September 25, 2013

Robot avatars

Posted by: in Things To Watch

Coca-Cola’s recent “Social Robots” initiative allowed some teens who couldn’t attend the brand’s annual Summer Love Festival in Israel to participate via robots (see today’s post on our sister blog, AnxietyIndex). And San Pellegrino recently let people take virtual tours of Taormina in Sicily using five remotely controlled robots, part of its “Three Minutes in Italy” promotion. But beyond novel marketing initiatives, robot avatars have the potential to generate big business in the enterprise market, as CNBC recently reported.

“Telepresence” enables people to be in two places at once via remote-controlled devices that generally feature screens elevated to human height, microphones and webcams. Suitable Technologies’ Beam is one contender in this market; others include VGo; iRobot (the Roomba company), with its Ava concept; and Anybots, which calls its avatars “Virtual Presence Systems.”

Marian Berelowitz

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