Robotics and Product Management: An Evolving Field

drone flying

Although the field of robotics has gained traction in recent years, it still remains a huge challenge for companies to satisfy the high expectations of users. Since robots existed in our imagination for almost a century, companies are required to be more user-centric and flexible to fit their customer requirements.

In this talk, Nicolas Beucher, PM at Softbank Robotics, mentions the ways in which you can build a loyal customer base and gain more revenue in the B2B, B2C and B2B2C segments. If you want to get the full report, watch the full video on Product School’s YouTube channel.

From Apple to Softbank

Nicolas Beucher is currently working as the PM at SoftBank Robotics US. He is working on a robot called ‘Pepper’ which is designed for the B2B2C segment, mostly for retail. Previously, he was working with Apple for a period of 4 years. Nicolas believes in focusing on the customer even when you are dealing with a business (or B2B) as they’re going to indirectly bring in more revenue.

wireframe of a robot's face

Robotics: A Highly Challenging Area

Robots have existed for almost a century in our imagination and quite evidently, have taken form in fictional movies.

The first play to feature robots was a play by Karel Capek in the year 1920. In his play, the robots were created to take care of the hard work at factories and later rebel against their own creators. The fictional presence of robots for this long have created more challenges for companies that build robots, to satisfy their customers.

People often have a pre-built image of what a robot looks like and thus the expectations set are very high. It is important for companies to be more aware of their user-expectations and build products that satisfy their requirements. It is also important for companies to be humble and accept the fact that robotics is a highly challenging area and there is a wide scope to learn and innovate.

smiling robot looking up

B2B and B2C: The Eternal Product Dilemma

If you are a company that is working in B2B:

  • It is more likely that you drive your value proposition towards a business.
  • You also spend a good amount of time thinking about pain points and gains.
  • There exists more specificity in what you do since you can customise more compared to other B2C companies. For example, your integrator will customise the solutions for you before handing it out to the customers.

So how does this impact the products that you build?

  • Well, the more you fine tune the value proposition to your clients, the more likely you are going to sell it.
  • And the more you sell your products, the more money you make and the more loyalty you gain over a period of time.
  • Similarly to a B2C environment, you drive your value proposition directly to your customers in exchange for money and eventually more revenue and royalty.
two business people holding phones over a table with graphics

The Synthesis: A B2B2C Environment

When you are in a B2B2C environment, you are dealing with a business which in turn deals with a customer.

The challenge that often arises here is who to focus more on? The business? Or the customer?

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This post was adapted from content summarized by Varsha Jayaraj

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