Through the Looking Glass is a blog series that spotlights the visionaries and talent behind NOBAL Technologies and how they foresee the future of global innovation.
Bill Roberts is a serial entrepreneur, who can’t help but get absorbed by the world’s next best invention. With 20 years of successful ventures behind him in self-storage, construction, technology, engineering, and information management, he’s now set his eyes on intelligent mirror technology–the kind of surface that tells more than one story.
So we got down to business and chatted with Bill to get his take on it all.
What drives you as an innovative leader and entrepreneur?
I’m motivated by achieving something others haven’t. So the more challenges there are, the better.
I like to surround myself with people who have different and unique skills than me. In the technology world, there are many young people that I can learn from, through my experience they can learn from and we sort of have our own “school” here with my team.
Engaging with different people and coming together to succeed not only excites me but puts the world in a better place too. Look for the problem, then bring the solution.
Leadership to me is looking for the good in all individuals and guiding them to grow to their desired potential. Those that I lead come before me–they are under my care and have a voice in our organization.
How does NOBAL elevate the retail and hospitality industries?
Our interactive mirrors solve some of the biggest problems in the hospitality and retail industries. We’re enhancing the entire customer and client experience from end to end.
So everything that a consumer and business cares about–whether that’s convenience, greater product selection, social influences, or price–are all uniquely channeled into one platform.
That’s the kind of solution that puts the user’s experience first.
In retail, we want to give business managers the tools to enhance their operations and the power to control their messaging for their shoppers.
Ultimately, through our intelligent iMirror having the software and a platform that fields exactly what customers want, from a specific size and colour to paying directly on the mirror, increases sales, customer satisfaction and boosts brand loyalty.
Everything you need is in one place. And if a product isn’t in stock, customers can put in their address and get items sent to them directly. As a retailer, you don’t lose that sale as you typically would if inventory weren’t available on-hand.
And on the hotel side, guests can check in and out of the lobby virtually, scroll through food menus, browse events, and book reservations and shop online, all through the mirror.
There’s no need to wait in line or pick up the phone. This user-driven experience gives guests the personalization, convenience, and control to make their stay even more enjoyable.
Why is the iMirror so pivotal at this time?
The ability to offer an omnichannel experience–access to products on store shelves and online–is what will make retailers successful.
Our solutions are advantageous because it’s the natural progression of people learning to utilize the internet and now relying on it. Our iMirror is very intuitive and easy to use.
COVID-19 took what we were already doing before and exacerbated it, making digital solutions larger than life.
Today, people have this expectation of getting things instantly. They demand a greater selection of products to suit their needs and speed at their fingertips.
If retailers aren’t prepared to make the shift for the up-and-coming individual, then they’re not prepared for their business to grow.
What technologies do you expect will transform business in the coming decade?
Oh, there’ll be tons!
Tech is all about making things more cost-effective and creating a better outcome than what’s currently offered, no matter the industry.
Cars, batteries, robotics–all these things and more will change how things are done. And especially mundane and simplistic tasks will have us refocusing the workforce and re-energizing our talent elsewhere.
We’ll still need all these people to work, but just doing different things. The ancillary aspects of tech can create a significant impact. The common thread here is how do we make life better and drive value?
I can’t add years to my life, but I can add life to my years. Technology has every capacity to make things more enjoyable.
What excites you about your work?
I love providing value for clients and helping them solve real problems.
At this stage, with intelligent mirrors, we’re ahead of the curve. We’ve put in the legwork, tested the market, and have developed a modern device that checks off all the boxes in the retail and hospitality spaces.
We’ve created an omnichannel platform that ties together all the highlights of brick-and-mortar shopping and interactions with today’s digital preferences. So the future is nothing but bright.
What advice do you have for aspiring tech founders?
Find something that excites you and stay passionate.
Everyone has a different passion, which can be very personal, and part of your success will come with knowing how to nurture your passions.
In our team, we always say, ‘start with the end in mind.’
Visualize a different time down the road and the kind of impact you want to make. Whatever the level or area it may be, you need to hone your skillsets as a contributor.
And when it’s the right time to hand off your responsibilities to someone else, be willing to step back, allow your team to reach the next level, maybe that level is CEO.
Does the company focus on ESG and what is its approach?
NOBAL’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) responsibility is about the impact we may have as in the communities we operate in. It presents itself in many forms; these are ethical, moral values, beliefs, and accountability. We use self-regulation which aims at contributing internally and externally (our global clients) our social responsibility, everyone is equally important and respected at NOBAL. Our accountability is measured in our actions of how top of mind this is. It is how we act within our culture and how we contribute outside of NOBAL. Corporate Social Responsibility is a process, continually evolving, changing, and adapting.
We have two pillars that we focus on as a company, these two pillars are environmental and governance. First, environmental, through our platforms we are dedicated to environmental sustainability. Using our technology to reduce apparel and textile waste is a multi-prong issue. It’s about the long game, our mantra “starting with the end in mind”, how do our actions, products and services impact the future. We are committed through actions like reducing waste. Second, governance, developing, implementing internal practices that support NOBAL’s long-term health and growth without negatively impacting social, environmental, and cultural aspects. As we generate disruptive products and systems aimed at the company’s financial success, we will weave in positive outcomes for our global community, again “start with the end in mind”. It requires thoughtfulness of what is the “end” …a better world!