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MONOMA: B2B Feasibility Study

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Monoma (MONOMA: B2B Feasibility Study)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2017-01-31

Students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn. SEN is a term used covering learning difficulties, social, emotional or mental health difficulties, sensory needs, visual or physical difficulties and communication problems. in Europe nearly 5 million people have autism, over 1.5 million have Cerebral Palsy and nearly 6 million people have other learning disabilities.
Students with SEN must train their cognitive, communication and physical skills daily in order to maintain and improve their independence and quality of life.
Traditionally, to address such impairments, practitioners relied on two types of solutions. On the one hand, the expensive sophisticated solutions for training developed by large companies and intended for use in hospital settings. On the other, therapists used repetitive training routines designed to stimulate users both cognitively and physically on a daily basis. The former are advanced solutions that are inaccessible to the majority of users due to their cost, whilst the latter, despite their wider use, have largely demonstrated their limitations (customisation, pricing), creating the need for more involvement on therapists’ side, and leading to increased care costs for social care systems and families.
Recently, novel techniques involving games, music and enabling creativity have proven capable of relieving the negative feelings associated with repetition and distracting attention from pain and fatigue associated with exercising. The engaging effects of game playing together with music’s ability to tap into the emotion and the reward systems of the brain, can catalyse patients’ training process, and immensely improve their psychological well-being. With 150m people worldwide with SEN, the assistive technology market in this sector alone is expected to reach €8,8bn in 2016, with 5.7% year on year growth.

Cosmo is the first product by company Filisia Interfaces. It is a patent-pending cloud-based Software as a service (SaaS) solution integrating:
-modular, sensor based controllers (Hardware) and
-a platform with several activities designed by teachers (Software), which
-collects and reports data insights about learners’ physical and cognitive capacities.

Cosmo is designed to help users exercise regularly both cognitively and physically by triggering users’ creativity and engagement through games, music making and gamified training activities. The devices ergonomically accessible, highly customisable and offers interoperability possibilities with other hardware and software solutions. Cosmo is developed by Filisia Interfaces, in cooperation with with the National Rehabilitation centre of Greece, the Athens Centre for Cerebral palsy, the University of Birmingham in the UK, Goldsmiths university and 100+ special educators, physical, occupational and music therapists and special needs educators from the UK, the Netherlands, USA and Greece.

Filisia used Horizon 2020 SME Instrument funding to conduct a feasibility study to examine Cosmo’s technical and commercial viability among a larger pool of potential clients (user-acceptance), and to assess if the selected commercialisation approach will be conducive of the projected growth on the European level. During the action, Filisia successfully conducted:
(A) Users’ acceptance study: We validated the existing product design and functionality against the evolving long-term needs of special needs educators, physical, occupational and music therapists who use the platform, via testing and pilots. The resulting suggested enhancements were prioritized into a workflow to drive the the product development and business plan. The target location is the United Kingdom, mostly due to the location of the team and the known languages and legal requirements.
(B) Market assessment (including pricing): We modified and validated the pricing and business model in the targeted markets. We reached out to our customers using our in-house sales force to develop the B2B channels by targeting i) professionals and therapists as well as (ii) institutional clients such as care homes, hospitals and schools, offering yearly subscriptions, in a B2B model, and developed our B2B2B network constituted of Major assistive technology distributors (B2B2B) who have a wide network of clients who trust them (therapists, SEN schools and care homes). This way we:
validated the sales approach across all channels
assessed whether the commercialization strategy is adapted to its targets and its sector,
whether there is acceptance of Cosmo as a solution as it is or whether it requires further customisation in each market, and it will constitute an assessment of the conditions in each target country to prepare for European and international expansion.
(C) Technological assessment: tested both the adaptability (technical customization) toward the customer groups and the real scalability of the service;
(D) Impact assessment: gathered qualitative (testimonials) and quantitative (research with the University of Birmingham) data to prove the impact Filisia provides to its customers;
For this project we undertook a number of actions, including meetings with users, buyers and resellers, work with academics, and schools, as well as desk research. Below we describe the actions and the output of the following assessments:

User-Acceptance, through:
(a1) Pilots with selected organisations and testing collaborations that enabled word of mouth, user testing, feedback collection. 20 schools and care centres tried Cosmo for a period ranging from 2 weeks to 2 months.

