Our world is characterized more and more by technological innovation. I like to think that we’re helping to make the human aspect more important in the human-machine interface expression. In this world where innovation sometimes seems to be about finding a problem to solve, we develop a technology that allows for much more human, natural, intuitive and personal interactions with all of our electronic devices.
– Denis Lavallée, President and CEO, Mirametrix

Mirametrix, a software developer specializing in AI, has designed Glance, the world’s most advanced attention detection platform. Using computer vision, Glance detects a user’s face, eyes and sightline on all electronic devices, including those in the automotive sector. It also has millions of users worldwide.

Since 2011, Mirametrix has been working with tech leaders, as well as with leading manufacturers of computers, tablets, phones and cars to develop more user-friendly, intuitive and human interfaces. When they were starting up, eye detection existed but was mainly used in academic research and was focussed on hardware solutions, which were not adapted to electronic products for reasons of cost, as well as physical and technical integration. “Our vision was to bring this technology to consumer devices, which required a software solution,” notes Denis. “We do with software what others have always done with hardware. That’s why we hire brilliant people who are skilled in computer vision.” Denis is proud of his 25 talented employees, to whom he readily attributes the company’s success. “These are young people who are passionate about their field of expertise, have superior abilities in solving technical puzzles and possess a real desire to win, which I think are the three key factors for commercial success,” he asserts.

The products that Mirametrix is ​​proud of touch on multiple aspects of everyday life. For example, smart devices that are useful for security and efficiency. “Many of us work in open office environments,” says the company’s president. “If you’re working on sensitive data, your computer should be smart enough to detect when you’re no longer paying attention to the screen and use that information to automatically protect the data,” he explains. “When someone comes to see you at your cubicle and you turn around, the computer should know that it must naturally take action, such as going to sleep, backing up your data or dimming the screen, in order to preserve the confidentiality of your information.”

Growth factors

The technology used by Mirametrix is the result of a decade of academic research by the University of British Columbia, who is also a shareholder in the company. This relationship facilitates Mirametrix’s involvement in future university projects – something they intend to pursue again.

Mirametrix’s current technologies were created in close collaboration with their potential clients, and two major achievements accelerated the company’s growth. In 2015, they demonstrated the technical feasibility of their promise to bring attention detection to everyday consumer devices. And in 2016, their agreement signed with Lenovo, the world’s largest computer manufacturer, was another milestone. In addition to confirming the commercial interest in its technology, this was proof of their solution’s maturity, which successfully passed Lenovo’s very demanding due diligence. “For us, it’s a great showcase that opens up all the doors imaginable, not just for PCs, but also for tablets, smartphones and AR/VR,” Denis emphasizes.

The wow effect

In the midst of preparing for CES 2018, the “little geniuses” of Mirametrix, as Denis affectionately calls them, presented me with two applications that they were perfecting during my visit to the company’s offices.

The first one identifies the user’s sightline, using it to move the cursor from one computer screen to another. Since one of the main problems associated with simultaneously using multiple screens is that users are constantly searching for their cursor, this software naturally follows where users are looking, allowing them to always know their cursor’s location. In addition, users can move windows around with a simple eye movement. Rather than having to repeatedly slide the mouse around, the selected window moves exactly where the user naturally focuses their attention. This tool therefore directly improves productivity while offering a much simpler and more user-friendly interaction.

The second application combines face, eye and gaze detection in a virtual reality context where users can visit a place or navigate through a scene intuitively, according to their attention within the space, creating a new experience that is totally immersive.

These are just two examples, but technology allows for a world of opportunity beyond user-friendliness, security or productivity, by also enabling the detection of a user’s fatigue, distraction and emotions. New applications are quickly becoming apparent in the automotive sector, for example, and Mirametrix is already working in partnership with major players in the field to imagine and design the smart car of tomorrow.

The company is already impressive with their software innovations and they intend to continue along their exceptional trajectory. “Anytime technological innovation is involved, there’s a risk of resistance to change, or a risk of inertia in terms of the status quo,” indicates Denis. “Our challenge, in order to mitigate this risk, is to provide a superior user experience. We’re going to revolutionize the field of human-machine interfaces on all our electronic products and in the automotive industry by imagining new interactions that are more natural, more human… almost magical.”

Source: Mélanie Pilon, writer for the Vitrine Star Tech

Be a part of technopolys!

23May 2018

When we changed our business model, which was a really major shift towards a new adventure, I didn’t know of any other company in Quebec City that had adopted this SaaS model. There were so few players we could consult to find out how best to go about it, that we decided to design and test a prototype ourselves.
– Johanne Devin, CEO and Co-founder of WebSelf

WebSelf provides website creation tools that are simple, powerful and affordable, or free, to more than 3 million users in over 165 countries. Offering maximum functionality to people who want to develop their own website without having strong technological skills, the platform makes it easy for them, whether setting up a showcase site or an online store. “Even though it’s a standardized environment, we offer great flexibility and many features that can satisfy at least 99% of our customers’ needs,” indicates Johanne.

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09May 2018

Our clients, such as festivals like Francofolies de Montréal or Igloo Fest, appreciate not only that our solution saves them time and money, but also that they know exactly where their festivalgoers come from. Are they only in town for the two days of the event or are they extending their stay to discover the city? How many nights? Alone or accompanied, and by whom? In short, it’s all this data that represents a compelling advantage for our partners.
– Andrew Lockhead, CEO and Co-founder of Stay22

Stay22, an aggregator that lists nearly 6.5 million properties in 200 countries, helps travellers find the best accommodation options near the upcoming events they plan to attend. “We’ve targeted the niche of event management platforms, business conferences, festivals and more, which sets us apart in the huge online travel solutions market,” says Andrew.

Through agreements with partners such as Airbnb, but also with systems like Travelport and HotelsCombined, Stay22 offers visitors a hub that bringsall search resources together in one place, greatly simplifying the planning experience. Everything is adjusted on an interactive map that integrates directly with the event organizer’s website, ticket office or other online destination where users find themselves.

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02May 2018

Up until 2010, we often wondered if we wanted to invest in product development. Like many companies at the time, we were focussing on services in order to finance potential products. In the end, we decided to let go of the idea of designing products, because our service offering was really solid. After that, our growth curve was impressive, turning our 23-person team into the 150-person organization we are today.
– Stéphane Rouleau, President and Co-founder of Spiria

When I ask Stéphane to describe Spiria and their value proposition, he explains that the management team is actually trying to update their definition: “After 15 years of existence, it’s important to revisit it… simply said, we’re a digital solutions firm. Our clients call upon us to solve the digital components of their problems, due to lack of knowledge, resources or time on their part. In co-creation with them, we develop the best technology to optimize their activities.”

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