Robot development company, Savioke, based in San Jose, California, produce Relay Robots that are servicing hotels around the world. These little metre tall helpers deliver room service with a difference. Such hospitality robotics is now becoming cost-effective and accepted enough to find a place in hotels serving staff and guests.
Robots that will clean your hotel room, deliver room service, or simply entertain the kids is going to become much more commonplace in the coming years. There have been fears, however, that such robots will be taking away jobs in hotels. But the current evidence has been the opposite. Hotels that have used the Relay robots have seen an increase in occupancy due to the presence of the robots and additional staff have had to be hired to cope with the higher occupancy rates. It also makes sense that as these sorts of service robots become more cost-effective and popular there will need to be more designers, engineers, programmers and businesses to furnish the marketplace with these robots. We are already seeing many universities adding robotics majors in response to a growing need for this multi-disciplinary expertise.
Robots in hotels mark a departure from the robots on the factory floor that have been somewhat isolated from interacting with people. Service robots, by the very nature of the work, have to interact in a safe and intelligent way with different people all the time. The attributes of approachability, safety, and helpfulness are key to the success and acceptance of theses machines. As developers work out what people respond best to in terms of size, shape, communications, and movements, that appeal to most people most of the time, the best robot designs will emerge. The hospitality industry seems to be a good experimental environment for such development.
As people come into contact with robots at restaurants, hotels, stores, and offices, there will be a dissipation of fear about robots. Just as other technology like smart phones have become a normal part of everyday life, so too will service robots, and it seems acceptance of technology is happening faster every passing day.
What are your thoughts about service robots like Savioke’s Dash? We would love to hear what you have to say about your workplace and industry and the impact robotics is, or may, be having.