Recently we had the opportunity to experience and try tele presence robots. With a lot of people working from home, these devices make a very appealing use case. In our situation, we were thousands of KMs away from the office on which we were having our interaction, so it was either the robot, videoconference (Skype) or plain old telephone.
As we have previously said, in Mollejuo we are always looking and attracted for cutting edge technologies, so it should be no surprise that we loved these devices. The idea to have something more than a video conference is great. These devices are in operation in one of our partners premises, specifically they are using the Beam Pro platform.
The requirements to use these devices are:
- Good Internet connectivity
- Install the robot’s software on your computer. Your computer of course must have a Webcam of some sort, so people can also see you. Without it, is kind of a moot point to use these devices
- Watch and learn a short video on how to operate the robot
- Naturally, have the permission to use the robots
Once you’re set, then the use is as simple as opening the application on your computer and taking temporary possession of any available robot on the premises. Once you’re engaged, the robot will display your face video on its screen, and you’ll see on your laptop screen whatever the robot is seeing.
Last but not least, obviously, when driving the robot, one has to be aware of the handling of it. It’s possible to bump into someone. Thus, care has to be put in place remotely. While we walk normally, this care sense is always there and that’s why we don’t bump into other human beings. Being remotely takes this sense away from you, therefor extra care needs to be present from the operator of the robot.
Mass adoption of this technology remains to be seen, specially from non technical inclined people. However, is a good way to keep in touch in case of working remotely (a.k.a. Working from home). So, for offices deploying these ways of working, it can be a good compromise between hesitant managers and willing employees.
We have used these robots several times and on different times and locations. In the last opportunity the robots were not available for use. So, we had to default to good old telephone talk. Once you get used to the good stuff, is hard to go back, and in this case, not using the robots to meet was going back to last century technology, literally. The situation proved in itself the value and usefulness of the robots. We -for sure- hope they’re here to stay! 🙂
Image source: suitabletech.com