(a2) Demonstrations to schools. Filisia performed demonstrations (physically and online) to 376 SEN professional that work at 39 special needs schools across the 3 markets (Greece, UK, Netherlands). Demonstrations last between 20 and 40 minutes. We also performed hands-on demonstrations in 16 care centres, occupational therapy centres and hospitals (reaching nearly 900 end users).

(a3) Research project with academia. We worked with the University of Birmingham to conduct research on further developing the Cosmo units and measuring their impact on the engagement, emotional expression and social communication of children with autism.

Technology Feasibility through:
(b1) Development of Hardware device (supply chain and pricing)
(b2) Development of the Software application and lauch at the appstore
(b3) Cloud Service development (Data management and analytics)
(b4) Achieved Interoperability of Cosmo with other software applications

Intellectual Property Rights assessment. We filed our patent in the UK after further amendments. If the application is successful, we will increase Filisia’s valuation, protect our technology and will be eligible to pay half the corporation tax. In, November, we internationalised the patent application. This is an important step towards protecting the IP of the company internationally and enabling safe export activity overseas.

Developed Commercialisation plan/ price strategy including:
(d1) Broader SEN market
(d2) Target Market
(d3) Competition
(d4) Go to Market strategy
(d5) Pricing and revenues plan

(d6) Dissemination, Communication and Marketing Plan. We exhibited in a variety of trade shows (the Autism Show, TESSEN Show, BettShow) and received awards for our impact in special education (
(d7) Developed Partners/ Stakeholders Acquisition strategy
Impact Assessment
Risk Assessment
During the action, Filisia gathered qualitative feedback in the form of quotes and testimonials from educators and parents who used Cosmo and who found that Cosmo:
provides an excellent musical and gamified therapy experience to its users.
supports users’ cognitive training.
supports users’ physical exercising and hand-eye coordination.
adapts to each user\s abilities and needs.
is a valuable assessment tool for therapists. It allows for full insight into the course of each training and long-term progress. Allows for objective collection of the results of the treatment.
facilitates creative collaboration between user and other people (other users/ family/therapists and educators).
is simple and flexible. The system can be installed almost anywhere.
Informs, teaches, warns, some gaming scenarios can help adapt to life in the everyday reality.

From our analysis, we found no other solution that offers the combination of technology & innovation and the refinement of the basic product offering that Cosmo exhibits. There are 5 unique selling points not seen in any of the competition:
(1) Cosmo is the first ergonomically accessible input device with dynamic sensors with auditory and visual cues(visual stimuli) such as the embedded light to inform, teach, and instruct users for a comprehensive Cognitive and Physical training;
(2) it is fully-customisable, hence users can use the units to trigger a vast array of actions in the software. These versatile and modular features open up new interaction possibilities, making it possible to change not only the variety of exercises for users, but also to adapt it to precisely on the needs of each client (personalization and scalability); (3)Cosmo offers bi-directional communication and is interoperable with 3rdparty hardware and software programmes, to meet more diverse needs in the conditions it focuses on and at a fraction of the in-house development price;
(4) collects data on users’ physical and cognitive abilities by converting game data to help the therapists assess the evolution of users’ capacities and enables the research community, caretakers and interaction designers to quickly grasp the sources of engagement and disengagement of clients in their training and rehabilitation, and
(5) Provides a comprehensive solution at fraction of the price compared to the competition to enable scalability (ranging from €500 to €1,200 and including hardware and software modules or subscription based one €95/month). Filisia is already ahead of its competitors in terms of innovative features and will continue to innovate in this market. We are confident that we will dominate the UK and European markets. These 5 USPs give Filisia a very strong positioning. The company has identified all the customer and stakeholder groups within its segment and has developed a comprehensive commercialisation strategy that is backed by market data. The product is protected through one patent (pending), designed to shield its Intellectual property from competition. In tandem with its patent, and considering that the time required to develop such a solution is 2 to 3 years, Filisia time to market constitutes a significant barrier for its competition, as by that time, it will have a strong footing across European markets.