Sales of telepresence robots are increasing as more businesses recognise the cost benefits and flexibility of the technology, reports economist.com.
Described as a radically different approach to videoconferencing, the technology allows people to move through buildings or offices via a remote controlled wheeled robot equipped with a camera, microphone, loudspeaker and screen displaying live video, cites cloudbulletin.com.
Many workers are using the tech in the workplace, with examples of usage ranging from rolling over to the desk of a colleague or ‘accompanying a busy boss on her way to a meeting’. However, it is not just office-based business utilising telepresence to their advantage. Homebuyers, for instance, can tour distant properties virtually or doctors can perform bedside consultation from afar.
Antonio Marttos, a doctor who uses robots to visit wounded in Brazil, Iraq and Haiti all from his base in Miami, believes the technology is “like being at the bedside”.
In addition, Brazil’s Olympic Organising Committee will be using telepresence robots in operating rooms for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.
The committee’s chief medical officer Joao Grangeiro says this means “doctors unable to accompany their athletes to the games will be able to advise Brazilian surgeons during operations”.
Overall, the robots’ greatest commercial opportunity lies in ‘boosting workplace productivity’, according to The Economist.