“Hi, I'm Pepper!
How can I help you?”

The Pepper Experience

Scenario

The use of automation in the primary and secondary sectors has become a reality and today, increasingly versatile and sophisticated robots make it possible to constantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of production lines.

Current Robotic and Machine Learning technologies are facilitating the use of humanoid robots in customer-facing roles, such as in the retail, hospitality and customer engagement sectors.

The adoption of a humanoid robot opens up new and interesting business opportunities requiring multidisciplinary skills and experience: from the understanding of business processes to customer experience, from artificial intelligence to human-humanoid dialogue.

The integration of a robot with different backend systems (such as CRM, warehouse management systems, online stores and user directories) completes the framework and enables the creation of different business scenarios, customised according to the specific needs of the customer: from visual commerce to in-store engagement and robotic concierge services.

Solution

Sprint Reply and Bitmama are the two Group companies which have become a centre of expertise focused on the design of the Pepper humanoid robot, thanks to the partnership with Softbank Robotics, a leader in the non-industrial humanoid robots sector.

Sprint Reply, taking advantage of the company’s experience in the realms of artificial intelligence, machine learning and conversational interfaces, has enhanced Pepper’s features with new capabilities, including advanced computer vision, object detection and object recognition. Moreover, integrating the robot’s internal systems with some of the most common Natural Language Processing engines, has made robust and flexible dialogue management possible, as well as extending the scope of current text chatbots to the interaction with humanoid robots.

Bitmama, a reference point in new digital communication technologies, with extensive experience in emotional engagement, can help define Pepper’s personality, role and language, ensuring that they are consistent with the values and objectives of a specific brand, integrating Pepper into the digital strategy and above all incorporating it, in a fluid and coherent way, into the existing customer experience. Strategy, storytelling, copywriting and conversation, design and user experience, integration with leading social media channels: this is Bitmama’s key added value to the design.

Reply's distinctive approach is rooted precisely in the synergy of the two companies: “the Pepper experience” is the intersection between Brand Experience and Customer Experience, between creativity and technology. Likeable and personable, Pepper is much more than a robot. It is a real humanoid companion created to communicate with people as naturally and intuitively as possible, thanks to two key features: body language and voice. Pepper can recognise faces, speak, understand words and move around independently. Moreover, as the robot relies on an open platform, this facilitates custom application developmentdesigned to take advantage of a variety of sensors and engines and to integrate existing business systems.

At a mechanical level, Pepper can move freely within a 360° range, thanks to three multi-directional wheels and reaches a maximum speed of 3km/h. The robot is equipped with engines with 20° of freedom that control its movements with great precision, as well as with two high-resolution cameras and a 3D camera that allows it to effectively understand the surrounding environment. Four directional microphones detect the source of sounds and incorporate them, while a speaker allows the robot to speak and reproduce sounds. Finally, a tablet embedded in Pepper’s chest allows users to view and collect visual information.

Pepper’s ability to connect to the network enables the remote monitoring and control of the robot, for the effective management and collection of useful data, such as the number of conversations held, the topics covered, the number of persons engaged, etc. Robot Analytics is an accelerator developed by Sprint, designed to monitor and store, in real time, statistics and insights on the robot’s interactions with the environment and with the people around it.

In addition to the success of the project from a technological and IT viewpoint, Pepper is also a winner from a business point of view: the robot’s modern and likeable appearance makes it a genuine magnet for people. In a public space, Pepper easily attracts a crowd of people and, thanks to its abilities, the robot is able to entertain and keep their attention, describing a product and providing a wide range of value-added services.