Keep it Simple

October 15th, 2019

Keep it Simple

HKUST EMBA alumnus Victor RUIZ revolutionizes shoppers’ experiences with smart mirrors for fitness, retail, smart living, and other verticals. His company actiMirror evolved from a Hong Kong startup to the world’s leading company in its segment. He advises against designing a product to do everything.

Tech entrepreneurs often have ambitious personalities and big imaginations. They want to develop products with many functionalities to serve different customer segments.
But according to seasoned entrepreneur Victor Ruiz – Co-founder and CEO of actiMirror, and an alumnus of the Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA (EMBA) Program – it’s better to “keep it simple”. Although it’s tempting to design a product which solves multiple problems, successful products are usually highly focused, he says.
Ruiz speaks from experience. At the beginning, Ruiz and his co-founder Fulvio RIVA had the idea of developing smart mirrors to offer real-time personalized consumer experiences and data analytics insights. They obtained financing, and formed an advisory board and a team. But there were many different uses for smart mirrors, and their initial business model featured too many functionalities. “It was too complicated”, he recalls.
“Always aim for simplicity,” Ruiz says. “Make sure you can explain what you do either to your grandmother or to your five-year-old child using, if possible, simple words.”
Get the MVP right
It is crucial to get the minimum viable product (MVP) right, Ruiz says. Ruiz’s startup actiMirror offers smart mirrors which are enabled by Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, apps, cloud technology and content management systems. In a retail setting, smart mirrors can deliver personalized consumer experiences to increase in-store traffic and sales. For example, it takes less than two seconds for the mirrors to estimate the shopper’s age, gender and even mood to show customized products, promotional videos or advertisements targeting the shopper’s demographics. And all is done in a 100% General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant manner.
After working on the right MVP, Ruiz was able to describe his smart mirror in a very clear and succinct manner as “an oversized smartphone” offering five key product features: a scalable open platform, a combination of digital technologies, innovative customer journeys, a true mirror [very important indeed according to Ruiz], and a truly scalable price point [even more important].
Ruiz’s business grew from that first MVP, and the company has become an established technology provider in the retail sector. The company now has a portfolio of renowned clients and brand partners. Recently, actiMirror helped AW Rostamani, the Dubai-headquartered conglomerate, with product availability and inventory tracking in different retail locations. AW Rostamani’s brands include American Rag, Angels, Vhernier and Georg Jensen.
Ruiz’s smart mirror startup is now ready to expand to different sectors, and as such the company is currently raising its pre-Series A fundraising round. The proceedings will be used to consolidate its recently launched “Fitness” line that is already getting considerable traction in the European Union, with Ruiz personally leading the company expansion.
When using the smart Fitness mirrors, customers enjoy Artificial Intelligence personal trainers. They can take à-la-carte tutorials or compete in real-time from your home, gym and hotel with users in other locations through an interactive display with an embedded camera and speakers. All they have to do is to get a yoga mat to start a high-energy workout!
The company also plans to use pre-Series A proceedings to launch its “Smart Living” solutions in 2020 offering smart mirrors for bedrooms and bathrooms with infotainment functions, home automation controls and personalized health functions.
A holistic view of business
Born in Madrid, Spain, Ruiz is grateful with the Kellogg-HKUST EMBA Program for providing him with a holistic view of business.
The EMBA also boosted his Asia network, and added credibility to his startup at a time when he and his business were new to the Asia market. His company evolved from Hong Kong, and today has offices in Silicon Valley, Europe, and a network of international distributors.
Ruiz already had an extensive international career in mechanical and manufacturing engineering, sales and business development, and product management, before he studied his EMBA. He says the EMBA Program helped him to connect the dots among different professional disciplines.
“It was necessary to connect the financial, legal and human resources dots to get a truly holistic view of a business,” he says.
The Kellogg-HKUST EMBA Program also helped Ruiz to build a strong network in Asia. “When I moved to Hong Kong in 2011, I had a strong network in Europe and North America, but I didn’t know anyone in Asia,” he says. “Now my most developed network, without a doubt, is in the Asia-Pacific region.”

actiMirror at RMK Isetan Shinjuku Tokyo

October 7th, 2019

RMK support customers with “actiMirror” makeup recording function

Tech Power Co., Ltd. (Head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, CEO: Yoshihiro Takasawa) is making makeup artist brand RMK (RMK) in conjunction with the Isetan Shinjuku store cosmetics floor refresh this fall. Smart Mirror actiMirror is now available to President Yosuke Maezawa).

Reproduce RMK makeup techniques. The service was projected on a smart mirror

Record the touch-up video and transfer it to the customer’s smartphone along with the makeup product information. This allows customers to use each item.

You can reproduce the technique video that leads to a more beautiful finish, such as the position to place, on your own while checking at home. In addition, this video.Since it can be saved as a video file, it can also be posted to SNS.

Smart Mirror, which digitizes the actual experience at the makeup counter, is the main tool that drives the IoT in the beauty industry, and actiMirror is a powerful beauty platform that can strengthen and differentiate customers.

This smart mirror is provided by Tech Power Co., Ltd., which has signed a distributor agreement with actiMirror Corporation Ltd. (headquartered in Silicon Valley / Hong Kong, USA).

Smart Mirror actiMirror specifications and functions

・ Hardware 21.5-inch high-definition monitor, both freestanding and wall-mounted, USB port, Wi-Fi, camera, built-in speaker, motion sensor, LED lighting

・ Full customization Full customization is possible according to the demands of the brand you use.

・ Recording function High-definition recording

・ Video transmission function The recorded video and product information can be sent to the smartphone for viewing and confirmation.

-Image correction function Performs viewpoint correction from any angle and distance in real time. Adjustable camera zoom and height

・ Illuminance correction function In addition to fine adjustment of illuminance, fine adjustment of illumination color such as reproduction of natural light is possible.

・ Product registration function Register product numbers and link EC site links

・ Touch screen Intuitive operation on the screen is possible like a smartphone

・ Digital signage When the smart mirror is not used, it can be used as a digital signage or a normal mirror

・ Analytics and Insight Big data can be collected and analyzed

・ Makeup simulation using makeup simulation VR technology is possible (optional)