Pepper is the first humanoid marketing platform that will help businesses and consumers embrace the power of robotics and artificial intelligence
SAN FRANCISCO and OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Sept. 7, 2017 – SoftBank Robotics America (SBRA), a division of SoftBank (OTC: SFTBF), and sister company Sprint (NYSE: S) today announced a strategic partnership that will bring Pepper® to Sprint Business clients and retail customers nationwide.
Pepper is the first humanoid marketing platform and was built to support businesses by proactively engaging with customers. Pepper’s specific marketing applications help create awareness and brand affinity, and will ultimately help businesses achieve goals and ROI through unique experiences and gathering of customer insights. For the U.S. market, two out-of-the-box solutions are available to Pepper customers – Pepper Promoter and Pepper Host. Both applications allow businesses to leverage Pepper’s platform and form factor to proactively deliver content and messages to the user.
“SoftBank Robotics America and Sprint are poised to provide Sprint’s business and retail customers the opportunity to harness the power of interactive robotics through Pepper’s platform,” said Steve Carlin, Chief Strategy Officer, SoftBank Robotics America. “Pepper adds an unparalleled touch of warmth and empathy to each interaction, while delivering actionable insights for our customers. We look forward to deepening the existing relationship with Sprint and bringing Pepper to its customers through this partnership.”
Pepper for Business
Sprint Business has aligned with SBRA as a referral pathway for Pepper. The Sprint Business team will now bring the power of robotics to its enterprise clients and be a key support system as Pepper becomes more widely available in the U.S. over the next year.
“Sprint is thrilled to have the opportunity to offer Pepper to our customers and prospects,” said Mohamad Nasser, general manager of Sprint’s IoT Business Unit. “Pepper’s innovative form factor brings artificial intelligence to life. By giving our customers access to this technology, we will help them grow their business. Launching Pepper also demonstrates Sprint’s commitment to deliver the latest technologies to business customers, even beyond those typical for carriers. Pepper has demonstrated globally the ability to engage and inspire people, and we are excited to help bring Pepper to U.S. businesses.”
Sprint Business clients who commit to using Pepper will have the option to leverage either the Pepper Promoter and/or the Pepper Host content management system (CMS), depending on the business use case and with options for dedicated programing and campaign development.
Pepper for Retail
Robotics technology will change the way we do business, and for retail that means keeping customer experiences unique and fresh. Pepper’s ability to proactively engage customers and draw them into a store will ultimately build brand affinity and keep them coming back.
Pepper’s original business use case was to surprise and delight retail customers in Japan. Now Sprint is proud to team with SoftBank Robotics to bring Pepper to its U.S. customers with an upcoming pilot program that will launch in the fourth quarter of 2017. This Pepper for Retail program will include several Sprint retail stores nationwide and will expand the opportunity for U.S. consumers to experience Pepper firsthand.
“SoftBank Robotics has a proven track record with Pepper that illustrates the benefits of robotics and artificial intelligence in the retail experience,” said Kevin Crull, president of Omnichannel Sales for Sprint. “We know that Pepper helps retailers hone messaging based on the information collected through consumer engagements. In the first phase, we will test and learn how our U.S. customers react to and engage with Pepper while determining how robotics might fit more broadly into the Sprint retail environment. We are excited to launch the pilot program and test Pepper’s capabilities as a new marketing platform.”
Pepper and the Sprint Network
Sprint’s Network team will be one of the first in the U.S. to test and develop on the Pepper platform for the mobile space. The team’s phased approach will include leveraging Pepper’s software to study human interactions with the form factor, and to connect and test Sprint’s growing network of mobile and enterprise applications on a robot, eventually influencing future development opportunities on the Pepper platform.
“Robotics and artificial intelligence are two of the fastest growing technology categories today,” said Dr. Ron Marquardt, vice president of technology at Sprint. “Pepper presents a platform for tremendous innovation by integrating cellular connectivity into robotic services and developing new applications, such as accessibility for the blind or hearing impaired.”
With large expressive eyes and lifelike movements and gestures, the 4-foot-tall Pepper is a humanoid robot designed to provide a unique, interactive user experience and to offer a new way for businesses to engage customers and clients. Pepper can connect with people on an emotional level through its humanlike form factor and conversational experience. Whether interacting with guests in a hotel lobby, shoppers at a retail store or travelers at an airport, Pepper can discern the person’s gender, general age and mood.
SoftBank Robotics America is rolling out Pepper in North America with a business-first strategy. Like the rollout in Asia and Europe, Pepper robots will soon be seen in retail, hospitality, travel, financial services, and health care roles.
“Pepper is a powerful, emotive, engagement tool for businesses because people are attracted to the unique experience,” said Nasser. “Pepper is dynamic and people want to engage with it, which opens avenues for moving customers and prospects down the line of becoming more deeply engaged with a brand.”
Sprint will initially have one Pepper placed at its Executive Briefing Center at its Overland Park, Kansas, headquarters and another at the Executive Briefing Center in New York. Later this year, Sprint plans to have a Pepper in each of its four Enterprise Divisions for customer demonstrations. Pepper also will accompany Sprint at various trade shows and conferences this year, so be sure to stop by for demos and to learn how Pepper can positively influence your business.
About Softbank Robotics America
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, SoftBank Robotics America (SBRA) is driving technology forward by becoming a leader in humanoid robotics. Our robots, including Pepper and NAO, are used in more than 70 countries worldwide and offer innovative use cases relevant for the fields of retail, financial services, healthcare, travel, and hospitality. Formerly Aldebaran Robotics, SBRA’s sister offices remain in Europe, Japan and China under the new SoftBank Robotics Group.
Sprint (NYSE: S) is a communications services company that creates more and better ways to connect its customers to the things they care about most. Sprint served 53.7 million connections as of June 30, 2017, and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; leading no-contract brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Sprint has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) North America for the past five years. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.