Mattel is giving Barbie a smart home. The international toymaker unveiled the voice-controlled Hello Dreamhouse for Barbie dolls on Saturday at the New York Toy Fair. Connected to the internet via Wi-Fi, the toy set can allow kids to control several aspects of the house via voice commands, such as turning on the lights or operating the elevator. This isn’t the first time Mattel has dabbled with voice-command toys. Last September, it debuted a new line of Barbie dolls named “Hello Barbie” with speech-recognition and basic conversational skills, which later drew some privacy concerns from parents.
In addition, Mattel also embraced some other emerging technologies, launching the $40 VR View-Master 2.0 that’s compatible with Google Cardboard content, as well as the $299 ThingMaker 3D-printer, a system that allows kids and their parents to print action figures and other DIY toys via an app.
What Brands Need To Do
The new voice-controlled Barbie house serves naturally as a line extension of the conversational Hello Barbie dolls, reaffirming Mattel’s belief in the future of interactive toys. For marketers, the quickening development of such conversational interfaces, which allow users to interact with computers via natural language, presents new challenges and opportunities in reaching consumers.
For more information on how brands can develop authentic brand voices and navigate the new interface, check out the Conversational Interfaces section in our Outlook 2016.