Tech column: Oxford is home to smart mirror startup

Eoin McKenna
The Media Rewind

The major technological companies are typically in San Francisco or Austin, Texas – large urban areas with a wealth of young, talented innovators looking to create the next big thing.

Netflix was started just outside of San Francisco. Fitbit was created in San Francisco. Go-Pro was founded in the Bay Area. Dell is based in Austin.

Oxford, Mississippi isn’t the first place that comes to mind if you were to ask someone to name a “tech hub.” It probably wouldn’t be the second or third either. That’s why it’s exciting to see a promising tech startup here.

Myra Mirrors is a small company pioneering the “smart mirror industry.” According to the company website, this smart mirror will have an interface enabling users to access weather, calendar, clock, scores, stocks and more.

The smart mirror is a natural progression with the recent boom of smart home innovations. Within the past couple years, startups such as Nest, the smart thermostat, have increased in popularity as smart home innovations.

The entire industry and marketplace of smart mirrors is relatively uncharted territory. Options for purchasing a smart mirror are very limited. The most common option at the moment is to modify a mirror using a miniature computer.

Multiple articles are available through content sharing websites, such as Reddit, instructing those interested how to create a mirror themselves. The lack of smart markets open to consumers shows a wide opportunity for innovators to corner the market.

Pontus Andersson, CEO of Myra Mirrors, was born in Sweden, but he is a Jackson, Mississippi native. Andersson, in his senior year at the University of Mississippi, said he oversees the daily operations. He runs the company, and said, “If they need a plumber, I would be doing that too. ”

The management information systems major has been an entrepreneur since age 12. His passion for business has led him around the world looking for new, inventive ways to rethink everything.

Sam Bertolet, co-founder of the company, is a tech-savvy engineer who has loved programming since age 8. He is a UM double major in computer and political sciences, and is fascinated by statistics, new discoveries in software, and political theories.

Andersson said his father has been involved with telecommunications since before he was born, and his passion for technology began when he started playing video games as a child.

Andersson said he first learned about smart mirrors when he met Bertolet.

“He said he had been working on something and wanted to show me what is was,” Andersson said. “I said, ‘Sure.’ He showed me his smart mirror, and it was kind of mindblowing. I went home and did more research on it from there.”

Andersson understands there is fierce competition. “Economy of scale is the biggest challenge we face with limited resources,” he said. “Every day is a learning process. It’s part of the fun and part of what makes it so difficult.”

Andersson said he understands the company is not located in a tech hub. “We don’t have the culture that you would have, say out of San Francisco, Los Angeles, or even New York,” he said. “People are super excited that you’re doing a startup or trying to get into the tech industry.”

Andersson said the smart mirror will have the ability to “portray information similar to what you would have on a iPad or smartphone.” He said they will show that people are willing to interact with information in a different way.



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