Shiseido Telebeauty: The Snapchat for professionals

When I embarked on my career nearly two decades ago, I never expected to routinely see myself on a widescreen HD TV, let alone be using that medium to address groups of 5, 10 even 50 people at a resolution that’s comparable to a home cinema.  Sometimes as often as three times a week.  Perhaps that was a lack of foresight on my part?  But none the less, as someone working in business and not entertainment, how I might one day look on a TV screen wasn’t front of mind; even as I started working for international companies, with their notorious love of conference calls. And as someone on the wrong side of millennial, it can be an uncomfortable reality.  However, it’s undeniable that being presentable as a business leader is essential, whether I’m working at the office or from home (just think of all those radiant LinkedIn profile pictures! And the depth of field!).  In fact, Foresight Factory’s research shows 65% of men and 76% of women feel the need to be well-groomed.

emma hewage foresight factoryAt Foresight Factory, we have a trend called Picture Perfect, which talks about how looking as good online as you do offline is a life skill in itself. I can’t speak from experience to all the examples listed in that report, as I’m not in the dating game.  However, I do find an affinity with the idea that professionally, people may meet me virtually more often than they do face-to-face, or prior to real life interaction. And yes, I’ve also been interviewed on Skype. A majority of 57% of global consumers use a smartphone and/or tablet to complete work tasks at home and I’m an active contributor to that figure. I’m also lazy when it comes to practicing a beauty regime – so my eyes lit up when I came across Shiseido and Microsoft Japan’s ‘Telebeauty’, which is still in beta.

Announced in October last year, the Japanese beauty company created the Telebeauty software for women that use Skype for Business. The technology provides natural looking makeup filters for women who are working remotely from the office and find themselves on conference calls. Shiseido’s Telebeauty aims to cut out the hassle of applying make-up as the software is capable of brightening and perfecting skin, with filters that move seamlessly with the user. There are four looks to choose from, created with the help of Shiseido makeup artists. Best of all, it’s meant to be like Snapchat for adults – no bunny ears or cat whiskers – but a filter for an instant beauty fix.

Consider that in the UK, 50% of female consumers believe their job is important to their sense of identity, 75% rank physical appearance as very or quite important. Now imagine having access to a virtual makeup studio on your desktop as you’re waiting for everyone to connect. Certainly, it has the potential to take the sting out of suddenly seeing yourself in glorious technicolor during a surprise video call, whilst working from home. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to all the airbrushed images of impossibly gorgeous celebrities with their reams of stylists, nutritionists and personal trainers – but when do we see ‘normal’ women on our screens?  Maybe a short vox pop on television news?

Do I cringe when I see myself? Yes, quite often. Would I happily embrace technology to smooth the corners? Yes, it would be amazing!  Is it a slippery slope to Botox?  Potentially.  But above all, it’s the instant gratification and convenience of the Shiseido Telebeauty application that appeals.  In the future, would I like an add-to-basket feature? Yes please. I work full-time, have a child under 10 and have to commute. Does saving me 15 minutes in front of the mirror have value?  Yes it does. And what about auto-replenishment?  I’ll look forward to that one, eagerly. 

 

Here’s what the creators of Telebeauty had to say about their innovation

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