/security and usability? Companies want to create an effective interaction experience while ensuring the safety and privacy of their users — especially when designing a product for kids. Can Amazon prove that Glow is better than just giving a child an old tablet with which they can download some apps and turn on all the parental controls — a solution that Apple currently provides?
- What content is needed to power this experience, and where will it come from? As consumers adopt Amazon Glow, I expect to see education and media companies partner with Amazon to use the platform to target young children. To draw in media partners and developers to create content for new technology, companies must drive adoption of the hardware base. But without content, it is hard to drive adoption — and it is hard to determine which needs to come first.
- Is there demand for this product? Two years ago, the demand for an Amazon Glow-type solution was palpable, as US youths had to use remote learning and needed help from technology. Per the Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics® US Youth Survey, 2021, 43% of US youths said they have a hard time doing remote work, 41% said they felt lonely when doing remote school activities, and only 29% have found ways to connect with classmates while remote. As kids return to school, Glow can continue to complement preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school learning and help parents who feel less productive at home with their children.
As I mentioned above, the success of Amazon Glow will likely ride on the responsiveness and precision of the mat (visualized through projection). Amazon has launched products before and then pulled the plug — from its Amazon Fire Phones to its Amazon Books stores. But if it can get adoption — and buy-in from parents, children, and teachers — it could have longer-term viability. Amazon Glow will be an interesting use case to watch as more and more companies build out the future of experiences. Curious to learn more about our “future of experiences” research? Please schedule a call with me — I would love to hear from you!
(This blog was cowritten with Kara Wilson, senior research associate.)