- Molly Gardner
Ava Use Case Highlight: Observation
Updated: Aug 26, 2020
By design, Ava Telepresence Robots enable human communication, connection, and collaboration. The difference between Ava robots and video conferencing is its seamless coexistence with people in the workplace. Ava provides a mobile, premium user experience for both remote users and in-office people, on the other side of the screen.
As businesses gain confidence using Ava for collaboration, they typically start adding different types of users, organically discovering new use cases for Ava robots. For example, at long term care facilities, where the initial use case was to enable patient visitation from loved ones, more and more healthcare providers and team members are being added as users, expanding the use cases to therapists, community activity coordinators, and more.
But what about when we need to interact remotely with other things in the workplace that may or may not involve other people? Interestingly, within the past few months, we've been digging a bit deeper into a new, perhaps less obvious Ava use case: Observation.
Tech-to-tech evaluation and monitoring
Robots helping other robots sounds fun, but still seems a bit of a stretch (for now). The bigger-picture view of Ava's observation application is technology (a robot) enabling people to observe other spaces, technologies, and automation (countless other things).
We came across this situation during our collaboration with MIT CSAIL. Per social distancing requirements, the team had to test and monitor the new UVC disinfecting robot in the Greater Boston Food Bank remotely. We discovered that using an Ava Telepresence Robot alongside the UVC robot meant we could have team members present during tests without human exposure. When someone was onsite collecting video, others were connected and observing progress with Ava. The team also used Ava to observe the UVC robot as it disinfected the space--confirming exemplary behavior.
For any new implementation, it makes sense (and we desire) to have constant surveillance and feedback to ensure effectiveness, safety, and productivity. Not everything can be identified by QA and regression testing--ask anyone on a manufacturing floor or in a hospital. With new machines, cameras, or other various pieces of hardware, you often need actual eyes on the prize.
On-call security guard, office manager, or fly on the wall
As businesses continue to restrict the number of employees in the office, or, for some, prohibit employees from coming into the office at all, many spaces aren't being as closely monitored as they used to be. Initially using Ava telepresence robots for collaboration, Sasaki CTO, Holly St. Clair said she would sometimes use the robot to observe day-to-day interactions in the office to help get a better read on the status of her team. But, in addition, she suggested, “While we’re out of the office, if someone wants to check on the space, they can use the robot to walk around.”
If vendors or service providers are in our offices moving things around and making updates to systems, sometimes we want to check their work, or make sure they left the space clean and secure. If something is delivered to the office, it would be nice to make sure it gets to the right place, or to alert the recipient of its arrival.
Sometimes we just need some extra peace-of-mind (or we lose our phones and use Ava to check our desk to make sure it's there). With the ability to teleport in whenever, from wherever, employees can check in on the office any time, making sure doors are shut, equipment is turned off, and all is right with the workspace world.
And you can create your own version of Goodnight Office.
Does Observation make sense as a stand-alone use case?
Short answer: sometimes. For companies actively scaling out their operations and implementing multiple automation initiatives, "keeping an eye on things" has direct and immediate bottom line implications. Investing in technology happens at different rates and frequencies for each business. If there's too much going on for your team to monitor, the consequences can be costly.
In many cases, however, observation can naturally expand your initial Ava telepresence use case for collaboration with remote workers, customers, clients, and consultants. As confidence and users increase, so will the desire to be more aware and more involved with people, places, and things in the workplace.