Satisfying conflicting needs
CEO of Eyoto, Carl Francis, tells OT that retailers and labs need to “work smarter”
Can you tell me three interesting facts about Eyoto?
- Our technology takes a new look at old problems in the optical industry, and our new brand image aims to reflect this innovation
- Of the eight billion people on the planet, four have PhDs in ophthalmic engineering. Eyoto employs three of them
- Dean Butler, who founded LensCrafters in the US and Vision Express in the UK, is the father of the optical retail industry. He sits on our board of directors.
What are the company’s main ambitions for the next 12 months?
Our work in ophthalmic engineering and our application of artificial intelligence software in the world of optometry is now coming together with the launch of our eMap system. This year we will be deploying our eMap technology into Europe and the US, then moving into Asia.
Looking at how technology is evolving and impacting on optics, what are your predictions for the market?
The whole of the industry is seeing pressures on margins and costs at a time that consumers are demanding even higher standards of service, customisation and quality. Retailers and labs will need to work smarter and use advanced technologies to satisfy these conflicting needs.
Retailers in particular will need to offer better, more personalised care to their customers. We expect that technologies focusing on personalised, evidence-based dispensing will be big winners.
What are the current challenges that you feel optics is facing and why?
Two problems arise as lens design becomes more complex and bespoke. Firstly, the current ability to measure, record, track and improve production techniques is falling behind. Up until now, world class measurement performance has been cost-prohibitive. Secondly, describing the benefits of a lens to a retail customer has become ever more complex. We believe the entire industry, including the end customer, will benefit from the innovative approach we bring to this space.
What external factors is the company taking into account when planning for the future, and why?
We future-proof our business by continuously listening to our customers and end users. We aim to be nimble and respond quickly to market needs. Many issues with lens prescribing, sale, and production are unaddressed today, so we see our role as champions of positive change in the optometric industry.
What training or support are you offering to practitioners?
Our eMap system enables the practitioner to adopt a consultative approach to dispensing and we train users not just on the use of our system but in the interpretation of the output and, most importantly, how to use the data and graphical representations to guide their customers through their customised dispense. We delivered a CET session at 100% Optical (12–14 January, ExCeL London) on evidence-based dispensing and a lot of that content goes into our start up training.
Are there any exciting innovations going on at Eyoto that you can share with OT?
Our eMap technology roadmap offers full support, upgrades, and further enhanced features over the next five years. In addition, we currently have several other leading-edge developments in the pipeline, which focus on both the lens manufacturing process and the patient eye examination. These are all in conjunction with global industry players, so watch this space.