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its mirrors to customers such as Neiman Marcus and Sephora. The retailers can use customized devices to help shoppers record makeovers and the makeup products they used, or take videos of various pairs of sunglasses for comparison. Memomi also makes a full-length mirror where shoppers can virtually try on garments.
Salvador Nissi Vilcovsky, Memomi’s founder and CEO, says he first began to conceive of the idea for a more interactive mirror more than a decade ago, but it wasn’t until 2013 when the required technology—high-resolution screens, faster processing, cameras—became available.
“Mirrors are passive,” he says. “Everything that you see is disappearing in the millisecond that you are moving your head.”
But the ubiquity of mirrors makes them an important, if underutilized, tool for retailers, he adds. “There are so many applications you can do with mirrors so we are building a platform that will enable retailers to leverage this information,” he says.
Smart mirrors enable physical stores to collect data similar to what e-commerce sites can do online. For example, are there particular items often brought to fitting rooms or tried out at a counter that are rarely purchased? Is one color of a shirt or dress particularly popular, necessitating more frequent ordering to keep up with demand?
“Some partners are so eager to get their hands on the raw data and crunch it themselves, so we will just give them access to their feed,” says Samuels with Oak Labs. “Others are not that eager to get into the details so we deliver dashboard posts to them.”
Samuels says protecting shoppers’ privacy is a top priority and that personal information is not recorded by the mirrors. Vilcovsky says the shoppers that use the mirror own their own identifying data—say, their face—and must actively consent to allow Memomi continued access.
Both Memomi and Oak Labs employ a software-as-a-service model, plus installation fees. But they didn’t want to disclose further details about what they charge their customers to use the technology. On the investment front, Oak Labs has raised about $4.2 million in venture funding. Memomi is planning to raise a “large” round in the coming months, Vilcovsky says.
As with Memomi, Oak Labs’ current roster of customers includes brands and retailers on the higher-end of the shopping spectrum, such as Rebecca Minkoff, who is also an Oak Labs investor.
But Vilcovsky and Samuels both say that they are planning to deploy their smart mirror technologies more widely—beyond retail, into other industries, and, eventually, into the home.
“We are thinking about applications that will run on your television or on Apple TV,” Vilcovsky says. “We have software that makes the camera and the screen in a combination that looks like a mirror.”