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R&D investment amounted to €179 million in 2016 (€168 million in 2015), including Research Tax Credits (€7 million as in 2015) and capitalised R&D costs (€4 million, unchanged from 2015).
In order to expand its expertise in this field and cover a wide range of technologies and issues, the Group has been committed for several years to a proactive Open Innovation strategy, in which it has become a recognised player.
Our business units work alongside universities and competitive clusters (Vitagora, Cap Digital etc.). Our three cross-departmental technology centres have formed partnerships with some prestigious laboratories (CNRS, INRA, CEA-LITEN) and universities (Centrale Lyon, Insa Lyon). Set up in 2011, the SEB ALLIANCE investment fund now enjoys an excellent position in the world of venture capital, examining growing numbers of cases.
This “open” innovation approach also takes the form of acquiring interests in start-ups through the SEB ALLIANCE investment fund.
In addition to the fact that it serves as a monitoring tool for new technologies outside the Group, SEB Alliance also allows the Group to invest in innovative, technology-focused companies in areas such as the connected home and digital applications, robotics, well-being and the ageing of the population, and sustainable development. These companies furnish the technological “bricks” that the Group can use to develop its products. Some of these are developing cutting edge technologies to do with wellbeing and health, such as Ethera, specialising in the quality of indoor air.
The partnership between Ethera and Groupe SEB resulted in the creation of a new line of air purifiers (Intense Pure Air), which were introduced in China late in 2014 before expanding to other countries.
SEB ALLIANCE has made nine investments since its creation in 2011, four of which took place in 2014 alone:
- ROBART, an Austrian company that designs hardware and software solutions for mapping and robotic navigation;
- ADVANCED MEMTECH, an Israeli company specializing in the manufacture of microfiltration and ultrafiltration membranes for water treatment applications ;
- FEELIGREEN, a French company specializing in the development of a patch to ease active substances transfer into the dermis.
- ZEEPRO, an American 3D printer company.
Finally, the Group has also been able to open up to the initiatives of inventors, scientists and researchers by launching a specific international website "Innovate with Groupe SEB" for them at the end of 2013.
All of these skills, combined with a perfect understanding of how people use domestic appliances, enable us to offer ground-breaking innovations such as the Freemove cordless iron, which was designed following a very precise analysis of the ironing cycles of hundreds of consumers.
Digital technology - new solutions for everyday life
With consumers' growing use of the Internet when looking for recipes and very high usage of computers, mobile phones and tablets, the developed markets are now ready for the arrival of connected devices, which will offer more personalisation, efficiency and instant results.
Loyal to its pioneering tradition, the Group allocates significant resources to introducing new digital solutions to the heart of the kitchen.
Cookeo: build the category
The Cookeo multicooker, launched in 2012, is the first appliance to include a database of recipes.
A unique product on the market, Cookeo has revolutionised the world of cooking. An interactive and intelligent multicooker, it has succeeded in making everyday cooking more straightforward by eliminating:
The management of quantities for each ingredient,
The management of cooking programmes and temperatures.
It also features a wide range of recipes and ingredients, which can be cooked in a minimum amount of time and which can be found in this paperless recipe collection.
In October 2013, the cooking revolution continued with the launch of the Cookeo USB. Now featuring a USB port, "connected cooks" can add new recipes in no time at all!
Then, in September 2014, the intelligent multicookers’ family has increasingly expanded with the launch of Cookeo connect, able to exchange informations, in real-time, via a dedicated application.
Principle is simple: from its tablet or smartphone, the user selects a recipe, send it on its Cookeo connect to follow the preparation and to monitor it directly from its terminal.
The recipe is sent to Cookeo connect which instantaneously realize it. The intelligent multicooker can also add ingredients to the user’s shopping list and give to user some advices to execute the recipe using pictures and tutorials.
It has also launched mobile applications, such as My Actifry. In the field of connected products, the Group was the first to develop a connected pressure cooker, Nutricook Connect, and a prototype was exclusively unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas at the beginning of 2014.
Finally, since 2012, the Group has been leading the Open Food System (OFS), a collaborative research project on an international scale. Bringing together 25 international and scientific partners, OFS is approved by six competitive clusters and benefits from a budget of €21 million over three years. Its objective is to develop an ecosystem of personalised cooking solutions, accessible via all kinds of media.
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"Invent tomorrow's everyday life"