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BotsAndUs - First Assistant Robot for Retail, Hospitality, Aiports and Real Estate Buildings

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BOTSANDUS (BotsAndUs - First Assistant Robot for Retail, Hospitality, Aiports and Real Estate Buildings)

Reporting period: 2019-03-01 to 2020-02-29

Bad customer service leads to losses of over £37Bn for companies in the UK and $87Bn in the US alone each year. The companies from retail, hospitality, airports and real estate-offices, which are our four key business verticals, are facing issues of understaffing, lack of insights and in-store inconsistencies, leading to a high degree of customer dissatisfaction. Therefore, there is an urgent need of introducing new technologies to boost customer service quality and sales.

The overall goal of BotsAndUs is to create Bo, an easy to use robot, able to autonomously approach and engage in conversation, reacting to questions and emotions, with the best Human-Robot-Interaction features. This innovative breakthrough technology combines social sciences, human-centred design and cutting-edge engineering. The robot is unique, complex and superior to all other products on market, leading to a cut of 70% of losses caused by bad customer service, at an affordable price.

Our product leads to: more customers served, which leads to more sales; the right information at the right time, which leads to customer satisfaction; happy, returning customers, which leads to higher lifetime value; and valuable insights, which leads to efficiency and growth of our clients.

The project aims to successfully fulfil the following specific objectives:
1). Manufacturing and qualification of advanced prototype, with the following measures of success: Complete identification of technical requirements and redesign plan for Bo prototype; Successful manufacturing of advanced Bo prototype; Prototype validated by pilot partner.
2). Developing and piloting of production infrastructure, with the following measures of success: Identified design and implementation plan for pilot line production infrastructure; Implemented robot and content management platform for end users; Completed production for first batch.
3). Validation of final product by qualified clients, with the following measures of success: Completed pilot setup with trial customers; Completed monitoring, analysis and support of deployed robot fleets; Completed fleet systems performance.
4). Conducting commercialization, communication and dissemination activities, with the following measures of success: Performed update of commercialization strategy; Performed update of IPR strategy; Successful development of dissemination material; Meetings with key customers arranged; Attendance to specific international conferences and events.
5). Objective 5: Increase business readiness, with the following measures of success: Preparation of further investments strategy and need identified; Preparation of organizational scale-up performed.
The work performed during this period focused on the following three dimensions: 1). Manufacturing and qualification of advanced prototype; 2). Business development and update of the commercialization and scale up strategy; 3). Starting developing of pilot line production infrastructure.

We obtained the first advanced prototype, tested both in-house and at potential customers’ premises. Based on the research, tests and observations done at the beginning of the project we ran a design sprint in order to bring all the necessary changes into an upgraded design of the product. Once a good level of refinement of the redesign was reached and the physical prototype was optimised, we moved into the integration phase, which led to the advanced prototype. The prototype was tested in various environments: airport, retail stores and office buildings. The feedback from our partners is highly positive and we are optimists that Bo can be easily deployed once the final product will be produced.

Business development and strategy for commercialization and scale up are a key part of this project. Since starting the project over a year ago, we have made extensive progress in not only understanding what our customers want and need but also how the overall market is progressing and what the best way is for us to prepare for a full commercialisation of our product. By analysing the technology trends, industry needs and competition, we have established an improved sales plan, financial forecast and pricing strategy. Our potential clients come from various business sectors, such as retail, airports, real estate and hospitality, covering various geographical markets, such us Europe, USA and Asia.

The communication strategy plan was based on driving owned and organic content that would help raise awareness of BotsAndUs and its solutions by leading increased traffic to the pages and profiles. The key channels for owned content were social ones - Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the website www.botsandus.com - while for organic it was media coverage, both online and print, with over 30 mentions across the past 12 months.

Development of pilot line production infrastructure started in the last part of this period. So far, we managed to start the production of the first units implementing all the new improvements discovered while developing the advanced prototype. At the same time working with our future partners and preparing our deployments was of high importance. Starting the work early stage with them helped us to validate the technology from both hardware and software perspective.
Compared to state of the art, our product is the only autonomous service robot that can perform both AI driven customer service and operations tasks. This innovative breakthrough technology combines social sciences, human-centred design and cutting-edge engineering. We also offer a robot-as-a-service business model which allows easy and scalable integrations and deployments. There are also no other requirements to have robotics specialists on the customer side as we provide the full-stack solution - hardware, software, integrations, UI/UX, support and data analytics, providing therefore product ease-of-use.

Expected impacts:
1). Sales: Bo autonomously engages customers, passengers or guests, allowing companies to serve more and avoid missed sales or interactions due to lack of staff.
2). Customer satisfaction, repeat visits, high loyalty: autonomously start the conversation, react to emotions and demographics, provide consistent, 24/7 high quality service.
3). Saving time and money: quick guiding to various locations, presenting useful and updated info as needed, show personalised promotions.
4). Operations: supporting the HQ to keep an eye on the estate, check stock and make corrections for the best customer experience.
5). New jobs and cooperation: the project alone will lead to a team of over 50 jobs in EU, over the next 5 years, across supply chain and support. It will also open the doors to global funding, human resources and partnering within development, manufacturing and distribution across the EU robotics sector, which is currently limited.

According to commercialization strategy, our plans are to reach a volume of sales of €160M in Year 5, while the net profits will reach €100M in this year.
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