Story of the week

Alain and Thibault from SMILE

…When tech magician’s, Alain and Thibault, two former colleagues from the big 4, teamed up with Fabrice, a long-time friend and working partner, joined SMILE’s Innovation Team at The Office…

Hi guys, can you tell us more about your role at Smile and the company’s activity?

Alain(A): Smile is a French company with agencies around Europe, as well as Morocco and Ukraine. I’m the Technology Director within the Innovation Team. We research and consult on new technologies, and work closely with clients, to adapt technologies which meet their needs. Of course, there’s a process, sometimes we do product sketches and eventually prototypes, other times we optimize a business process. It can AI related or an internal IT department regarding new practices or tools. We’re geeks and think about how to improve the current situation and apply new approaches or thinking.

Thibault(T): I’m an Innovation Evangelist, and ensure we have a better view on innovation, both internally and externally. Meaning, I look at what agencies are already doing, and how we can increase their exposure, or at what we’re doing internally and how it can help clients or leads. Also, I work on prototyping and service/product design. As Alain said, it’s about being pragmatic, so we look at used cases and experiment to find where more work is needed.

Where do you find your inspiration?

A: It comes from passion, and thinking about how we can solve issues. A good part also comes from client requests, especially when it comes to AI.

T: Yes, they often hear about tech developments and it may not be exactly what they need, so we research and see how we can adapt it to their needs. It pushes us to know more. I also follow tech and market trends, to see how we can experiment with them.

Any special SMILE news we should be aware of?

T: There’s a lot going on, but here are two: We’re Snips’ first tech partner! Snips focus on speech recognition and voice assistant services that run locally on the device, which does not need a cloud or central server. It offers complete user privacy, and can be used in home automation, or as a voice assistant at hospitals or retirement homes! Secondly, we’re part AI4U, a consortium which is a platform developing AI in Europe. Normally a field where the US and China are dominant in.

A: Since 6 months, we’re Amazon’s first IOT partner in Europe! IOT (Internet of Things) meaning any device with an internet connection, e.g. fridges, or doorlocks.

What’s your favorite part about working here at The Office?

T: I really like the environment, it isn’t pretentious. A lot of spaces buy a lot of expensive stuff, and that’s it… but they’re impersonal. The Office is cozy, people are friendly, and I like the do-it-yourself spirit!

A: To add to Thibault, The Office is also central and simple!

Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs or geeks ?

T: Have fun or quit, because life’s too short! Especially in Luxembourg, there are so many IT opportunities, if you’re unhappy leave and start your own project. Just take a chance!

A: Simply help yourself and it will create a positive path for things to work out!

Anything else you would like to mention?

A: If any coworkers have any ideas or issues with technology, we’re here to help!

T: Or even talk about projects or learn more about the AI, computer vision, chatbot and any topics in between. We keep our door closed because we’re noisy, but feel free to say ‘hi’ !


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