With its large touch screen, La Vitre wants to revolutionize video calls

With its large touch screen, La Vitre wants to revolutionize video calls

Violet Field inHigh TechJan 12, 2021 4 min read8 views

The start-up based in Saint-Herblain has designed a solution allowing video exchanges in a more natural way than the usual videoconferences

Anthony Vannier talks with La Vitre from Nantes with Romuald Boulanger based in Paris. - F. Brenon / 20Minutes
  • La Vitre is a French start-up based in Saint-Herblain, in the suburbs of Nantes.
  • At the end of 2018, it launched a touchscreen concept intended to communicate face-to-face, standing.
  • Just over 120 models have already been sold in Europe.

Travel restrictions linked to the health crisis have allowed it to reveal its full potential. In Saint-Herblain, near Nantes, a start-up has developed a communication medium on a human scale: La Vitre. This large touch screen decked out with a camera, a microphone and a speaker allows two distant people to exchange live, standing as if they were face to face. In addition to its size (from 55 to 86 inches), the vertical format (portrait) of La Vitre thus offers a very different experience from the usual video calls by interposed webcams.

“When we do a videoconference, we are generally uncomfortable,” observes Anthony Vannier, one of the three co-founders of La Vitre. We only see the upper body and the camera does not show us off. With La Vitre, we are equals, in the most natural way possible. The gestures are reinforced, the furniture or the environment can also be used. "

A "knock-knock" on the screen as a call

The other advantage of La Vitre is its ease of use. No need to go through a platform, to send each other a link or a password to meet. The Windows are permanently connected to each other. A single press (a “knock-knock” for example) on the screen is enough to alert the other party. The user can also leave a handwritten message.

"We want to forget about technology, act with the same ease hundreds of kilometers away as if we were physically together," explains Romuald Boulanger, another co-founder. Everything that we see on the Glass is displayed at the same time on the other Glass. We can talk and see each other but also write, erase, open documents, share the contents of our phone or computer. »Applications even allow you to interact manually with videos or display subtitles during multilingual dialogues.

Still, these services have a significant cost: from 4,000 to 10,000 euros for the complete kit, to which must be added a monthly license subscription of 199 euros. Too expensive for individuals. Too expensive also for small businesses, although it is possible to adapt your own screen for a less expensive and less successful experience. “We mainly work with large groups”, indicates the co-founders, who hope to be able to reduce the price of La Vitre when the marketing “increases”.

The objective of 300 windows sold

For the time being, nearly 120 units have been sold since the end of 2018 to around forty companies based in Europe, but also in the United States, Japan, and Ivory Coast. They mainly use it for internal communication (“individual interview”, “meetings”, “coffee break”, etc.). But some also use La Vitre to address customers in the absence of staff. “It can be precious in an airport, in a concierge, at the reception desk of a bank or a hotel, or for telemedicine. There are many possibilities ”, is convinced, Anthony Vannier.

Obviously, the explosion of teleworking in 2020 saved the start-up time. “There has been a global awareness of the importance of good communication despite the distance,” notes Romuald Boulanger. What to be ambitious. Next target: between 200 and 300 Windows sold from 2021.