Spotnik Technologies: The new age of the Artificially intelligent

Customer service robots have become an integral part of our digital transformation.



By Ricardo Barcena

Published: Mon 19 Oct 2020, 1:57 PM

Last updated: Mon 19 Oct 2020, 4:04 PM

It is well-known by now that Covid-19 spread more than a virus to our lives. It has been catalyst for adoption of digital services in matters of remote communications, remote operations, touchless checking processes, and more recently, the incursion of robotics for special purposes and customer service support alternative to traditional interactions.

The popular humanoid type robots presented in marketing shows and technology events are opening doors for a new set of devices, some of them no so human-type. Thanks to the improvement of sensorial and software based on proven AI and applications, they deliver new experiences applicable to unlimited scenarios at more accessible prices and business models than before.

For those companies and institutions evaluating the introduction of robotics of customer facing activities, the general advice is to have clarity on how to benchmark the multiple offers available from the hardware to the software, but even more important to evaluate the fitting for the purpose. We are getting closer to experience a recruiting process for the robot-force at work, get ready to interview and assess your candidates beyond the physical aspect, mechanics, and pricing point.

Classifying service robots

Special purpose robots: This set of devices are pre-programmed for specific tasks, usually there are autonomous and don't need to much of interaction with operator of end user. It is the case of sanitizing robots (popular for Covid-19) using UVR disinfection, monitoring and tracking, or basic cleaning services. The popularity of these is getting stronger as they evolve from industrial applications to routine case on facility management and health care business support.

Human-type customer service robots: These models include particularities in their hardware to show physical expression combining software and screen interfaces with movements of arms or extended hardware components making the interaction more friendly for the users and introducing the empathy as part of the purpose. It is the case of robots for care, companion, and basic tasks on roles such waiters, butlers, information agents, receptionist and similar. The character and intelligence of these robots is being empowered by machine learning and AI, that together with latest recognition software either on face, objects, speech, and chat-bots, brings new frontiers on the direction towards smart agents with physical mobility.

Tablet on wheels: There is a third line of robotics in customer service that removes the humanoid shape simplifying the properties of the robotics to be a mobile device with a tablet on top. A walking kiosk offering capabilities for tele-presence, interactive applications, and basic features in matters of delivery of goods, or multi-purpose attachments to the robotic device. The positive side of this model is the price point if the functionality required does not call for that extra empathy, and continuous learning of the hardware mechanics to perform tasks. Considering the simple classification on these lines, the variety of good quality models, developments and operations for the same are not that many. However, it is here where the decision for the acquisition of one or multiple models is critical, counting with the expertise, local support, and ingenious minds making the most of the robots and presenting innovative solutions for new applications.

Practical applications in today's social constraints

Being a novelty in technology and being so cool (our first thought is usually linked to androids, terminators, and Wally's), we should manage clear expectations on functionalities and the mentioned fit for the purpose. Even most of the manufacturers and marketing materials present the units as advanced as your imagination goes, the truth is that so far, the applications for autonomous robots in customer service are certainly limited.

However, we find great examples of use currently on development. From receptionists to infotainment at venues, the robots are evolving to take part on monitoring and checking people when entering offices, remote support for contacting personnel, tele-presence on the move, and even companionship during these times of isolation. A best case is the remote-controlled robots to replace staff, now even better with 5G networks, where the mix of tele-presence and guidance movement control, brings options for remote real-estate viewings (robot is in the house, agent connects on screen and guides the client around), remote-controlled museum tours, and even autonomous data capturing for different purposes usually costly to do in traditional ways.

Spotnik Technologies on robotics

At our offices in Dubai, Spotnik is developing the customisation of robotics use and cases for different industries. Furthermore, our robot management platform presents a differential approach to multi-device, multi-location, operations and management for the control and configuration of robotics as a service.

Marwan robot services

Marwan can talk, listen, see, guide, move and walk with intelligence programmed and powered by Spotnik Technologies in the UAE. The main human-interaction tasks and functionalities are applied to areas such as:

.    Customer Service: Marwan performs customer service tasks for guidance, information, and announcements.

.    Smart Receptionist: Marwan includes touchless reception management for visitor access and security checks.

.    Health Compliance Patrol: Marwan measures people temperature, recognises faces, acts like walking CCTV and connects video conference with human agents.

The units are remote controlled and operated for robot-squad missions and collaborative taskforce. Spotnik's unique Enterprise Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC) provides remote management and control of the mobile assets as part of the Geospatial and Digital Twin enabled operations interface. The IOC is essential for a successful deployment of multiple robots across location, as the efficiency for operating and realising collaborative tasks is managed from a single window. Real-time localisation of robotic assets is facilitated by the robot embedded technology, which is modelled and configured by Spotnik.

Features presented with Marwan for support

.    Precise navigation: Using U-SLAM navigation technology, Marwan can adapt routes to environment changes, map areas up to 10,000 sqft, avoid ledges and edges to arrive at any location with precision.

.    Control robotic fleets: With the Marwan centralised control centre (Spotnik Enterprise IOC), the operations team can observe all the robots in different locations and interact with the information collected and planned for assignment of tasks and routes.

.    Intelligent recognition: Easy to create unique personalised experiences with Marwan facial recognition technology. Marwan can remember users, personalise greetings, and recommend relevant products and services based on past behaviours.

.    Connecting through Marwan: Instantly brings a human in the loop and extends a workforce with a video call system.

The value of using robots as part of the operations in marketing and business support is easily quantifiable for the ROI when looking into typical indicators and innovation factors including:

.    Customer experience and satisfaction

.    Drive sales and marketing promotions

.    Efficiency and cost reduction on automation tasks

.    Security and data acquisition from new channels

.    Mobile CCTV across venue capturing behavioural data

As usual with Spotnik Technologies solutions, in addition to the tangible and measurable results, it is important to remark the modernity of working tools for the times being and the working environment an enterprise offers to its staff members. Working with robotics provides to employees and clients higher levels of satisfaction, user experience, and enjoyable ways of working when performing traditionally dull duties.

Familiarity with robots at work and leisure locations is becoming trendy and popular during these days.

Spotnik is making it possible by presenting Marwan and the next family of human-interaction robots near you. The true value of customer service robots lies not only in their ability to interact with customers more cost-effectively than human staff, but their ability to collect customer data during face-to-face interactions. Customer service robots help in providing interactive marketing and re-branding strategies and for the tracking and analytics of customer behaviour amongst many other uses.

For further information on what Spotnik can do to help your business with latest in customer service robotics, you can find us at hello@spontik.net and look us up on www.spotnik.net

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Ricardo Barcena is the CEO, Spotnik Technologies DMCC


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