Prism Skylabs


Behind the Lens: Cliff Crosbie, SVP of Managed Services

Favorite Food: British Indian Food. It’s the best I’ve had, and spicy!
Favorite Quote: “Don’t die with your music still inside you.” — Ralph Emerson

The Prism team has gone global, but we still get the whole company together to catch up in San Francisco. The last time Cliff was in town, I got the chance to chat with him about what he’s been up to since joining us from Apple.

What’s your role at Prism Skylabs?
I’m the Senior Vice President of Managed Services. Currently, that means I’m helping the team get more accounts! When we get each of those new accounts, I work with them to deliver merchandising services and ensure their stores are always on brand.

What drew you to Prism Skylabs?
I’ve been in retail for over thirty years. In all those years, one of the most critical areas of interest for us was measuring product interaction. Prism can do that, and no one else can. From a visual merchandising perspective, from a retail perspective, there are features of Prism’s products that I would have loved to have had in the past. Visual insight is a really unparalleled thing for retailers to have.

What are you working on right now?
Well, we just sealed a very large contract with an international account, and so I’m working side by side with them and simultaneously looking for the next one or two global retailers who will really benefit from our solution.

What aspects of your job at Prism Skylabs do you like best?
I’ve always been in corporate. The startup culture is a refreshing change. Prism has a lot of interesting people who are not governed by a big corporation — it’s a little bit more entrepreneurial, and less rigid. People are trusted to deliver, and they’re given the room to go after their jobs their own way. 

What do you like to do outside of work?
I have three dogs — two Huskies and one Belgian Shepherd. The shepherd’s a failed police dog, he’s too gentle and sweet! I also play guitar, and at the moment I’m trying to learn the bagpipes (got them for Christmas), it’s a family challenge! I love art as well, and currently take classes with a Dutch artist.

What’s your background outside of Prism Skylabs?
I’ve always been in retail, working with big names. I’ve worked with IKEA, Nokia, Apple, Nike … and way back in the day, I started off with Habitat. I’ve worked in Japan, Finland, US and all over Europe — but Japan was definitely the coolest, I loved Tokyo. And now I’m living in the Netherlands spreading the word about Prism in Europe and Asia!

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4 Ways to Manage Your Store Remotely

Have questions about your stores? We have answers. Check it out:

1. Are my stores open on time?

2. Are my stores clean?

3. Are my stores on brand?

4. Are the promotions and displays rolled out on schedule?

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STORY: video case study

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Spring Retail Trends

2014 had a rocky start for stores: Winter storms and thrifty customers contributed to a 0.6% drop in January retail sales. But February marked a rebound, and now with daylight savings time in full swing, spring hours, warmer
days, and optimistic shoppers are driving retail forward.

Here’s what we’re seeing “springing up”:

Retailers as Curators
A brand isn’t simply a name. Luxury retailers have built their businesses with strong brand identities and unique shopping experiences. This brand-focused trend is picking up at retailers of all shapes and sizes. As customers look for more local experiences, we’re seeing more and more small footprint stores with curated environments: products and in-store experiences that are personalized, local, and with a clear and distinct voice.

Organic Isn’t Just for Foodies
There’s an organic movement building, and it has nothing to do with what’s in your coffee. This spring, designers are increasingly focused on using more raw materials — wood, rock, and concrete — in their stores. This spring, we expect to see continued minimalist store design at and clean, aesthetic feel at high-end brands. While luxury apparel stores might come to mind, the movement toward using stone, steel, and an element of surprise (like felt or wool) will be in anything from boutiques to restaurants to — for example — perfume shops.

Omnichannel is Dead. Long live Omnichannel.
It’s not omnichannel anymore, it’s simply the norm. Driven by demand, retailers are adapting and integrating a plethora of new technologies to help them reach consumers. Whether customers are shopping on their phones, ordering products online and picking them up in store, browsing interactive displays in their favorite boutique, or having personalized ads delivered to them as they browse the aisles, retailers are pushing to deliver a unified experience across any and every channel their customers use.

Agree? Disagree? What do you think are the biggest spring trends? Let us know!

