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Taiwan Market would see Rollout of SofBank’s Robot Pepper Later This Year


07/25/2016


Taiwan Market would see Rollout of SofBank’s Robot Pepper Later This Year
With about 100 rented units making their appearance in some banks and Carrefour SA shops, SoftBank Corp's human-like robot Pepper will be rolled out in Taiwan later this year.
 
This was announced by executives handling Pepper's sales for SoftBank in the island country of Taiwan.
 
For SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son's vision of future technology centered on 'internet of things', a network of devices, vehicles and building sensors that collect and exchange data, the Pepper is a key plank and Taiwan is set to become one of the first markets outside of Japan to launch Pepper. Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, is the robot's contract maker and has its headquarters in the Island of Taiwan.
 
Adoption of human-like robots as part of a regular lifestyle is yet to made by the people of Taiwan like in many other markets of the world and hence SoftBank says that Pepper won't be available for sale or to consumers yet in the country.
 
Foxconn executive director Lu Fang-ming told reporters at a briefing that the goal of the company is to rent out 60 robots a month by sometime in the first half of 2017.
 
Lu, who is also chairman of Asia Pacific Telecom said it is expected that Pepper would be put into service into their frontline service to support the basic needs of customers at the units of Taiwanese telecommunication carrier Asia Pacific Telecom Co, the banking units of First Financial Holding Co and Taishin Financial Holding Co, the life insurance arm of Cathay Financial Holding Co.
 
Marilyn Su, national marketing director for the French retailer Carrefour said that the company plans to start by putting two Pepper robots into its shops in Taiwan. Before ordering any more of the humanoid robots, the company wants to see how customers interact with Pepper and see ensure that the robot gets to know the customers is the first mission for the company, Su said.
 
Pepper is available for lease in a two-year contract at T$26,888 ($836.67) per month said Foxconn unit Perobot Co, which is in charge of sales and maintenance for Pepper in Taiwan.
 
While the robots can be rented for 55,000 yen a month, users can gain access to cloud-based voice-recognition and the app store for the robots that costs 198,000 yen ($1,670) and comes with an optional 14,800 yen monthly service plan.
 
Pepper is capable of human-like body language and has more than 20 motors and highly articulated arms. When in standby mode Pepper imitates sleep by heaving its shoulders.  However the robots are not designed for menial tasks. Instead the robot’s friendly physical appearance would spur adoption of cloud services and attract app developers is what SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son is betting on.
 
Promoting financial products at Mizuho branches and greeting customers at Nestle shops in Japan is already the work that the robot does.
 
(Sources:www.reuters.com &www.bloomberg.com) 


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