Robots In Johannesburg Hotel Serve Customers With COVID Symptoms-And Can Take Selfies!
ROBOTS Lexi, Micah and Ariel have been introduced at Hotel Sky in Johannesburg’s wealthy Sandton district. The trio can deliver room service, provide travel information and can drag up to 300kg of luggage from the marble-floored lobby to the rooms and even take selfies for guests!
If the hotel receives a guest with COVID-19 symptoms, the robots could be deployed instead of people as a precautionary measure. Otherwise, “guests can choose whether they want to interact with staff members or make use of the self-service, which is all controlled by their phone,” Herman Brits, the hotel’s general manager, said.
Several robot-staffed Tokyo hotels are now using them to serve guests with mild COVID-19 symptoms. But Hotel Sky is the first in Africa to introduce automated helpers. Steve Pinto, chief executive of CTRL Robotics, which supplies the droids, said they could also scan customers’ facial expressions to determine how happy they were.
“It helps management to understand how customers are experiencing the facilities at the hotel,” he said, after getting an orange and white painted robot to take a selfie.
Unemployment is at 30.8%, according to South African President’s Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address last Thursday. “It’ll never replace people, but it is going to change the space,” Paul Kelley, Hotel Sky Managing Director said.
Robots are taking off big-time in Japan and several companies manufacture them for service. In April the Tokyo branch of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi put a humanoid robot on reception; Nestlé is investing in robots to sell coffee makers in stores across the country, and robots guide visitors around the capital’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.
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