Robotic Telepresence Is Becoming More Popular for Home-Based and Office-Based Workers

It is a common query whether we should be apprehensive about the progress of robotics in our modern world. Various individuals have raised their worries that the robots we have created may eventually supersede humanity. Some individuals even believe that Siri is aware of its own superiority and is only pretending to be a useful, yet occasionally irritating, Artificial Intelligence assistant. Recently, my acquaintance fastened a knife to the top of her Roomba and sent it in when she heard noises coming from under her bed.

Have you ever considered the positive impact that the advancement of robotics can have on helping those in need? Companies such as Double are making it increasingly possible for individuals to have a remote presence in places they are not physically present, challenging the traditional perception of robots as ‘rogue cyborgs.’ For those who are able to work remotely, the potential benefits are clear. More and more businesses are beginning to embrace the trend and in our most recent article, we reaffirmed this.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly making use of remote working, with the proportion of a company’s workforce that operate remotely often being higher for SMEs than for larger corporations. This is an interesting trend that is worth further exploration.

The potential implications of automation and robotics on the job market is an interesting discussion. While it is still too early to predict the extent of this impact, it is clear that the rise of remote employment will be a major factor in the future of work. Consequently, the potential for robots to take over the planet is largely irrelevant to this conversation.

Having a Teleworker Is a Reality Thanks to Telepresence.

Consider this: you’re walking down the corridor towards an important meeting, followed quickly by a robot. You can see the face of the Indian developer who created the iPad mount on its screen. Does it seem like something out of a sci-fi movie? It no longer is. Market Watch conducted a study and found that, with the aid of robots, distant employees are increasingly keen to attend board meetings with their colleagues.

The use of robotic platforms to facilitate communication between individuals in different geographical locations has been shown to enhance the quality of long-distance communication. Telepresence robots are more advanced than smartphone technology, as they provide an immersive experience, and are also more portable than large telepresence devices. As such, it is expected that an increasing number of people will wish to utilize telepresence robots for the purpose of remote observation.

A pertinent question to ask is whether video conferencing is a necessity for remote participation in meetings. According to the article, The Keys to a Successful Virtual Boardroom, it can be difficult for remote employees to engage with those physically present. In video calls, only one person can be speaking at any one time, meaning those in the room may feel they are not being included or heard. Whilst face-to-face interactions are preferable, group conversations can prove challenging.

Extending Humanity’s Reach with Robots to the Fringes of the Earth

The phrase “You can’t have it both ways” is often used by those who wish to discourage others. However, the potential of telepresence robots to enable remote working may provide evidence to the contrary. Working from home offers many advantages, such as the convenience of a reliable Wi-Fi connection, however, it is also associated with the issue of not being visible in the workplace. Telepresence robots could provide a unique solution to this problem by allowing employees to ‘track down’ colleagues in the breakroom, even if they are not at their desk or do not respond to messages. According to Market Watch, further research into this topic is ongoing.

It is anticipated that the worldwide market for telepresence robots will experience significant growth in the coming years. People are increasingly drawn to the convenience of mobility and remote interaction, and telepresence robots offer an innovative approach to this.

The Optical Society (OSA) conducted research to assess the efficacy of telepresence robots for remote working, due to the appeal of this concept. The results indicated that working remotely with a telepresence robot can offer many of the benefits of being physically present.

At OSA, there are currently 140 employees, 12 of whom work remotely full-time from various locations such as California, Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. This is made possible through OSA’s telework programme which aims to give remote employees a greater sense of control and freedom over their workday compared to conventional web-based collaboration tools.

Sean Bagshaw, Chief Information Officer and Chief Operating Officer of OSA.

International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems paper highlights:

Robotic telepresence systems should consider the unique requirements of teleworking environments. Solutions in this field must focus on the robot’s portability in an office environment and its capacity for human-robot interaction, as these are both crucial for successful remote collaboration among staff.

To put it another way, you can utilize a robot to find Bill at HR and have a face-to-face chat with him while remaining in your robe at home.

Robotic Telepresence Aids with Telecommuting

Telepresence robots have potential applications beyond just enabling remote working. Recent reports from ZDNet suggest that their use is growing in the healthcare sector, with robots allowing surgeons to consult and receive assistance from specialists located hundreds or thousands of miles away. OhmniLabs understands the challenge of taking part in meetings remotely, and has developed robots to help overcome this obstacle.

Everyone who uses a telepresence robot will benefit greatly from the added functionality of reading handouts and seeing what’s written on the board.

Jared Go, CTO and Co-founder of OhmniLabs

Already, businesses like Cisco Systems and their remote workers are enjoying the benefits of telepresence robots.

A recent article, “Like it Or Not Remote Work is the Future of the Workforce”, revealed that 53% of employees believe that more than half of the workforce will be remote by 2023, with 61% of office workers feeling that video conferencing will facilitate this shift. This process has been further streamlined, and indeed made futuristic, with the introduction of telepresence robots.

If you are interested in employing remote workers, please contact Works so we can assist you in setting up your remote workforce.

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