Teaser from IRIS showed in Las Vegas for the 2017 CES
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A natural interface that gives technology a human face

These days the whole question of in-house collaboration is becoming a major issue for companies. New ways of working, such as small teams, non-linear production chains, flexi-work and remote working are gaining ground, but a major question nevertheless surrounds companies’ ability to incorporate collaborative approaches into these new practices. New methods require new tools. This was what prompted French startup NaturSoftware to develop the IRIS solution. We met up with company CEO Ulysse Semde, who pointed to the challenges posed by the recent changes in work practices and explained that companies should be thinking about new, more intuitive digital tools to connect up teams so as to put the emphasis back on the human side of collaborative work. Firms need to ensure that “technologies adapt to people, rather than people to the technologies,‟ he stresses. Accordingly, NaturSoftware has developed a natural interface, a technological solution capable of understanding human feelings and adapting to natural, human forms of communication.

bringing a 'human side' to collaborative work

Reunion en AR


Uniting teams based on an ‘emotional coefficient’

The IRIS system makes us of voice, gesture, face and emotional recognition, with the intention of helping company colleagues to be more creative and achieve better results. You no longer need a mouse or a keyboard. A simple hand gesture will suffice to open the interface in AR and it will recognise the user and make the necessary adjustments. The system, displayed in the form of a cube, enables groups of colleagues to work jointly on documents and projects, whether they are on the premises or working remotely. In addition, IRIS has an AI-based functionality called AVA, which uses a voice recognition system to assess the emotional state of a given speaker. An algorithm will then calculate an ‘emotional coefficient’ for this speaker, which will be listed in an internal database. Managers can then draw on this information to come up with the best strategy for uniting teams. At first sight this may seem rather scary, like something straight out of ‘Minority Report’. However, Ulysse Semde is at pains to reassure us that there is no question of gathering employees’ ‘emotional’ data on an individual basis. IRIS only works out an emotional coefficient for a given team with a view to making collaborative working more human.

iris also targets retailers

Iris pour le retail


Providing a real user experience

Moreover, the IRIS solution is not limited to the workplace. NaturSoftware’s founder underlines that it can also be used in other fields such as education. Using the virtual reality interface in schools will enable ‘gamification’ of course work, with the teacher taking on the role of ‘super-hero’. In addition, the IRIS system uses telepresence technologies to enable children who are ill, suffering from a disability or who have dropped out of school to follow classes remotely. IRIS can also be used in the retail world to help stores understand their customers better and tailor services more closely to their needs. Whether in business, in the workplace or in training, emotion is a key factor and this is the missing link that the NaturSoftware solution can provide. IRIS, which was showcased at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year and was recently demonstrated to then French President François Hollande, is highly relevant to the needs of companies trying to keep abreast of rapid change as disruptive innovations follow one another in quick succession. The company is now aiming to forge ahead by broadening its range of services, with the incorporation of hologram technologies planned for the near future.

By Théo Roux