Robot Butler Automates the Hospitality Industry
CUPERTINO, CA - Starwood Hotels’ Aloft brand has a new employee; A.L.O. the Botlr, or robotic butler.
A.L.O., pronounced “el-oh,” will soon be on call all day and night to fulfill requests from guests. CNBC reports that all a guest will have to do is call the front desk and the staff will load up the Botlr with requested items, enter the guest’s room number and send it off to make the deliveries. A.L.O. will navigate hallways and even call the elevator using Wi-Fi.
With Botlrs making the move from science fiction to reality, how long before we see robots picking fruit or washing vegetables? My guess is that it will be quite some time. For now, we will have to watch and see how Botlrs fare.
A.L.O. is being fine-tuned for an August 20 official launch of its pilot program. If this test is successful, Botlrs could appear in nearly 100 properties. Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President for the Aloft brand could see one or two Botlrs in each Aloft hotel. “I think there is a chance that this could go enterprise-wide based on a successful pilot,” he told CNBC.
Sunnyvale, California start-up Savioke designed and built the Botlr with a seed round of funding of $2 million from investors, which included Google Ventures. Company CEO Steve Cousins told CNBC that he sees a huge market for service robots.
Innovations like A.L.O. have the potential to change the way that we work. One day, we may see robots in hospitals carrying medicine and sterile equipment, on the dock moving heavy pallets loaded down with fruits and vegetables or in the aisles at a grocery store restocking a fresh produce display. I for one am excited at the possibilites this new technology could bring.
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