startup of the month: actiMirror
10 April, 2015
actiMirror have the world in their hands. Their smart mirror media delivery is widely popular with consumers in a market where retailers are desperate to bring - and keep - visitors in stores.
We interview actiMirror CEO Victor Ruiz to find out more:
actiMirror is all about data analytics and targeted media content, using a platform of smart mirrors to gather data. The high consumer granularity actiMirror provide includes demographics (currently gender and age, and soon ethnicity), sales conversion rates, shopping behaviour etc. These help our customers to better understand and anticipate their consumer's needs, optimise their product design/ supply chain, and can aid with price positioning at pilot stores before global product launches.
Needless to say, there are also benefits at play like sales growth and increases in consumer loyalty, and also increased revenues by delivering targeted marketing in unconventional delivery e.g. demographic marketing within hotel elevators.
How long has it taken you to become an overnight success?
Two and a half years of constant work has gotten us to where we are today. Generally, we stop working when we are done, not when we are tired. The main effort areas have been the integration of face recognition and RFID, which can be used in tandem or separately.
Most recently, we've been focused on the development of the right glass technology to seamlessly deliver HD content. We broke in excess of 200,000 USD worth of glass to find the right mirror for the job! When complete, we wasted no time patenting it to ensure the uniqueness of our value proposition.
Who is your typical customer?
Retailers, hospitality and real estate are our core customer base.
Consumers are blown away by their interactions with actiMirror installations, which use RFID tagging, motion sensors and facial recognition by analyzing 25 different facial features to deliver retail and marketing content related to the consumer's demographics. It's a great consumer experience that our customers are delivering for their brands.
In return, retailers and hoteliers receive a tonne of information about consumer demographics and their behaviours. For example, retailers can use RFID tagging or barcode scanning in combination with face recognition to recognize objects. Even retailers without an existing RFID logistics system in place can use actiMirror in totems placed at their stores to promote new collections, allowing retailers to limit the number of items using RFID tagging to new product launches.
actiMirror technology can also be found in 5 star hotels within reception areas as info-tainment devices, elevators for targeted content to hotel guests, and lounge bars to engagement/interaction models including social media.
Any usage of your product that has surprised you?
Most definitely! We often receive suggestions from companies for unique applications for our smart mirrors. The most recent example was Alexander Mann wanting their Human Resources division to utilise actiMirror for their Captains of Industry initiative.
They developed a concept to use our technology to deliver corporate messages to specific demographics within a given organisation. As an example, when walking into the elevator of a large corporation, employees can see videos with messages related to their demographics. What happens when multiple employees of different ages, gender and ethnicities walk into the same elevator? Then actiMirror simply adjusts the message to to the most popular demographic.
We also served Alexander Mann at a large conference they organized providing badges with the names of the conference attendees. When they enter the main room, one of our mirrors greeted them by their name and welcome them to the event. We got very positive feedback from attendees who found very human to get a personalized welcoming message upon arrival.
Any international interest in actiMirror?
We are going from strength to strength serving retail and hospitality powerhouses in Asia Pacific and Europe. Even before we were actively looking for suitable distributors in different international locations to join our ambitious project, people were approaching us to represent actiMirror in their countries.
What about plans for further product development?
We are launching a new generation of smart mirror in August to include smart phone and tablet interaction as a standard feature. We are also adding beacons to our value proposition, which will allow retailers and hoteliers to better engage with their customers. Watch this space!
Is it difficult to have founders located on the other side of the world?Yes and no. Being split between two different time zones with 7 hours difference generally means either long evenings/nights in the Asian side, and very early mornings in the European side. It also requires military time management skills to ensure that different tasks do not elongate in time.
On the other hand, it is very useful to start a task in Asia, leave it with the European team working overnight, and start the day in Asia with the task completed and ready for the customers! It allows us a group to work nearly 24 hours non-stop, which gives us tremendous flexibility in task execution.
The most important benefit is the direct access to two key markets in a physical presence, with local telephone numbers etc. and the quick reaction times for customer visits on location.
We've heard rumours that you are in touch with Li and Fung. Tell us more!Good news travel fast! The Fung Business Intelligence Centre recently released a Global Retail and Technology report featuring smart mirrors and we were thrilled to be included. They've now invited us to showcase actiMirror at a three-day event for over 200 retail executives from the group.
So far we've received considerable interest from flagship brands within Li and Fung group. Of course, this is any exciting opportunity! Our experience so far has shown Li & Fung to be a very human company, we'd be delighted to collaborate with them and play a part in enhancing their retail growth.
What's next for actiMirror?There are a third and fourth generation smart mirror planned, for living room placement which integrates with home automation. We are at a very early stage of development on these, and keeping our cards close to our chests!
Production capabilitiesare also being developed in Asia to better serve our local markets here. We have found strong manufacturing partners in the region that will further strengthen our value proposition. In short, we're excited about the future!