Coming to a robot near you
“We’re moving more and more towards an interface like the interface we have with each other,” said Paul Saffo, technology forecaster, Stanford University. “Our whole trend is toward ever more intimate interactions with machines […] and with each phase, machines are doing something ever more central to our lives.”
“Futurists and researchers predict such voice-controlled software, like Siri and Google Now, will take us from understanding how to use technology to technology that understands us,” he said.
The vanguard: Make way for the personal robots
Three personal robots are coming out in 2015, either directly available to consumers or directly available to anyone in the development community, the latter being what in reality amounts to “specialist” consumers.
Here’s the webcast from Dec. 2. Get in front of the next wave of personal robotics.
Steve Crowe, managing Eeditor, Robotics Business Review
- Tom Green, editor in chief, Robotics Business Review
- Bruno Maisonnier, CEO & founder, Aldebaran Robotics
- Alison Sander, director of the Center for Sensing & Mining the Future, The Boston Consulting Group
- Meldon Wolfgang, senior partner, The Boston Consulting Group
Actually, there are more than three, but Jimmy, Pepper, and Jibo have the best chance for wide consumer appeal and market penetration. Main reason for such is that Intel (Jimmy) and SoftBank (Pepper) have huge financial resources, mega-marketing clout, retail outlets and a salesforce.
Jibo with none of the might of Intel and SoftBank, may not need it; Jibo, if a superior product, could easily ride the coattails of Intel and SoftBank’s marketing efforts for their own personal robots.
Our 2014 Consumer Robotics Survey clued us in on what consumers are looking for in a personal robot: the top 8 criteria, in order of importance:
- Understands and Reacts to Voice Commands
- Self-Maintenance (charging, software upgrades, etc.)
- Remote Diagnosis and Upgrades (via Internet)
- Provides Monitoring/Alarm Support (smoke, fire, CO2, intruders, etc.)
- Full Autonomy (moves automatically, understands environments, adapts)
- Provides Security Services/Surveillance Camera
- Acts As a Control Center for Home Lights/PC/Electronics/Security/Heat, etc.
- Productivity Functions (e.g., alarm, schedule organizer, etc.)
Basic stuff, right? Whatever on the above list that Jimmy, Pepper and Jibo cannot deliver today can be made to happen quite readily. These needs presage the arrival and eventual success of a personal robot app industry, maybe one with surprisingly robust proportions.
Plus, we know also from the 2014 Consumer Robotics Survey the money consumers are willing to expend on these personal robots:
- Average $ willing to spend: $4,425; median: $2,501 – $5,000;
- Over 19 percent would be willing to pay between $7,000 and $10,000;
- The average spend for a home healthcare robot was $10,677.
Jimmy will retail for $1,600; Pepper for $1,900; and Jibo for $599. Those prices are very workable with what consumers are willing to pay.