Hitiachi's customer service robot may lose its job to new technology


Hitachi's Emiew customer service robot was previewed by the BBC today but the robot may need to take on additional functionality to be useful or worth the cost to businesses. Emiew is intended to take on basic customer service duties in places like museums, malls and airports such as helping lost customers and answering basic questions. The problem is that the robot faces stiff competition from less expensive technology.

A more advanced version of GPS, referred to as IPS (Indoor Positioning System) will soon allow customers to be guided by their smart phones. IPS could, for example, guide a customer into a store. Take them directly too the item they came to the mall for (or compare prices between locations in the mall for the same item) and then guide them back to their car. It could guide them to their seats in a stadium and then to the nearest wash room; it could guide them through a museum, providing information about the items on display and take them through the airport, while monitoring the time until departure and letting airline staff know that they are on their way. 

If Emiew wants to keep its job, it may have to learn some new skills. (Are there any job retraining programs for robots yet?)


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