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Behind the Lens: Devon Safran, Account Executive

Favorite Food: The chicken parmesan at Il Mulino in NYC.  Amazing!
Favorite Quote: “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” — Coco Chanel

It’s been a busy month at Prism! Our team is growing quickly these days, and bringing on new folks from all around the world. Recently we got to welcome Devon Safran, who joins us from Women’s Wear Daily.

What’s your role at Prism Skylabs?
I am an Account Executive here at Prism Skylabs with a focus on retail clients in the fashion, apparel, and luxury space. In essence, it’s my role to bring our application to clients and show them our amazing product and how they can use it to drive their business.

What are you currently working on?
Right now I have some key accounts that I’m looking to meet with in person, in order to build that one-on-one relationship up with them. I used to be a buyer and heavily involved in the retail industry, so for the most part this stage in the process involves reaching out to people I already know to spread the enthusiasm about Prism and show them how great it is.

What drew you to Prism Skylabs?
Prism has a great product that I wish I had had access to when I was working in the retail space. I had the chance to work with the Prism team previously, so I knew the people here were really sharp, focused and great to be around. Not to mention incredibly innovative! Our product is a game changer for how retailers will be able to see into and run their stores. It is an amazing thing to be a part of. Poncho was also a big draw.

What aspects of your job at Prism Skylabs do you like best?
I really like the people I work with. Since day one, everyone’s been really great, and very open. I think that there’s a lot to learn, and there are plenty of people to learn from, and who are invested in helping each other learn and improve. There are a lot of different personalities, but everyone has a good sense of humor!

What do you like to do outside of work?
I’m an avid equestrian and horses are my passion. People don’t believe me when I tell them I drive a pick up truck!

What’s your background outside of Prism Skylabs?
I started my career off at Ralph Lauren in the Executive Training Program, which gives you a 360-degree view of what’s happening within the company. After completing the one-year program, I moved into buying for various divisions within the organization. After working at companies such as J. Crew and Lilly Pulitzer, I transitioned to sales for Women’s Wear Daily. That’s where I met the Prism Skylabs team and here we are!

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Three Reasons We’re Looking Forward to EuroShop 2017

That’s right. We had such a successful EuroShop this year, we’re already thinking about the next one. Which just happens to be in 2017.

With nearly 110,000 retailers from more than 100 countries, there’s certainly nothing like EuroShop. The triennial event (yes, I had to look that word up) lasts five straight days. Some would say that’s a bit too long. Others would say that’s way too long.

But there’s no better way to meet an incredibly diverse group of retailers — we hardly had a moment to catch our breath. Now, with the event wrapped up, we’ve had some time to look toward 2017.

Here’s what we’re expecting to see:

1. Mind-blowing store design. This is where the art and science of retail truly intersect. Intelligent lighting, fixtures, and even bionic mannequins.

2. Hologram greeters. This year, Düsseldorf had signs — even robots — stationed all over the city directing EuroShop attendees to the venue. In 2017, maybe self-driving cars will transport guests to the expo!

3. Retailers will demand more analytics

At the show, the same questions kept coming up: How can I better understand my store? Is there a way to accurately count people or measure product interaction? We demoed a countless number of heatmaps and pathmaps — and retailers kept asking for more. Analytics will almost undoubtedly be the central theme of EuroShop 2017.

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Liberty Fairs Recap: Fashion and Lifestyle Brands Come Together

Las Vegas may immediately bring to mind glitz, gambling, and spur-of-the-moment weddings — but once a year, it’s also home to the best of the fashion industry.

Liberty Fairs is a premier event that showcases over 380 brands in a combination of up-and-coming names and industry stars like Desigual, Red Wing Shoe Co., and G-Star RAW. The show focuses on American-made apparel, alternative sourcing options, and retailer collaboration opportunities.

The three-day event gave us the chance to chat with thought leaders, designers, and entrepreneurs representing some of the fastest growing brands. Even better, we didn’t just demo our app at Liberty Fairs — we got to use it in the middle of the action. With heatmaps and people counting, we were able to help the event organizers understand which areas of the show were the busiest, so next year’s event can be even better designed.

We also got to discuss visual merchandising, brand management, and store design with some of our favorite brands. As one of the only selected technology exhibitors, it was a great chance to contribute something unique to the event and hear firsthand what kinds of solutions our customers are looking for. We’re already looking forward to Liberty Fairs 2015!

