Hi Guillaume, what do you work on at Worldline?
I work in the R&D department where I am in charge of new user experiences and, more specifically, the interactions between the user and online connected services.
When did you join us and what were you doing before?
I joined the company in July 2000 right after the completion of my studies.
The Internet of Things and connected objects have been on the rise for some time, can you tell us what it is is and how useful these objects are?
Indeed, the Internet of Things has been creating quite a buzz. Initially, this was due to the appearance of new gadgets but new value-added services have been emerging for some time now and are promoting its development. Thanks to advancements in miniaturization and to the cost reduction in materials and components, even more connected and intelligent objects are being launched.
What do you think of these objects’ adoption rate in France and Europe, and how do you see their future?
As of now, early adopters are the key consumers for these products, mainly because mass-market consumers are still questioning their usefulness in everyday life. Moreover, these products tend to be perceived as gadgets. However, we do see great interest from consumers for these new objects and, in particular, their online connected services. But these services need to be useful. Take, for example, a connected oven project we worked on. It can notify the user on their mobile phone if he left home with his oven on and allows him to turn it off remotely.
What are their benefits for consumers?
Consumers are able to interact easily and effectively with these online services because, for the moment, each connected object has a clear function/service. It is true that today we can do almost everything with a smartphone but the consumer does not have access to his mobile phone at all time. Indeed, consumers may not necessarily be able to add an item on their shopping list or to measure their physical activities; hence the interest of these connected objects that seamlessly handle these functions on their behalf. These objects and their use generate data that can also be very useful for consumers to, for example, modulate their energy consumption at home.
And for merchants and companies?
These connected objects generate new sets of data points and this data is key to the valuation of these connected objects. However, consumers may be apprehensive about the sheer amount of data being collected about them and this is exactly why the collection and use of personal data must be done while respecting consumers’ privacy. Indeed, companies will need to leave the choice to consumers about what data they wish to share, or not, with them. It is essential that consumers retain control over the management of their data and also the right to be forgotten. This data, as well as its combination and analysis, can also create monetized services for businesses.
Carrefour Belgium, in partnership with Worldline, has just launched its Connected Kitchen solution, can you tell us more about this offer? Why Carrefour and the Belgian market?
Connected Kitchen is a connected object, as the name suggests, for home use and, in particular, in the kitchen. While there are no studies on this topic, we found that most consumers tend to prepare their shopping list in their kitchen. We also noticed that a shopping list is generally established over time, that is to say during a day, week and throughout daily activities. The idea of this object is to be present in all these moments and allow consumers to be able to, at any time, scan a product’s barcode or to directly add it via the voice recognition interface. Connected Kitchen connects over the home’s wifi, so the product will instantly be added to the shopping list. We decided against adding it directly to the shopping cart, in order to avoid abusive domestic use (ed: for example, children who may repeatedly scan the same item). When placing the order online (ed: as part of a Drive/pick-up order), consumers will then find all the products they have scanned as well as recommendations associated with the dictated products.
As for the Belgian market, it is important to point out that, when we started working on this project, we did not have a specific target market in mind as the Internet of Things is a global phenomenon. However, because online grocery shopping is less developed in Belgium than in France, our solution is ideal to boost this new purchase model. Moreover, it simplifies the online ordering process while retaining consumers because Connected Kitchen is branded Carrefour.
METRO Cash & Carry has signed a partnership with us for a similar solution but for a B2B model targeting restaurateurs in the French market.
What are its major advantages for consumers?
Time savings, the instant transmission of information, the ease of use and the simplification of the online ordering process are the main advantages of this solution. Indeed, with Connected Kitchen, consumers no longer need to pull their mobile phone out their pocket, find the right application and note the product to buy. We also anticipate the imminent arrival of new high value-added services through which consumers will be able to, for example, automatically recover, in their shopping list, all the necessary ingredients to recreate a recipe that they had previously selected. Finally, Connected Kitchen brings a conviviality dimension to online grocery shopping. With Connected Kitchen, the whole family participates in the grocery shopping preparation!
And for merchants and brands?
Through the use of Connected Kitchen by consumers, merchants will have access to new data points such as consumption frequency and their favorite products. In addition, being able to constantly have their brands in consumers’ kitchen is a very powerful retention tool for merchants.
Amazon recently created a buzz with its Dash button, what is your take on it?
This Amazon concept is interesting and suggests that the customer experience can still be reinvented. Indeed, we can imagine new applications based on this same principle. Take, for example, brands that offer coffee capsules or pods. Why not turn the doses storage system into a connected object that could automatically alert consumers to place an order when their stock is low?
Thank you for your time today. I will leave you with one final question: we live in a hyper connected digital world and, suddenly, you find yourself stranded on a desert island, which electronic product do you have to have with you?
My mobile phone, which is, after all, the Swiss Army knife of modern times. But, being in R&D, I would have an ultra-modern mobile, that does not exist yet, which will recharge itself automatically using photovoltaic technology.