From minitel to API, Agora 20 years of innovation in the after-sales service
The history of the repair of household appliances is linked to the developments of the Agora group and more particularly of its Agoraplus solution. Driving the digitization and standardization of exchanges between the various after-sales service professionals, Agora’s adventure began in 1997 on Minitel. 20 years later, Agoraplus remains the industry’s leading solution with its API portal. First article in a series on technological innovations in after-sales service. The story of Agora begins in 1997 at the initiative of eight groups of manufacturers in household appliances in France Brandt, B/S/H, Candy, Electrolux, Miele, Philips Whirlpool, Indesit. Under the leadership of the market leader at the time: Brandt, their goal is to create a digital and mutual service to improve the productivity of all members of the after-sales service chain. The repairer types on his Minitel: 3617 code AGORA, to access the service. He enters the reference of a device and receives, for the cost of a call, its technical documentation by fax. The first IT service in the repair business is launched! Behind this monochrome front-office, hiding large data exchanges between heterogeneous and sometimes unstable environments that require significant development and infrastructure costs.
The 2000s: a mission recognized by the EU for consumer service
Since 1998, Agora has sought to centralize information in order to provide it in the form of a service with high added value and that is easy to consume. This concept is known today with the emergence of the cloud and APIs. In 2002, Agora organized itself into a company with the first website. Its mission, validated by the EU, is recognized as being of public utility to improve service to consumers. Over the course of strategic developments, manufacturers (Beko, Franke, Schneider) and partners join the adventure. Agora teams are continuing their work by standardizing access to data, their format and then their mode of transport. The digitalization turn started in 2008, Agora allows repairers to retrieve a work order by simply downloading an XML file. A mode that is admittedly still manual which, however, makes it possible to avoid data entry. To be continued: the technological leap of the 2010s …