Lebanon Businessnews News

Robots to bag sales
at Virgin Megastore
Store introduces

android sales assistants

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Virgin Megastore Lebanon has introduced a humanoid robot as a member of the company’s sales team. Vee, the robot’s name, will be rolled out across all stores countrywide and is the first Virgin retailer to do so in the region. The company has also launched an entire range of educational robots, tele-presence robots, and social robots Nao and Bobi, including Vee.

Pepper is the brand name of Vee. She is able to guide customers around the store helping them to choose gifts, as well as reading individual star signs, dancing and telling jokes. Pepper is also for sale and retails at $28,000, excluding VAT.

“Vee is part of the team and will even be at our annual dinner. But she will never be a replacement for human staff,” Maya Saab, Marketing Manager of Virgin Megastores of Lebanon, said.

The robotic range being introduced includes a number of educational robots: Hexy, Sparki, and Dobot Magician. Several schools such as ACS and IC are interested in the whole educational range, according to Saab.

“Grand Lycée is actually in talks to test the robots,” Saab said.

Other items in the robotic range include glass cleaners, grass cutters, swimming pool cleaners, smart coffee makers, and 3D printers, among others.

“We are making robotic products affordable to reach all the local market,” Mohamad Ramadan, General Manager of Virgin Megastore, said.

He said Vee is able to communicate with humans through voice, touch and emotions.

“She can be used for the home or office, as a new addition to their families and teams, to talk to, socialize and brainstorm with,” he said.

In September, 2016, Bank Audi was the first bank in the region to introduce a humanoid robot to engage with customers. This is the first move of its kind in the region, the bank said in a statement at the time. The robot, nicknamed ‘Novot’, complements one of the bank’s electronic branches, called ‘Novo'.
Reported by Derek Issacs
Date Posted: Jul 11, 2017
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