By Sébastien Cagnon.
I’m thrilled to announce that I will join full-time Hoomano’s team as the Head of Japan. I’m so excited to be part of this incredible team and believe that this company will have a positive impact on the world.
I’m looking forward to contributing to Hoomano’s vision by defining how humans will naturally interact with robots around the world.
After 4 years at Aldebaran – which became Softbank Robotics after the acquisition – I left the company to focus on software development for social robots as a free-lance while looking for the right team to build this project with.
Social robotics startup scene is still small. I met Xavier Basset and Cyril Maitrejean – Hoomano’s co-founders – several times around the world in the last few years. I have always been impressed by their focus and their drive to create the best interactions with robots using today’s technology.
What I like the most about their approach is how they guide each customer to understand how robots can bring value to their activity. The result today is the creation of custom-made applications which provide a service to the end user and anonymized marketing data for the robot owner. With the collected data, we can optimize the interaction further for future iterations.
So, I didn’t really hesitate when they offered me the opportunity to lead their office in Japan – currently, the biggest market for social robots.
I first decided to create robots when I saw the rovers Spirit and Opportunity land on Mars in 2004. It was fascinating how we could create the technology to send robots so far away. At the same time, I was also surprised that we still couldn’t see robots in our homes. Where was my robot butler?
I came to Japan in 2009 to finish my specialization in robotics. This is where I discovered social robots: cute robots that can talk and communicate with people. In summer 2012, I joined Aldebaran/Softbank Mobile to work on a secret project later at the time named “Pepper”. It was right after Softbank Mobile had acquired the French company – Aldebaran – to build the robot they had envisioned.
As the first engineer from Aldebaran Japan, I created prototypes for the use cases on each iteration of Pepper. While the Paris-based team was implementing features and improving the technology, I was working with Softbank Mobile to validate real-life use-cases. We tested receptionist applications, virtual queue management, entertainment…
In June 2014, after Pepper was launched as the first social robot in the world that can communicate with people, I focused more on B2B projects with Nao and Pepper. The key challenge was to find the best way to provide value in customer service with our communication robots.
Japanese market has thousands of robots already deployed and running. The best opportunity for us!
Our mission is to help companies successfully design, prototype, implement and manage their social robotics projects. Hoomano’s products – Content Management System and Robotics Analytics Platform – are the key-stone of this success.
I’d love to connect with you if you’re involved in a social robotics project or if you’re a local distributor. Just ping me at firstname.lastname@example.org !
I am really proud of joining the awesome team of Hoomano, and leading the Japanese branch to grow together. Our playground is the world !
« Welcome aboard ! All the best for your new challenge in Japan ! » — Xavier
[mirror post on medium.com : Launching Hoomano Japan ]