InStyle: Bringing the In-Store Experience Home
Promenant Management is a New York based company that is revolutionizing the way people shop, entertain, and view information. The Promenant Management team earned third place in the MSIT eBusiness Technology Practicum Competition for their project, “InStyle: Bringing the In-Store Experience Home”. MSIT eBusiness program faculty member Sophie Jeong, consulting faculty Matt Fredrikson (Assistant Professor, Computer Science Department), and Promenant’s project coordinator Adam Somer, managed the seven-member student team. For this project, Promenant asked their MSIT eBusiness student team to transform and simplify the online shopping experience. The goal was to build a working prototype that integrates voice input/output to allow consumers to request information and review and order items without the need to view web pages. Because the sponsor needed the interface to be handled by voice, this required voice recognition along with natural language processing. This was an important feature to attract users by creating a home shopping environment with a friendly atmosphere. It was a challenge to obtain effective search results in the voice search space, so the students optimized search results from thousands of Amazon products to significantly reduce the number of items available. They did this by combining pre-defined selective key words along with user’s preferences by applying a machine-learning algorithm along with a natural language processing algorithm. In order to promote usability, the team applied augmented reality by recognizing the user's face and body with a smartphone camera. At the Practicum Competition, the seven-member team successfully presented a voice assisted smart home shopping solution, earning them a prize of $6,000 and third place in the competition.