As the world today is mostly centred on digital media and its uses, a robot can still be beneficial. The robot “Pepper”, which is developed by Aldebaran Robotics and SoftBank Mobile, will soon help marketers in the Middle East region assess whether or not robots can be useful.
In the Carrefour stores across France, Pepper the robot that is able to perceive emotions has been set up in order to meet and greet the shoppers. It has successfully been able to grab everyone’s attention to the point where in Japan people can have Pepper in their homes becoming the first humanoid robot to be adopted in homes.
However the main concern with robots is whether or not there are able to do more for consumer experiences than meet-and-greet, and what will happen once the novelty wears off.
According to Alex Brunori, Creative Head at Google MENA, robots can handle the initial level of a specific relationship with consumers and be able to serve more people, within a shorter period of time with the ability to perform the tasks at a better average quality.
This allows humans to concentrate on the more important levels of the relationship that requires specific skills and experiences that only they can contribute, making them irreplaceable.
A robot can possess the ability be useful for many industries in terms of achieving an in-depth focus on specific tasks or even mass marketing. Instead of having solely automated roles, robots can also be extremely useful for consumer-facing roles as well, as they are able to understand emptions and interact with people accordingly. It could also be used on a different and less commercial level to help assist ill or disabled people, or in health care and education facilities. The possibilities that a robot can offer are endless.
Pepper is brought to the regions market by Yas Digital Media where it makes its first public appearance at the Marketing Society’s meeting in Dubai.
Mark Leo, Director of Client Service at Yas Digital Media said that many vertical markets are working with the companies clients in order to develop solutions for these vertical marketplaces. Many local and global brands in the market are closely working with the company to the point where they are booked with several interactions, project scoping and project deliveries till September.
Alex Malouf, marketing communications professional for the FMCG industry says that it might take some time for the consumers in the region to get used to interacting with robots in retail or marketing atmosphere.
However robots can be used for almost any sector that requires interaction between two parties, whether it is government, transportation, retail or service. Another advantage is that robots can be a lot more adaptable than humans as it is a lot more difficult to reprogramme humans.
Robots can be reprogrammed in order to change their language. Their shape and form can also be modified.
Children prefer to interact with robots as they would be interested in asking them questions and playing with them. Despite the fact that robots will take time to become mainstream, in terms of adoption, they are expected to become a commonplace.
The largest impact robots will have is in the marketing function as they are able to all of the interactions they have had and retain data to be later used by the marketers to understand how the interaction went. This retained information can be used f to help re-programme the robot and make other changes to the store or its products in order to better serve consumers.
Not only will it change the way marketers work, but it can also have a positive impact on operations as a robot can immediately inform the team if a product is out of stock making work easier for the back-end of the business.
Another concern people have is whether or not the human element is going to become extinct as technology takes over.
Matthew Horobin, Head of Digital Media of Dubai Airports says that customers still seek out to interact with humans, technology can help augment or even facilitate the interaction through different forms, for example, a Skype-style conversation conducted on-screen or a staff member equipped with an iPad.
At the moment customer still want to have authentic human engagement which is predicted to change over time as people become more fluent and familiar with mass technology.
Currently the humanoid is most useful in supporting or supplementing the human workforce.
They can perform smaller and more simplified tasks for their human counterparts in order create more time for them to offer the best possible front-end experience to consumers without the need to worry about lower-value ‘backstage’ fulfilment activities and actions.