Based in Laval (France), the Inod team creates immersive solutions for professionals.
Crédits photos : Inod Solutions
On 21st March 2016, Inod, a virtual reality and 360° video agency, was born. Initially focused on real estate and construction, Inod has opened up to other fields, becoming notably a 3D design studio. In 2020, the company even bet on virtual and imagined a digital solution for events. Portrait of Inod, a key player in Laval’s VR/AR ecosystem, with its co-founder Anthony Hacques.
The adventure begins in construction and real estate
Once upon a time, there were two partners, Anthony Hacques and Julien Ranchoux, who embarled on the adventure of entrepreneurship. Together, they founded Inod right at the heart of the capital of virtual and augmented reality in Laval (Mayenne, France). They settled at la Licorne, a hotel for innovative companies; and thus, a few hundred metres from the Laval Virtual Center and renowned VR/AR players such as Laval Virtual and CLARTE.
In the middle of this ecosystem, Anthony Hacques, native from Mayenne, lets himself charmed by the potential of virtual reality. Yet, he didn’t know anything about immersive technologies! “I was working in the construction industry, and I left my company”, he confess. During his experience in the sector, he nevertheless noticed the lack of projection tools. “All too often I saw people who saw the results as the building was being constructed”, he explains. This resulted in additional costs and a significant loss of time. “2D plans are not ideal for imagining the final result of a building”.
Inod began its odyssey as a virtual reality company for construction and real estate. It then launches the ScaleView software for professionals, initially called InodView, to visit buildings before the construction. It’s a subscription-based software that allows any professionals who designs in 3D to use virtual reality autonomously to directly visualise their projects. “This was the initial activity, and since then we have developed a lot in terms of offers and solutions”.
The exploration continues with new offers
Throughout the years, Inod has built up new solutions, exploring different sectors than real estate. “The real estate aspect sticks to us”, Anthony Hacques admits. “We worked to get rid of this image. We divided our activity and now our offer is clear.” So, there was at first MaValiseVR. These are virtual reality kits with all the necessary equipment “to deploy a virtual reality experience quickly and easily during business travels”. MaValiseVR is now a brand and offers kits for the main VR headsets of the market (Samsung, Oculus, HTC, Windows).
More recently, Inod developed a 3D production studio and app creation activity. The company now offers a “100% customised service, based on the client’s needs”. Inod modelled a 3D dragon from A to Z for the Vendée Globe and the participation of the French skipper, Maxime Sorel. Both an “atypical project” and a “real challenge”, its marks the full extent of what Inod can do today. “We are creators of immersive solutions for professionals, especially for communication, marketing and sales assistance needs”, Anthony clarifies.
And this exploration does not stop there! In 2020, the Inod team is taking on a new challenge: to conquer the virtual world. A new string to its bow for this young company which has all the qualities of a major player in virtual reality. “Next March 21st, it will be 5 years since Inod was created“, Anthony Hacques proudly says.
2020, the “roller coaster” year
In 2020, Inod continues to succeed. However, the year had got off to a very bad start for the company, which was hit hard by the COVID crisis. “As early as February, we saw our order book literally collapse“. With good reason: before the crisis, Inod was creating a lot of applications to be used at physical events. Within three months, the company’s turnover fell by 90%. “At the end of May, we had a knife to our throat…“.
But it took more than that to demotivate the Inod team! So they looked into virtual worlds for events and created their own virtual exhibition solution. So much that “since June, the activity has started up again completely. This explains the roller coaster!” A first trade show was organised in 3 weeks for the company LAFI, and welcomed 40 exhibitors including big names of the IT industry (Microsoft, Intel, AMD, HP, Acer). More recently, Inod’s solution was used for the West Data Festival, organised by Laval Mayenne Technopole, and for the Crédit Agricole Anjou Maine.
For the rest of the journey, Inod concentrates on delivering orders to its customers. “Demand is strong!” Its virtual exhibition solution will certainly evolve over time, in the same way as its ScaleView software, on which there is ongoing R&D. Inod is also betting on virtual showrooms, “for companies that do international business. This is something that will remain in the future, in the same way as virtual showrooms“. So, when we ask Anthony Hacques if virtual events are going to last beyond the crisis, he certainly answers: “I believe in it!“.