Cadiou has been manufacturing gates since 1973. The company then moved into PVC joinery for barns and created its first PVC garden gates. In the late 1990s, Cadiou turned a new corner in its business strategy with the production of aluminium gates and fences.
Today, forty years after beginning their family adventure, the company continues to thrive. Cadiou is 100% made in France and has 390 employees. Products are hand-assembled by skilled craftsmen, and the firm has made a name for itself as the reference in structuring outdoor living spaces. The group pursues an effective, proactive business management policy with the aim of continuing its steady development in France and abroad. Cadiou has been working from its site in Locronan (Brittany) for more than 40 years, and today boasts over 17,000 m² of workshops and installation partners throughout France.
One way of guaranteeing more visitors at your booth at any trade fair is to have a Pepper robot strolling around it. The first time Cadiou invited Pepper to one of its booths was in October 2016 in Rennes for the ARTIBAT fair, the region’s largest professional construction event. And they’ll be using Pepper and the app developed by our Génération Robots engineers at future events too.
The Pepper app developed in the GR Lab for the occasion allows visitors to:
- Give the booth a score if they’ve already visited it
- Answer a short satisfaction survey (choice between 4 images)
- Find a sales rep at the fair working in their region
- Take a selfie with Pepper
- Ask Pepper to dance
- Ask Pepper to open or close a gate
- Find out which gate best suits their needs based on an image bank
- Enter their contact details or take a picture of them with their business card
The Cadiou Pepper app is extremely comprehensive, capable of doing so much that visitors don’t have time to get bored when visiting the booth! It combines a variety of informative features and demos and is a source of information, all ideal at a trade fair.
The main challenge we came up against when working on this app was making it as fluid as possible. Pepper likes to talk, he has to encourage those he’s communicating with to interact a great deal, either orally or using the different buttons on her tablet, in order to obtain the required information.
So we had to ensure visitors could find the right information as quickly as possible, to prevent them from getting bored and leaving disappointed with their user experience.
The second challenge involved enabling Pepper to communicate with the automatic gate. For this, the app had to include a connected object component, allowing Pepper to give a demo and operate the gate motors in order to open and close it.
Finally, a third challenge involved collecting data, or more specifically teaching Pepper how to process data to:
- Find the sales rep with whom the visitor needs to speak (according to the day and region)
- Find the gate(s) best meeting the visitor’s needs based on the images they choose
- Last but not least, the app’s owner had to be able to configure certain phrases and also collect statistics (images of business cards, contact details, satisfaction survey summaries, etc.), as well as add images and insert gate-motor data allowing Pepper to communicate with it.
#Challenge 1 – A fluid app for an optimal user experience
We overcame the problem of app fluidity by integrating an “Interrupt dialogue” function into the Pepper robot. This allows visitors to continue using Pepper’s tablet before she’s finished what she has to say.
This is a useful feature at a trade fair, where visitors have a limited amount of time to visit lots of booths. The “Interrupt dialogue” option allows them to rapidly access the information they’re looking for.
We also created a variety of movements and gestures typical of receptionists, to give visitors the even greater impression that they’re chatting with an intelligent being.
#Challenge 2 – Pepper and connected objects (IoT)
The second point was successfully resolved after several hours of trying to get to grips with the gate’s motor and to send queries to not only find out the motor’s status (closed or open) but also launch it on request.
Our GR Lab engineers used the Somfy TaHoma home automation box as an interface linking the Pepper robot with the automatic gate. Pepper connects to the box via WiFi and the gate connects to Pepper using the TaHoma protocol. Her behaviour is managed using both Python script and a web interface. The person communicating with Pepper can ask her to open or close the gate, and Pepper will do just that! This behaviour has been duplicated on a valve and pump system (opening/closing).
#Challenge 3 – Data collection
This point, which seemed complex, was resolved by using and processing .CSV files. This allowed us to recover data and link them with the user’s choice (the region where the sales rep works or the selected gate photos).
#Challenge 4 – Configuration of the Cadiou Pepper app
The need for configuration was resolved by creating a web interface capable of communicating with Pepper. This allows users to quickly and easily:
- Change what the robot says
- Export collected data (pictures of business cards, contact details)
- Add product images
- Add sales reps
The Pepper robot is a real asset at any trade fair for all companies interested in standing out from other booths. Some visitors need a little encouragement to begin interacting with the robot, but this hasn’t made her any less popular.
As always, a lot of photos and videos were taken while she was dancing.
We also noticed just how important the tablet is, because it’s often what users choose to interact with Pepper – visitors aren’t necessarily used to approaching and talking to a robot! It’s therefore extremely important not to overlook this point, and to make sure it’s attractive. A website that’s not user-friendly will not attract visitors, and the same applies to a tablet.
At a trade fair, Pepper is great for delegating certain repetitive tasks in addition to attracting more visitors to the booth.