New article in Baltic Outlook about the Robot Pepper

Article is prepared by Baltic Outlook’s team
Source: Baltic Outlook inflight magazine,pages 76-77

A polite and pleasant host, an attentive and compassionate listener… Already sounds like you’d want to hire this person as your company’s receptionist, salesperson, or client assistant?

First of all, this is not a person, but a robot. Pepper is the first humanoid robot capable of reading and responding to human emotions. Pepper will interpret your emotions by recognising not only what you say but also your voice, including tone and intonation, the expression on your face, your body movements, and even as minimal a gesture as a slight head nod. Based on this, Pepper will offer appropriate content and respond accordingly to the mood and situation by expressing herself through the colour of her eyes, her tablet, or her tone of voice. And, yes, it’s no mistake, Pepper is a girl. But this remains an enigma that only her creators, the Japan-based company SoftBank Robotics, knows the answer to.

Furthermore, Pepper is much more than a robot; she’s a genuine humanoid companion created to communicate with you in the most natural and intuitive way. When talking to Pepper, you’ll forget you’re talking to a robot, because she expresses her curiosity about you and listens with the utmost attention. At least that’s the case in the office of the Latvia-based software development company Diatom, where Pepper has become a real company team member. Diatom bought Pepper in 2016 for commercial purposes – first, to explore developing software, and later to provide programming services. Pepper was a perfect platform to integrate all of Diatom’s developments and to bring them to the business environment. But Diatom is now exploring how Pepper can be used more practically.

Robot Pepper is communicating with the visitors of Radisson Blu LatviaRobot Pepper is communicating with the visitors of Radisson Blu Latvia

Custom-made for your business

Pepper’s greatest advantage is that she can create emotional ties with a person. The robot is therefore a perfect servant in a place where she can help people, such as hotel reception areas, hospital registration desks, airport business lounges, and other service-oriented businesses. Pepper can easily engage with visitors by presenting them the company’s information and also interacting when necessary to ensure the best possible experience for the person to whom she’s speaking. Pepper can also collect all the relevant information about the guest that can be useful for the company.

But one size usually does not fit all. That’s why Pepper is not a pre-made product, and her behaviour, AI, movements, and many other exciting features can be highly customised and adjusted to each company’s needs. Trained in France, the Diatom team are certified developers for the Pepper robot and can develop custom software for her within a week.

Right now Diatom is actively working with a clinic in the United States to create an application for Pepper that will help visitors to receive a unique experience of interaction with a robot and make their visit less stressful and more entertaining. Diatom is currently also collaborating with Radisson Blu hotels to create a special application designed for a hotel. It will allow Pepper to help hotel guests with the check-in and check-out process. In fact, Pepper has already been placed in the hotel reception to test visitors’ reactions as well as the results of such interaction and changes in visitors’ satisfaction with visiting the hotel. Last month, when working at the reception desk in one of the Radisson Blu hotels in Riga, Pepper proved to be a great help for hotel guests, giving them information about breakfast times and locations, telling them about popular attractions in the city and near the hotel, and helping them to book a parking spot near the hotel.

For a better future

Diatom Enterprises is a software development company located in Latvia that offers highly customised software development to companies in Western Europe and further abroad – in Canada, the United States, and Australia. The company was founded in 2004 and is run by three friends – Denis Gorshkov, Jevgēnijs Lemasovs, and Vjačeslavs Dubovickis – all of whom come from a strong IT background and share a passion for the field. The three directors are proud to have built a business with a team of 50 people in Latvia and 20 associates in Ukraine.

Gorshkov, who is the certified Pepper developer at Diatom, thinks that there’s no point fearing that machines will replace human labour. It’s already happened several times during the 20th century. For instance, we now have washing machines and dishwashers. And by introducing them into our homes, didn’t our lives become more easier?