Orange, Samsung and Key Infuser: a three-way partnership leading to operational innovation.
« For the first time, we have formed a three-way partnership between a manufacturer, operator-distributor and start-up as part of a test and learn approach »
Benoit Tesson, Head of Channel Marketing EMEA
Through its incubation and start-up acceleration programmes, Orange raises the visibility of the most promising innovations among the Group’s entities. The aim is to test out projects that have reached maturity in its labs to evaluate their operational promise and promote their development.
It was during a presentation for Women Start, an Orange Fab France accelerator dedicated to businesswomen, that we spotted the surprising KiOne robot created by Key Infuser. It’s ability to manipulate touch screens independently, with almost human precision, makes the robotic finger an innovative tool for showcasing new smartphones in store.
So for the launch of the Galaxy Note 9, our long-term partner Samsung joined us to test out the robot in seven European countries. For the first time, we have formed a three-way partnership between a manufacturer, operator-distributor and start-up as part of a test and learn approach. Together we helped Key Infuser adapt the robot to showcase all the features of the Galaxy Note 9, especially the stylus: activating icons, navigating between apps, writing on the screen etc.
The 17 terminals were installed between August and October 2018. They offer shoppers a new retail experience, which is both fun and practical. The solution has been well received by both customers and salespeople, who have been surprised by this new-generation assistant! The three-way partnership used the test to draw up improvements for Key Infuser so that the robot could be better integrated into the customer journey. We also directed the start-up to a point of sale design agency and promotional marketing agency to study progress areas in more detail.
This collaboration continues today. With Orange Fab, we are already thinking of other KiOne robot apps as part of our future Orange product portfolio, particularly around the connected home, and also potentially for other businesses such as banks.
It was while visiting a musical instrument expo that engineering graduate Domitille Esnard-Domerego devised a robotic hand capable of manipulating instruments to make sound. The idea of a robotic demonstrator came about in 2015 when a prototype was created and the start-up Key Infuser was launched. Let’s meet the founder.
« Deployment in 7 countries and 17 shops is a fantastic way to test our solution »
Domitille Esnard-Domerego, fondatrice de Key Infuser
Can you tell us about your solution?
We created KiOne, a robot that “knows how to touch” to offer product demos and illustrate the real user experience. It’s more tangible than a video, and more fun and clear-cut for a customer. Using robotics we can really showcase a product and its functionality. For the Galaxy Note 9, which comes with a stylus, we taught KiOne to write on the screen using the stylus.
You took part in Orange Fab France’s Women Start initiative. What were the benefits of this female start-up accelerator
There are three important factors. Firstly, the mentoring programme is very powerful: you can take a step back from your project, refine it and structure your company to consolidate it. Next, Orange Fab opened the doors to different Orange business units to see if it could be a concrete answer to their operational needs. It was a very stimulating and formative experience. Finally, we are invited to events that enable us to expand our network. I was invited to the Women’s Forum in 2018.
Is the partnership between Key Infuser, Orange and Samsung linked to this programme?
Yes, in the sense that our solution was presented by Orange Fab to Pierre Dormont, VP Sales & Distribution at Orange and Benoit Tesson, Head of Channel Marketing EMEA. They immediately felt there was marketing potential in our robot and so made contact with Samsung who shares the same vision as Orange when it comes to promoting innovation. Deployment in 7 countries and 17 shops is a fantastic way to test our solution. It has enabled us to see how customers and salespeople feel about the robot in several European countries. The first feedback is very positive!
What are your future developments?
We’re working on smoother integration of the robot into Orange’s customer journey and applications. We’re also thinking about other uses beyond product demos (sorting small objects or notes). Like the webcam that can be a digital eye, or a microphone that can be compared to a digital ear, KiOne could become tomorrow’s digital finger!