It’s a scene that’s as familiar — and annoying — as it can get. You walk into the reception area of an office for your meeting, notify the receptionist of your appointment, sit through the motions of having to sign in, have the receptionist check the calendar of the person you are scheduled to meet and enter your in and out times, before finally accessing the floor. “By most accounts, that process takes up to 15 minutes,” says Balaji Viswanathan, CEO of Bengaluru-based Invento Robotics.
Balaji and his team hope to change that. On Thursday, they took one step towards the goal as they launched Mitri- Bengaluru’s first robotic receptionist.
The robot that Invento calls a 'Level-2' model, comes with a sensor that picks up visual cues as well as systems that allow it to converse with employees and visitors at an office.
“Our existing model, Mitra, currently operates at Chennai and New Delhi airports on a pilot basis, responding to flyer queries and giving information,” says Balaji.
While Mitra relies only on audio input, Mitri is a step-up considering her ability to pick up visual cues. “This could mean facial recognition when employees or visitors interact with the robot. Additionally, Mitri can also ask you who you’d like to meet, print out a visitor pass and send you along your way,” Balaji added. The robot, as claimed, can also make small talk while you wait for your appointment.
Invento is also working on the function of integrating an employee’s Google calendar with the robot’s AI to ensure that granting appointments based on an employee’s schedule is automated.
Mitri is now the latest employee at Bengaluru-based co-working space aggregator SmartWorks where she began work on Thursday. But the company’s founder Neetish Sarda says her responsibili ties will extend beyond being a receptionist.
“We intend to use Mitri for data collection as well,” said Neetish. “More often than not, emails sent to customers for feedback are ignored after being lost in the clutter. Mitri changes that by way of her interactive feature. So, she’s not just a receptionist but an employee feedback coordinator too.”
That isn’t all. SmartWorks will also use Mitri to show visitors and prospective customers around the co-working space. As far as the reception area goes, the company is tracking the robot’s speed in real-time and benchmarking to the present-day Visitor Management System (VMS). Smartworks has said it isn’t employing Mitri to cut costs involved that come with hiring receptionists.
Meanwhile, if Invento Robotics has its way, you will probably find multiple Mitris at your favourite multiplexes or banks. “We will be launching as many as 60 Mitris and Mitra 2.0 models in the next six months,” said Balaji, adding “We have tied up with PVR and HDFC Bank to deploy these robots at their multiplexes and bank branches, respectively.”
First Published: IST