Sprint Wants Sales Robots

Telecom giant Sprint is thinking about trying to improve your customer experience by using robot sales clerks in their stores.


(Sprint sales robot talk TC3 summit Wayne Ward video)

Wayne Ward, Sprint VP of business and product development said during the recent TC3 conference in Mountain View, Calif., that Sprint is considering ways to use parent company SoftBank’s consumer humanoid robot “Pepper,” which the company describes as “able to converse with you, recognize and react to your emotions, move and live autonomously.”

“The concepts that we’re looking at in terms of how [Pepper] would help us would be, No. 1, can we use Pepper in our own retail stores to help with hosting and greeting customers? Can we utilize Pepper as a way to demonstrate products? And also to drive traffic into stores. To some degree, Pepper can emote and has human-like qualities. We feel that’s something people are interested in.”

“Then, more specifically, what we’re looking at is how we can introduce the concept of Pepper to our enterprise customers and help some large enterprise customers in the area of manufacturing and robotics … in the same manner we would be using Pepper as greeter staff, as shopper concierge. Those are two of the general areas we’re looking at.”

Loyal Technovelgy readers have encountered Pepper before; see Pepper, Your Roboti Companion to refresh your memory (or catch up!).

Philip K. Dick was a bit less enthusiastic about sales robots in his possibly prophetic 1954 short story Sales Pitch:

Robot-salesmen were everywhere, gesturing, pleading, shrilling. One started after him and he quickened his pace. It scurried along, chanting its pitch and trying to attract his attention, all the way up the hill to his living-unit. It didn't give up until he stooped over, snatched up a rock, and hurled it futilely.

Via RC Wireless.

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