Imagine a robot that could welcome your customers in reception, guide them to your office and even bring them tea and biscuits. Thanks to SoftBank Robotics Corp., it could soon be a reality.

The company produced show-stopping results when they sold 1000 robots in one minute last June. They are now making innovative personal robots available in Japan, which can be pre-ordered for this October, to be tested by Japanese businesses within the next few months.

This new robot has been named ‘Pepper for Biz’, and it’s been created to handle a variety of office administration responsibilities – right down to welcoming customers at the door.

The Pepper for Biz platform will let businesses modify the robots’ applications and will also be able to visualise data. For example, one application is focused on developing a salesperson which will be used in 2016 by electronics retailer, Yamada Denki.

The robot will perform general customer service work and will be available to hire on a monthly basis for £283.65 ($443 U.S dollars). The hiring contract for these robots will be set for three years.

The original ‘Pepper’ personal robot, created by the company, was sold for £1024.80 ($1600). Alongside this, the customers also paid a cloud connection fee and monthly insurance.

It has been said that the robot can interpret facial cues, feel happy when it’s with familiar people and feel frightened when the lights go out. SoftBank even claims that Pepper can read human emotions and, in response, ‘feel’ its own emotions.
An analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, Patrick Moorhead, commented that ‘Pepper for Biz’ is a great jumping-off point for businesses excited about the idea of using robotics.

He commented, “These robots do very simple chores. They do presentations, meet and greet customers and ask and answer questions…I think it’s a good idea. These robots are just the beginning.”

In the future, the robots’ creators imagine them doing complex tasks like cleaning, refilling printer ink and paper, and delivering mail. As for how they will ‘feel’ about their jobs… Well, you’d have to ask them.

Watch this space for more news of SoftBank’s latest developments.