iRobot Ava 500: Enterprise Robotics

By David Nield,

Ava-iRobot

The Ava 500 Video Collaboration Robot, produced by iRobot and Cisco, is set to provide an executive remote meeting experience that’s a significant step up from the standard setup of Skype or Google Hangouts combined with a laptop. The Ava 500 can also be used to tour factories, labs, customer service centres and other locations where it’s not possible to be in the flesh.

Built like an all-in-one PC atop a moving platform, the Ava 500 is just about the next best thing to being there. It can be operated remotely via iPad, so you can move between rooms and meetings from the other side of the world, as well as see anything that’s happening on your travels. The large 21.5″ high-definition display means your colleagues can get a good look at you too, wherever you happen to be.

Aimed squarely at the enterprise market, the robot comes with top-grade security protection and interoperability that keeps unwanted interference out while allowing easy interaction with other video collaboration tools. iRobot suggests its latest model could be used for remote team collaboration, executive off-site management, and tours and inspections. Models should start appearing for sale by the start of 2014, though prices have yet to be confirmed.

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Vice President and General Manager of iRobot’s Remote Presence Business Unit Youssef Saleh had this to say: “iRobot is excited to work with Cisco to bring this next generation of telepresence to businesses worldwide. iRobot has been successful in introducing autonomous remote presence platforms to hospitals. Ava 500 will unlock new markets and applications for telepresence in the workplace.”

“Cisco is committed to improving communications, relationships, and productivity by helping people meet face-to-face over distances,” commented Snorre Kjesbu, Vice President and General Manager of Cisco Collaboration Technology Group. “The iRobot Ava 500 is a perfect example of using Cisco’s portfolio of high-definition video collaboration solutions to innovate and expand the reach of telepresence.”

A working model of the robot was demoed at the recent InfoComm 2013 Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida. Head to www.irobot.com for more details about the company’s product line and further announcements about the Ava 500.