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Behind the Lens: Prism Skyhack

At Prism, we think the best business models challenge the status quo. That’s why we launched Prism Skyhack, a quarterly competition where our team takes a break from their normal routine to focus on a unique project of interest.

Check out a few highlights!

The Prism team at Skyhack. 

  • Rob Cosgriff and Rohit Sethi won the competition with a great presentation on heatmap prototypes. By better isolating recurring motion, the team identified the groundwork research for improving on our existing heatmaps.
  • David Low built a 720p camera in a day, using a Raspberry Pi and a lot of creativity – and making us reconsider the scope of our own weekend projects!
  • Matteo Simone began building out a mobile survey app. When it’s done, it will enable a host of new features for our customers.

David Low’s built-from-scratch camera. 

Thanks to the entire Prism team for all their new ideas and presentations! 

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Meet Prism Skylabs at EuroShop

Three years.

For retail, that’s a long time. For tech, that’s an eternity. Yet it’s only once every three years that the global retail community comes together for EuroShop.

I can tell you from experience there’s nothing quite like it: Its rarity. Its size. Its ability to put retailers in touch with new technology that reshapes the way they do business.

That’s why we’re so excited to be exhibiting this year.

We’ll be showing Prism Skylabs in action, and helping retailers optimize merchandise, improve operations, and better manage their global brand.

So take a moment to write this down: 6H12. That’s our booth number. Drop by for a drink, for a demo, or to chat about the future of retail.

If you want to meet at the show, let us know. We’ll be highlighting some great features:

Get a real-time window into your stores.
Prism customers attending EuroShop won’t have to worry about their business while they’re gone, because Prism’s store insights, real-time images, and visual analytics will be available on demand.

Measure product interaction.
It’s one thing to look at PoS data, but what about the items that customers pick up frequently but don’t purchase? Prism’s heatmaps can help you make more informed merchandising decisions.

Help your employees work more efficiently.
I know what it’s like to manage hundreds of stores. There’s no way you can be everywhere at once, and it’s difficult for store managers and HQ to connect and share what’s going on. That’s why we’ve made it easy for remote teams to work together and quickly understand how to better merchandise and operate their business.

See you in Düsseldorf!

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Behind the Lens: Yelena Reyfer, QA Lead

Favorite Food: Thai! Chicken curry in particular.
Favorite Quote:  There’s a very old Russian saying I’m fond of: “Everything’s going to be okay or even better.”

At Prism, we want our app to be perfect. That’s why we were recently lucky enough to have Yelena join the team. She’s helping ensure that our app’s the best it can be — I caught up with her to chat about what she does and how she does it.

What’s your role at Prism Skylabs?

I am a QA lead. That means I oversee all testing activities for all our products, and ensure we meet our high standards in quality. I’m responsible for making sure that we use the right practices in the software development, and find new ways to make the process more efficient. I also ensure that however our software works, I’m able to test it to the extent that it needs to be tested. Basically, whatever the engineers do, I test!

What are you working on right now?

We just released our new version of edge software, and now I’m preparing test documentation. Additionally, I’ll shortly begin testing a new release of the web app, which should come out this week with a couple of new cool features. In parallel, I’m also training our recent addition to QA department, Nelson Cheung, who came to us from UC Davis.

What drew you to Prism Skylabs?

Two things: first, the product not only has really interesting business applications, but it also fits in perfectly with my background in video and analytics. Second, I was very interested in startups and startup culture, and Prism stood out to me from the moment I interviewed here. Everyone seemed incredibly engaged and nice.

What aspects of your job at Prism Skylabs do you like best?

I really enjoy testing – which is good, because I do a lot of it! I love working on finding issues and then debugging the app bit by bit (so to speak).  It’s a creative process – they write something, I figure out how to break it and recreate it stronger. It’s fun!

What do you like to do outside of work?

My hobby is my kids – I spend most of my time with them, doing their hobbies! Otherwise, I really love going to the theater and operas. I came from a musical background and that’s stuck with me; every chance I get, I’m at a concert or performance.

What’s your background outside of Prism Skylabs?

I have about 16 years of experience in QA, working for all sorts of different companies. I’ve always been passionate about working at startups, and that led me to organizations like Virgin Mobile USA, Sling Media, Lithium Technologies – and now, Prism Skylabs.

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