GOLD SPONSOR 2019
Beabloo has been digitalizing brick-and-mortar stores for the past 10 years. With more than 400 clients and a presence in 20 countries, it stands out as a pioneering technological company developing omnichannel solutions combining digital signage, analytics and artificial intelligence. Its work has been acknowledged by companies such as Goldman Sachs (Stores of the Future Award), Diplocat (5th Catalan Business Diplomacy Award) and SoftBank (who invested 10 million in Beabloo to provide analytics to the retail sector in 2015).
CEO at Beabloo
Interview with Augusto Modigliani
How the Digital Transformation Changed Retail
AM: My name is Augusto Modigliani and I’m chief marketing and product officer at Beabloo.
Interviewer: Can you explain us what’s happening here, what are we doing here?
AM: So, we’re in Beta Travel, a famous travel agency in Spain, and we implemented an immersive travel experience inside of this headquarter. What you can do here is you can come in and you have this magical screen connected with an expert in travel in different areas of the world. Let’s give an example; let’s say you want to take a trip to Japan, you can come in, and you will sit down in front of this beautiful screen, and the person in Japan will connect with you and answer all your questions and show you all the landscapes that you will visit in your trip, and create a sort of immersive experience that you will never get by ordering something online or getting a catalogue, because this is super immersive and you have the actual person from there telling you where you can go, what type of restaurant you can go to, which hotel, which side trip you can take…
I: Great and in which other stops is Beabloo present?
AM: We have two other stops; one is at the Cepsa gas station. We digitalized the gas station. We know that a lot of retail spaces are changing nowadays so even gas stations are not just gas stations anymore, you don’t just fill up your car but you can buy products, experience different things inside the gas station, so we implemented a lot of digital screens and different things that you can do digitally inside the gas station to take it to the next level. It’s like the gas station of the future; an example of what a gas station will be ten years from now. The other stop is at the IED (Istituto Europeo di Design), where we digitalized the full campus. We are also creating another type of experience there with artificial intelligence where we took the design from the master’s degree final design of the year and we are using artificial intelligence to offer an award. So basically we physically design and design digital objects in the screen all over the place, so we have some in Madrid, some here in Barcelona, and by the view of people, and the feeling of people watching the design, artificial intelligence decides which is the most liked. At the end there will be an award on the 7th of June, and the three best designs will receive an award. I think it’s the first time that artificial intelligence is applied to do this and it’s an example to show that you can do it with products as well, because you can really understand which products are the most liked by the public just by applying artificial intelligence.
I: Great, and what do you think that a traditional trade show goes out of the box and takes people to do these kind of routes to see, in situ, these experiences?
AM: I think it’s crucial. We live in a physical world, we don’t live in a trade show, right? So I think a trade show is really important as a point of contact where everybody goes, and meets, and you know you have a congress but then there is the physical world, the real world, and you need to show people you know how things work in real life because it cannot just be a video, it cannot just be a replica inside of a booth. It makes perfect sense to join the two things. You need to have the booth and the congress, but you also need to take them to the real world and show them that there is a strong connection between the two things.
I: What can you tell us about your company?
AM: Well, it’s a long and short story because it’s a company that has been in the market for 10 years now and we started as a start-up, like any other company, then we evolved very fast. We started with digital signage, and then in time evolved and then went into the analytics part so we connect content to analytics and then we are in the third phase which is content, analytics and artificial intelligence, so everything is in a system where we have a site called Active Customer Intelligence, where we have the content, so we communicate, analyse and automatize. This is basically what the company does.
I: And what are you doing here today? I mean in this fair… What’s your role in this fair?
AM: Well, it’s really important for us to be here, not only because we are a company from Barcelona and of course it’s important to be here because the fair is in Barcelona. But it’s very important because we need to connect with other companies, and we need to connect with brands and retail.
One of our main vertical is retail, we work a lot with retailers and it makes sense for us to be here and the only other place where we see the same type of connection is NRF in the United States, where we go every year, where we do our business. And I think Barcelona deserves a similar type of congress because we do have the companies here and the businesses that can connect to each other.
I: What do you learn in these kinds of fairs?
AM: Well it’s the first day so…
I: Yeah, I know, but what do you expect to learn? Which are your expectations?
AM: Right. No, I think learning will come from the connections we will make, and it’s not something that we do not know. We know that for example Barcelona has a lot of start-ups, of course its not Sillicon Valley, but it has the same type of approach to innovation, so I think the biggest lesson is that we need to find a place where all of this connection gets together, it doesn’t have to be only a connection between people from Barcelona, but from the rest of Europe and the world. And in Europe we need these types of places where you have a congress, speakers coming from outside of Barcelona, internationally recognized influencers that can validate what we are doing here.
I: So you would recommend people to come here, right?
AM: Absolutely, not only because it’s a great city and it’s really nice to be here but I recommend it because by looking around and talking with other people I understood very well that the level is really high. So being so high it’s really profitable for anybody to come here as a viewer, as a guest or as an exhibitor. It’s really good; it makes a lot of sense.
I: Have you already been to any conference?
AM: Not yet. But as Beabloo we will give a speech tomorrow morning and then we have a workshop as well on innovation and it’s going to be really interesting because there will be people form the brand side, people from retail and then some other companies which for us is crucial as well, to talk with other companies.
I: Now let’s talk about the current situation of retail. In what point are we?
AM: The retail industry?
AM: Well, it’s a strange point. There’s a lot of conversion right now, meaning: a lot of standard retail is changing at the moment but we’re seeing something really particular happening because if you think about banks right now, they don’t look like banks anymore, like some of our customers are banks but they’re transforming themselves into stores, so you can go there and buy a telephone or an insurance. At the same time gas stations are doing the same thing, they are becoming convenient stores where you can buy all kind of products, so retail is evolving because the consumer is evolving and what we are doing in Beabloo, we understood this a long time ago: the customer has to be in the centre of everything, so we cannot force the customer to change, we need to change with the customer and with what they really feel like having, which to us right now retail is going more towards experience than the product, meaning that it’s very important for people to experience by buying something, not necessarily what you’re buying, it’s the experience of buying something: the space where you are, the attention, and the fact that you can share with others what you’re buying and so on.