AvaⓇ Robotics, a startup with strong technical ties to iRobot, has just announced its telepresence robot. Her name is Ava and she’s likely to win a lot of hearts. For one thing, Ava is quite perceptive, using video technology from Cisco and integrating with Cisco Spark (which provides tools for team messaging, online meetings, and white boarding). Ava is also quite friendly. She allows her users to participate in remote meetings, wander down hallways at other facilities while chatting with colleagues, and enjoy face to face discussions with people who may physically be thousands of miles away.
Telepresence robots provide a lot of benefits to companies that are spread across many locations – especially those spanning continents — or with staff who work from home. They make work relationships considerably more productive — even for individuals who may have never met in person. Carrying on casual conversations and checking remote data centers and manufacturing facilities (sometimes safer than being there in person) can make huge differences in how staffs coordinate and get important work done.