Robotics

A HSBC branch in New York's Chinatown. / Photo by: Paulo JC Nogueira via Wikimedia Commons

 

Banks can employ robots to improve the flow of processes but in Manhattan, a robot called Pepper does more in the lobby of Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation on Fifth Avenue.

Pepper is a human-shaped robot developed by SoftBank Robotics. It runs a software designed to be a companion for day-to-day activities. Pepper is also capable of recognizing emotions of people so it can deliver the appropriate behavior when interacting.

In Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, an HSBC branch features a unit of Pepper to greet people. As part of its normal task every day, the robot urges customers to select one or more of its six available options, such as tutorials on how to use self-service banking. Moreover, Pepper can pitch about credit card deals, call for a human colleague to help close such deals, and even amuse a customer by dancing to techno music. The robot is also programmed to pose for selfies and tell jokes.

"This is going to drive more people into the door. But once they’re in, it has to go beyond the gimmick. If it’s just people taking selfies, in two weeks that’ll be over. So we wanted to make sure it could do some really valuable things for our customers, educate them on our product set, be able to point them in the right direction,” said Pablo Sanchez, head of retail banking and wealth management for HSBC North America.

Pepper robots are also found in more than 140 stores of SoftBank in Japan to welcome and amuse customers. Some homes in the country adopted Pepper as well. Here are some technical details about the robot:

- Height of about 120 centimeters and weight of 28 kilograms.

- Equipped with face detection technology using its two 5 MP cameras and one 3D camera.

- Powered by Intel ATOM E3845 processor.

- Navigation tools like infrared sensors and sonars to avoid collisions.

- Autonomy duration of 12 hours.