Quite simply, the iNUI Studio plans to change the way you shop. Their AIRxTOUCH technology, for natural user interfacing, has seduced banks, supermarkets, jewelry boutiques, and big international groups such as IKEA, Swatch, Disney, LVMH, and PMU. But why such attention? We met with Olivier Raulot, CEO of the Luxembourgish startup, to get a better idea of the particular features of their technology. The startup is part of the Technoport Incubator in Foetz.
(Featured Image: Alexandre Megna and Olivier Raulot, respectively Business Developer and CEO of iNUI Studio / Image Credit © Olivier Minaire)
The startup started R&D in 2011 to create a natural interface that requires neither voice or gest stimulation. “The idea as it is now commercialized came up in 2013 with a request from JC Decaux, who wanted to have interactive bus stops without needing touch stimulation, for obvious sanitary reasons,” explained the CEO.
“From the first commercialization, we have had the chance to get attention from Samsung City in Korea, who fell in love with the technology, as it is the first of its kind.”
With this project, the startup noted a real need. It started to develop its current technology in order to make transparent surfaces touchable without modifying the original material. After three years of R&D and four certificates, the startup created its first prototypes. Today, 100 of the products have been produced in France, in factories located in Dreux, and 80 have been sold. The price? A meager €3,900 (premium reseller price).
“From the first commercialization, we have had the chance to get attention from Samsung City in Korea, who fell in love with the technology, as it is the first of its kind,” explained Olivier Raulot proudly.
In terms of function, the “play and play” usage is direct: the product is placed over an already-installed screen behind a store’s showcase glass. The glass becomes interactive with a simple touch regardless of thickness of the glass. The unchallenged advantage for shops is that the screen attracts the attention of passersby, regardless of time of day. The internal software can be catered by iNUI or by shop owners themselves.
For obvious security reasons, the final purchase of a given product cannot be completed directly on the shop window, but can with a smartphone. A text can be sent to a customer, allowing him/her to confirm the shopping cart and pay directly thereafter!
A client pool as prestigious as it is diverse
“We know that this completely new technology quickly found a market and alleviated a need. In our client pool, we have groups coming from a variety of industries. Some examples are as follows. PMU installed the product in order to help smokers to continue to shop even from outside; IKEA developed “gift shops” in downtown Utrecht, Holland to allow the purchase of small products; CORA supermarkets now offer ticket and sales purchases through showcases,” explained Olivier.
“We are planning to raise 5 million euros in the coming weeks. This would allow us to expand our productivity and limit our costs of production, which are very important right now”
International groups such as Disney, LVMH and Swatch have also demonstrated a strong interested and plan to soon equip their shop with AIRxTOUCH. Some Luxembourgish companies have also showed interest. You can find some of the windows at INOWAI, and JOIN.
So what’s next?
The startup declared a one-million-euro revenue but needs more funds in order to develop more of the special product.
“We are planning to raise 5 million euros in the coming weeks. This would allow us to expand our productivity and limit our costs of production, which are very important right now,” explained the CEO.
With the development of a number of partnerships, mainly in France, the iNUI team, which has only one business developer for the moment, needs to grow.
“We need to recruit more business developers in each region in order to offer better follow-up to our partners. We are also working to develop additional applications and features to the product… which means we need more people!” emphasized the CEO.
This article was first published in the 9th issue of SILICON magazine. Be the first to read SILICON articles on paper before they’re posted online, plus read exclusive features and interviews that only appear in the print edition, by subscribing online.